Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Coronavirus Kent: GPs plan to scrap routine appointments and check-ups if outbreak escalates

Doctors’ surgeries are planning to scrap routine appointments and check-ups should the coronavirus outbreak escalate as predicted.

Each practice in the Canterbury district has been sent protective equipment to keep staff who come into contact with suspected Covid-19 cases safe and help to minimise the spread of the disease.

Dr John Ribchester
Dr John Ribchester

Plans are in motion to speak with patients via videolink as the likelihood of immense strain on healthcare provision increases by the day.

Dr John Ribchester, senior and executive partner at Whitstable Medical Practice, says surgeries are planning for the worst-case scenario.

“Contingency plans are being put in place and we’ve been keeping in constant touch with other practices and health bodies - it’s certainly being taken seriously,” he said.

“With the rate it’s expected to escalate, we could start losing staff as they would need to self-isolate. If so, we’ve been considering a much greater use of consultations over phone and via videolink.

“We definitely could stop booking routine appointments in order to cater for what’s to come.

Assessment pods have been set up at Kent hospitals
Assessment pods have been set up at Kent hospitals

“Like every GP practice, we’re being sent protective equipment including welder-like masks. You have to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

Calls for a nationwide lockdown - as seen in Italy - have so far been rejected by the government.

However, England’s deputy chief medical officer has warned the epidemic is likely to infect “many thousands of people” within the next fortnight.

Dr Ribchester added: “There’s a distinct possibility that surgery at hospitals and other routine procedures will soon be cancelled.

“We simply don’t know how serious it will get. There are numerous predictions out there such as half of England’s population getting infected, or the virus peaking here in two weeks’ time.

“What we definitely know is that it’s crucial you do not go to your local GP if you have symptoms.

“If you come to the surgery showing with symptoms such as a cough or fever, please get back into your car and call 111.”

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More