Hart Surgery, Henley
Phillip Unwin is a Senior Partner at Hart Surgery, a hard-working frontline doctor who has been at Henley practice for 32 years. He was due to retire this month and is staying on to help the surgery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hart Surgery, in Henley, is a practice with 10,500 patients and is one of the first GPs to get help from SBL lab for their GPs & front-line staff with testing for COVID-19.
What were the concerns and problems?
The main concerns for the firm were that local staff and nurses were having to self-isolate because they had encountered someone who may have had COVID-19 - the main problem being that they couldn't be sure, whether they have it or not. The surgery couldn't also be sure that the GPs still at the practice were not infecting their patients and spreading the disease further. The lack of testing was causing some staff with high-risk relatives to stay home, and highly skilled and motivated people were wanting to come back to work but could not due to the lack of confirmation on whether they have the disease.
Phillip voiced that his main concern and number one issue is that testing is required imminently for the practice to be able to deal with the crisis.
How is the testing process being run and how is it organised?
Phillip described the testing process as "Fantastic; testing is very useful. It's crucial for the practice." He mentioned that swabbing is easy, pain-free and takes no time at all so that both staff in the GP practice and those self-isolating can conduct the swabs themselves. The swabs are then sent back to the lab for testing, and they get results back very quickly, which is critical for stopping the virus.
The volunteer testing network has allowed this process to happen and has worked with both the lab and the GP surgery to get everything running.
What difference has the COVID-19 Volunteer Testing Network had on the practice?
It has already made a massive difference to the practice, and Phillip emphasised that all GP surgeries need these facilities urgently. It gives the practice confidence that their staff can come back to work if they are not positive or other front-life staff can self-isolate to not spread the virus. Phillip believes that all practices are going to start getting even busier in the lead up to the peak of the disease, so testing will need to ramp up as we attempt to fight during the peak.
The C19 Volunteer Testing Network runs the process this includes onboarding the labs and providing consumables. We then help them onboard GP surgeries in order to achieve the above results. If you have the facilities that can run the testing or are GP surgery like Hart surgery that needs help, please reach out to the COVID-19 Volunteer Testing Network.
Carole Burton Wright, Pangbourne Surgery
"The testing helps you manage your staff effectively when staff are going down with COVID like symptoms. Everyone at the practice is so grateful for the swabs, and it is massively beneficial in a clinical sense."