The Year of the Pandemic 2020

What a year! We had booked three holidays by February 2020 – all cancelled. I had a short lived remote experience of working with a medical practice that is now in October 2020 – is the thick of it again.

Like all surgeries, there has been a dramatic change in the way patient services are provided. Face to Face Consultations and telephone conversations are down to a minimum. Some Practices claim at 8.00am each morning that there are no face to face appointments are available but it is not quite true. Basically, the doctors will decide. But attend the surgery and you will be faced with a locked door only to be opened by a masked receptionist. The waiting room is sparse. Chairs have been removed. The walls are vacant of posters. There is hand sanitizer on a table. The booking in screen is switched off. There is no one waiting. It’s a new world.

The CQC have started their rounds again. Nowadays, it mostly on the telephone or Zoom. It takes three days not a day and the inquisition is intensive. There are Covid Assurance calls. There are Registered Manager interviews, new partners too! It saddens me that it appears that Practices that do not tick the boxes who are either small Practices or those that have staffing problems. We can’t all be perfect. But the CQC expects!

For me, it’s a case of it being a load of P’s…….. Not what you think! My version is Plans, Policies, Protocols and Procedures. It’s all down on Paper. Each Practice has a Raft of Documents. I reckon well over a hundred and if you think the ones you wrote a few years ago will suffice. Think again. My question is what do they prove. Is it likely that each member of a Practice will know the documents verbatim. What if the Practice employs locums and Temporary staff. They will be word perfect. Not!

Now with the continuing rigours of Covid, there is plenty to read. Standard Operating Procedures to adopt. And again watch out for checks from ‘big brother’………….

Robert Campbell 31/10/2020

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Article written by

Robert Campbell

Started work writing medical cards in 1966 at Staffordshire Executive Council. Have worked at Inner London Executive Council, Hertfordshire Executive Council, Lambeth Southwark and Lewisham FPC, Birmingham FPC, Dudley FPC and Wakefield FPC and Family Health Services Authority. I was seconded to the NHS Appeals Unit and have worked as a full time GP practice manager since 1992 until 2010. I was also an AMSPAR trainer at Park Lane College, Leeds. Now I work as a freelance author.


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