Given the ever-changing public health issue, we are advising members to follow the updated advice of the HSE/HPSC/ICGP/IMO or contact them with specific queries regarding Coronavirus / Covid 19 threats and the changes to GP practices. Their advice is updated regularly and they are in the best position to advise GPs and practice staff, including providing clinical advice which we are unfortunately not in a position to do.
GPs are likely to be carrying out consultations by telephone / video link with patients on a more frequent basis as matters stand. While it is obviously preferable to consult with patients in person, Medisec advise that the up-to-date guidance from the above bodies is followed and as good practice, you should ensure the following:
- the patient is informed why a remote consultation is required and they consent to carrying out the consultation in this manner (verbally and noted in the records) and;
- that it is noted in the records where a consultation is carried out by phone / video link and why it was decided to do so.
Members have asked us to confirm that cover is in place for such remote consultations and Allianz plc, your underwriter has confirmed that you are indemnified in these circumstances once guidance from the HSE is followed.
GPs obviously have an ethical duty to ensure patient safety and those who are employers have a duty of care to their employees to ensure they have a safe place to work. You should also take steps to protect your own health and be very careful to take immediate public health advice if you develop any potential symptoms of Covid 19. Given the considerable pressure GPs will face in the evolving public health situation, you should be mindful of your own emotional wellbeing and any potential patient safety concerns as a result.
If steps to restrict or close GP practices is necessary and recommended by the relevant authorities, communication will be key to informing patients about where they should attend (including signs at GP practices, voicemails etc). It is also very important that GP practices ensure correspondence and test results received continue to be monitored.
We will keep you updated as matters progress and please do not hesitate to contact us on the numbers listed on the homepage of our website if you have any queries
12 March 2019