COVID-19 has placed huge demands on general practices, who have had to quickly innovate and adapt to the ever-changing scenario presented by the pandemic. We spoke with Karlene Jeffery, the practice manager at Melville Medical Group about the changes made within their practice to support flu vaccination, patients with respiratory symptoms and social distancing.
Karlene and her team swung into action and used a two-sided gazebo outside for flu vaccines. This was “great for air flow and privacy [and an] easy way to safely deliver flu vaccines this year”.
“Thinking ahead and with the weather getting cooler, we have now hired a portable ‘first aid room/classroom’ for management of COVID-negative patients with ongoing respiratory symptoms needing to be seen face-to-face. We choose a larger option (4mx3m) to ensure we can easily physically distance,” said Karlene.
Karlene suggested that investing some more time into researching costs would have been beneficial for the practice: “In terms of hiring the portable and connecting the power and water, the cost was more than expected because of the difficulties on our site. Perhaps a bit more time for research would have helped prepare.”
Karlene noted that feedback from patients and staff has been very positive as they “like the idea that we are protecting everyone by isolating anyone with respiratory symptoms and keeping everyone safe, whilst knowing that we can continue to provide great medical care safely face-to-face as required”.
Some patients even suggested the practice team host a free BBQ along with their flu vaccines next year. We’ll have to wait and see on that one!
Karlene’s top tip for other practice’s wishing to expand their clinic is “if you have capacity it is a great idea to hire a portable for management of your patients with ongoing respiratory symptoms – just check the connection costs first”.
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