A SPECIALIST ‘Covid centre’ is being set up in Fermanagh to help the health service manage the large numbers of virus patients who expected to need treatment here, the Herald can reveal.
To help our GP surgeries and hospitals cope with the anticipated influx of ill patients, work is underway to rapidly set up the new centres in every Trust area. The Herald has learned that here in the Western Trust region one will be set up in Altnagelvin and the other will be located on the site of the South West Acute Hospital.
The aim of the centres is to ensure people are quickly assessed, and to take the pressure off local health services. Once assessed those who are stable and well will be sent home, while those who are unwell will be transferred directly to hospital.
It is very important to note these centres will not offer a ‘walk in’ service, and will operate on a referral system. Anyone who believes they may have Covid-19 should still stay at home. If concerned about your symptoms you should phone your GP or the Out of Hours service.
In a letter sent to local GPs here in Fermanagh, and across the North, Dr Alan Stout from the NI General Practitioners Committee and Dr Laurence Dorman from the Royal College of General Practitioners said the new centres would make best use of the skills, experience and expertise of local GPs.
“By moving all the face to face assessments for potential coronavirus infections, out of practices to a shared ‘Covid centre’, we not only slow down the spread, but we also keep our practice open for triage and non covid consultations, helping protect ourselves as GPs and our staff,” they said. “We will have GPs and staff becoming infected, most of us will become infected, some symptomatic, some asymptomatic, and a few GPs or their staff, just like the general public, will become seriously ill, but if we can avoid that happening all at the same time, then the outlook for everyone will be greatly improved.”
The doctors stated that operational arrangements may vary from trust area to trust area, however every centre will be lead by local GPs and deliver clinical care, with the trusts providing premises, logistics and administration.
Calling on everyone in the health service to continue to work together, they concluded: “Other generations of doctors have had to face the challenges of war and serious political unrest.
“This one is greater and it falls to us. It is our time.”
Posted: 9:07 am March 25, 2020