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GP Weekly Update (Last update: 25.09.20)
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CQC COVID-19 Insight report: Issue 4
The CQC has published its latest COVID-19 Insight report which focuses on infection prevention and control (IPC), provider collaboration reviews and COVID-19 data updates.
Infection Prevention and Control (IPC)
The CQC has been undertaking its own findings on IPC measures during the pandemic, from conversations with GP surgeries to understand what they have done, as well as finding out about good practice and the challenges they have faced.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Although the supply and quality of personal protective equipment (PPE) was a significant issue at the beginning of the pandemic, PPE supplies are now sufficient and of a safe standard
- Hygiene and Cleanliness
- The standard of cleaning processes was always high, but general hygiene procedures and cleanliness have improved because of the pandemic, with enhanced cleaning schedules and a proactive approach to maintaining infection control
- Minimising Direct Patient Contact
- Despite recent criticism from Patients and the media, the CQC reported it was aware that “GP practices were able to reduce the number of face-to-face consultations, including home-visits, through the use of remote triaging”, and found that “video and phone consultations, and ordering prescriptions direct to pharmacies, played an important role in reducing footfall in services, meaning that only Patients with the greatest need were attending appointments in person.”
- The CQC also reported that “services commonly adopted a ‘locked door policy’ to minimise the number of people in a service at any one time. The use of intercom, chaperoning and one-way systems further facilitated social distancing and limited the time spent in the building.”
The CQC also highlighted areas which Practices could use innovative ways to reduce the risk of infection and support people, such as:
- Having staggered clinic times
- Seeing extremely vulnerable Patients at certain times
- Having ‘one-stop’ clinics for people with more complex/comorbid conditions
- Conducting welfare calls with certain Patients to offer ongoing remote support
- Working with other GP Practices and agencies to best respond to local needs
The CQC is aware there have been some concerns about the mixed messages around the clarity and effectiveness of communication about national IPC guidance and that messages have been inconsistent and confusing.
The CQC will be continuing to carry out IPC inspections over the coming months, both to highlight good practice and to take action where improvements are needed, so it is important that Practices carry out regular IPC audits to monitor and identify issues to maintain as safe an environment as possible.
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