“We live in strange times. We also live in strange places.” Those words of Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, seem more profound than ever before in these days of the coronavirus pandemic. The world as we know it has been turned upside down incredibly quickly – especially for healthcare professionals – with it being hard to predict what will happen from one day to the next.
That means now, more than ever before, we need each other. Whether it’s sharing information, asking for help from your fellow practice managers, seeking advice on the latest policies, shedding light on the latest goings on, or simply keeping spirits up with those lighter moments only PMs will appreciate, our community can benefit from us all pulling together.
The good news is that the Practice Index Forum is very much open, here to help, and buzzing with activity. Conversations around coronavirus and COVID-19 are growing daily as practice managers turn to the forum for information, advice and to participate in informed discussions. Indeed, many PMs have told us the Forum is the epicentre for debates and questions concerning the pandemic.
With that in mind, for this latest blog we’ve pulled together a list of the trending discussions on the forum and some of the resources available to our community of practice managers (If you haven’t joined the conversation, the Practice Index Forum is free to join).
Our top trending thread on the Practice Index Forum is this one discussing the numbers of high-risk patients you have in your practice and crucially, what the numbers mean for you.
Plenty of discussion revolves around the definitions of high risk – and when practices need to contact patients. Interestingly, at the time of writing, it seems that PMs are being advised to hold fire on drawing up the latest group of patients. Like so much with the coronavirus outbreak, it seems that it’s an evolving situation.
This thread raises some very interesting thoughts regarding a network response to coronavirus where staff from practice A may be needed to work at practice B to cover staff shortages. This conversation covers plenty of ground including suggestions around:
- Drawing on contingency planning initially created to deal with the Beast from the East (remember those days!?)
- Contract considerations
- Resources available to download for free
Another popular, support-related thread is this one focusing on your local areas. While sharing the advice from local CCGs (where any is forthcoming), there are also plenty of suggestions from PMs.
One interesting idea for those with multi-site practices is setting up ‘hot and cold’ bases. Another network has set up a central hub where patients can be seen, therefore keeping them away from the practices. Other discussions revolve around telephone triage (will the pandemic see greater adoption of technology in general practice?) and remote working hints and tips.
This interesting conversation around fit notes and coronavirus is well worth a read, not least because it appears to be a big talking point. Conversation so far has covered:
- When a fit note is required
- The potential for flexibility given the circumstances
- Sick pay – most notably for practice staff
- Self-isolation and the rules around sick notes and pay
This one is an understandably popular thread given the worry surrounding the continuing spread of COVID-19.
The thread shares plenty of advice, as well as handy links to various resources, including the new Pandemic Staffing Policy[PLUS] on Practice Index PLUS. Areas these policies cover include:
- Flexible working
- Working from home
- Re-deployment of staff
- Overtime and working time regulations
- Staff sickness
These resources – available to Practice Index PLUS members – are proving immensely helpful, if the number of views are anything to go by! The toolkits include all the information you need to prepare for and respond to any suspected cases, as well as helping to assess and mitigate risks for your practice staff during the pandemic.
This hot topic discusses the challenges practices are struggling with during the coronavirus outbreak. Do check it out – you’ll quickly realise you’re not alone in dealing with everyday problems!
Some problems are more serious, others are tongue in cheek (we think), with comments such as “I’m getting sick of 20 million emails giving the same advice daily, but of course we have to read through it JUST IN CASE THEY CHANGED ONE WORD in the whole thing,” and “Why can’t we have a bullet point email ONCE daily if anything changes?”
Another PM commented: “If only Coronavirus would take out the most abusive and damn right idiotic, the world would be a better place…”
And finally, some much needed light-hearted relief from the stresses and strains of a global pandemic!
With words of wisdom, some humorous notes and some great funny photos this thread is brilliant. Please join the fun – we could all do with some lighter moments amongst the seriousness.
This is just a snapshot of the many discussions, resources, downloads and polls available – if you’ve got a question or want to share an opinion simply head on over to the forum, and join the conversation.