GPs across the UK are complaining that the lack of coronavirus testing for frontline primary care professionals and support staff means that contact with unconfirmed cases in their own families is preventing them from working - potentially for no reason.
People with mild coronavirus symptoms were told told by the government this week to self-isolate for seven days, with 14-day isolation for households in which someone is ill. But testing for COVID-19 is being focused on patients admitted to hospital.
GPs took to Twitter to vent their frustration at not being able to work, while others complained of huge rises in workload due to colleagues forced into self-isolation:
Our workload has increased 30-40% in last 2 days. We have to send staff home with (unconfirmed) household contacts. I know everyone v busy but @scotgovhealth @CMO_England @CathCalderwood1 a negative test in a symptomatic person would surely allow us to have a hope of functioning?— Margaret McCartney (@mgtmccartney) March 17, 2020
There are two GPs not working here due to unconfirmed Covid. GP workforce doesn’t seem to be a priority.— Sam Finnikin (@sfinnikin) March 17, 2020
Footballers and politicians seem to be able to get tested...
Same situation in my practice too Sam, with conflicting messages about whether or not testing is actually available ??— David Blane (@dnblane) March 17, 2020
About to have two weeks at home because of daughter’s cough. Hospice dr and GP, widow so sole parent. Feel terrible about not going to work. If we all have to do this, who will run the NHS?!— Kate Harding (@KateJH1970) March 17, 2020
Absolutely. Between the partners in my practice we have 11 children aged 18m to 12 years. We also have 3 dual dr households. At present every time any of these children has a cough/ temp we will lose 1 or 2 medics from frontline duties for 14 days- it’s just not feasible.— Linsey Walker (@WalkerLinsey) March 17, 2020
Yes, 2 GPs in my house too, both of us out of action for 2 weeks due to my cough.— Alec Jones ?? (@GPalec) March 17, 2020
Agree. It is the 14 day stay at home for family that will render the NHS unable to cope— Alison Murray (@AlisonM04616800) March 18, 2020