CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE MAY 2020 – FOR INFORMATION REGARDING THE DIFFERENT TESTING OPTIONS AND CORPORATE TESTING PACKAGES AVAILABLE AT THE SURGERY , PLEASE GO TO THE SERVICES PAGE WHERE THERE IS A COVID-19 SECTION AND A CORPORATE TESTING SECTION.
We hope that you and your families remain well in these challenging times. We are getting in touch again to inform you of some important updates in the increased provision of care at the Brook Surgery as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. We have not repeated the information in our previous communications, but reiterate that if you are seriously unwell at any hour of the day or night, then accessing the NHS by dialling 999 or attending an A&E urgently is the safest option.
We have been busy in recent weeks adjusting to the enforced and necessary changes in General Practice, while trying hard to maintain our high standards of medicine and care. We have smoothly transitioned to the use of telephone and video consulting in most patient encounters, but are still seeing some patients requiring examination, essential vaccination or investigation. The dispensary remains open and well stocked with most medications, which can now be delivered if requested.
We have managed a significant number of patients and households through Coronavirus. We remain able to arrange home swab testing, which has been helpful in many cases. However, it has been challenging for both the doctors and ill patients not to be able to use examination, check oxygen saturations and arrange investigations such as blood tests and microbiology.
At the same time, like many other Primary Care providers in the UK, we have noticed a fall in the number of presentations for other medical issues including paediatric infections, other heart and lung problems that might cause breathlessness, coughs and chest pain. It is well documented in the news that there has been an increase in delayed presentations of serious conditions, sometimes with severe consequences, as patients stay at home either scared to contact the “overwhelmed” doctors, or leave the safety of self-isolation.
On this basis, we have decided to open what we believe is the first private unit seeing patients with symptoms consistent with Coronavirus for assessment and treatment. This “Hot Hub” will be totally separated from the main surgery and housed in the premises of Six Physio, next to the Brook Surgery on Finchley Road, and accessed from the street via a separate entrance. It will be staffed by Dr Delphine Sekri and Dr Emily Simon, who will no longer be entering the main Brook Surgery premises and will solely be managing patients with suspected Covid symptoms and not doing routine work. The space will be deep cleaned between each patient and the doctors will be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. Patient safety is absolutely our primary concern.
All the other doctors, including Dr Dan Brook, will continue to consult on telephone/video, and will be able to arrange face-to-face consultations/visits for all the other patients requiring assessment for non-Coronavirus related issues. Dr John Brook will continue to consult remotely from home only.
As well as the PCR swabs for unwell patients, we have now received a supply of Covid-19 antibody (immunity) tests for the benefit of our registered patients. These can only be done by trained members of staff on our premises or on a home visit, rather than being sent to patients’ homes for personal use. They are CE marked and have been rigorously tested with reliability at around 88-90% for both positive and negative results. These are similar to other immunity tests advertised by other providers, although we are being more honest than many in their use given the reliability data. It is important to stress that at this stage, while a positive result can be reassuring to strengthen a suspicion that certain symptoms were consistent with Covid-19, a positive or negative result will not change your need to fully comply with the Government’s guidance on individual and household behaviour during the pandemic. We remain hopeful that in time more reliable tests will be developed, but at present these are the only ones available.
As most of you will be aware, the Government has contracted all the private hospitals in the country to support the NHS, adding significant capacity. All of the outpatient departments have closed, although several consultant colleagues continue to offer video or telephone consultations, and all the major private insurance companies are covering the cost of this as before with appropriate referrals. All of the private hospital walk-in clinics are currently closed. We have been able to access limited radiology (MRI/CT/ultrasound) for clinically urgent problems. Admission to private hospitals is very limited at present and considered on a case-by-case basis.
When we last wrote, we had hoped that by now we would be reaching the beginning of the end of this disruption; unfortunately, this is sadly not yet the case. As time passes, the amount of circulating Coronavirus is falling and the health needs of the public for non-Covid problems will surely come back to the fore. Please be reassured that we continue to strive for clinical excellence while adapting our practices to maintain the safety of all our patients and staff.
Opening hours remain the same:
– 8am-7pm Monday to Thursday
– 8am-6.30pm Friday
– 9.30am-12.30pm Saturday
A Brook Surgery GP is on call 7pm-10.30pm during the week and over the weekend 8.30am-6.30pm. Outside these hours the surgery is covered by Doctorcall. All on-call options can be reached via the main surgery number 020 7435 0211.
The Brook Surgery team