COVID-19 current figures
Today's COVID-19 headlines
RCGP calls for a remote care plan for Covid-19
Access to basic IT hardware and software is preventing some GPs from carrying out remote consultations with their patients during the Covid-19 outbreak, according to the results of a survey by the Royal College of GPs.
The survey of more than 1,000 GPs across the UK found that around 50% of GPs have not been able to practice remotely from home during the pandemic, with the vast majority (63%) stating to access to technology as a reason. Of those GPs who have been managing to work remotely from home, 55% reported difficulties with VPN connectivity as a key barrier. VPN software allows GPs to access their practice's computer systems, including patients records.
The RCGP is now calling on the Government to ensure every GP practice has the necessary technology to allow GPs and their teams to work remotely from home, where necessary. This should include access to laptops, appropriate VPN connectivity and software to allow effective video consultations.
Doctors need to be protected from clinical negligence claims
The Medical Defence Union (MDU) says doctors should be spared from the stress and anxiety of medical negligence claims following the pandemic.
It said that several US states including New York, New Jersey and Michigan have already adopted laws that provide healthcare professionals and hospitals with “immunity from civil liability for any injury or death alleged to have been sustained because of any acts or omissions undertaken in good faith” during the crisis.
It says that in the US and UK, in primary and secondary care, doctors are being asked to work outside their expertise in areas where they may not have the most up-to-date knowledge. Retired doctors have been called back to work and final year medical students are starting work early. Other treatments and surgeries are being delayed to cope with the influx of coronavirus patients.
The cost of medical negligence in the NHS has climbed steeply in recent years. In 2018, NHS Resolution estimated the accumulated claims it was facing amounted to £83.4bn.
RCP calls new PPE guidance a 'sticking plaster'
Doctors should not begin CPR on a patient with suspected or known Covid-19 until the are wearing the minimum PPE recommended by the Resuscitation Council UK for aerosol generating procedures, according to a statement by the Royal College of Physicians.
This includes disposable gloves, disposable gown, FFP3 respirator and disposable eye protection.
Public Health England provided updated guidance on managing shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) on Friday and the RCP says that doctors must follow the PHE guidance for infection prevention and control, but they should follow RSUK guidance in relation to CPR and resuscitation.
BMA survey highlights the mental health toll on medics due to lack of PPE
A snapshot survey of more than 6,000 doctors by the British Medical Association (BMA) shows the disturbing toll the Covid-19 pandemic and the lack of PPE are having on the sector.
More than 4,500 doctors responded to the questions around mental health that found almost a half of UK doctors (44%) are suffering from burnout, depression or anxiety amidst continuing shortage of protective supplies.
The survey also showed that more than half of doctors (51%) did not feel personally supported by the Government and confident that everything possible was being done to help them to keep patients safe, despite pledges that more PPE was being delivered to the front line.
How Hong Kong managed first wave of COVID-19 without resorting to complete lockdown
A study from the Lancet suggests testing and contact tracing and population behavioural changes—measures which have far less disruptive social and economic impact than total lockdown—can meaningfully control Covid-19
Hong Kong appears to have averted a major Covid-19 outbreak up to March 31, 2020, by adopting far less drastic control measures than most other countries, with a combination of border entry restrictions, quarantine and isolation of cases and contacts, together with some degree of social distancing, according to a new observational study.
The study estimates that the rate at which the virus is transmitted—known as the effective reproductive number, or the average number of people each individual with the virus is likely to infect at a given moment—has remained at approximately 1 in the 8 weeks since early February, after public health measures were implemented from late January onwards, indicating that the epidemic in Hong Kong is holding steady.
As of March 31, 2020, Hong Kong had 715 confirmed Covid-19 cases including 94 asymptomatic infections, and 4 deaths in a population of about 7.5 million.
WHO: maintaining routine immunisation services vital during the Covid-19 pandemic
The urgent need for a Covid-19 vaccine underscores the pivotal role immunisations play in protecting lives and economies, said WHO Europe.
As scientists around the world work to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus and health care capacities are stretched in responding to Covid-19, national routine immunisation programmes are more critical than ever before. Governments across the region must use every opportunity possible to protect people from the many diseases for which vaccines are already available.
“We know that vulnerability to infectious diseases anywhere is a threat to public health everywhere,” said Ms Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “It is critical that routine immunisation programmes continue during this crisis, while adequately protecting health workers and individuals receiving vaccinations. Reaching the most vulnerable children who have missed routine immunisations in the past should be prioritised.”
Other news roundup
- Lockdown restrictions are beginning to be lifted in some parts of Europe
- Oil prices in US drop to lowest price in 21 years
- New York Governor says cases are slowing down
- NHS Blood and Transplant is asking some people who recovered from Covid-19 to donate blood so they can potentially assess the therapy in trials
- New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces lockdown measures would be eased from next week