Highest Clinical Risk Patients
NHS England Update on guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals and actions for GPs
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds
Emerging data indicates that people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are being disproportionally affected by Covid19. This useful YouTube video promotes the Covid-19 vaccine to the BAME community.
Translated COVID-19 Patient Information Materials: Covid-10 Infographics
COVID-19 Infographics are a UK-based team of doctors, medical students and volunteers who are aiming to translate evidence-based and easily accessible COVID-19 information into as many languages as possible.
BAME communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and Covid-19 Infographics want to help provide people with access to the information they need to protect their health. The graphics are translated by a team of reliable translators through volunteers and services such as Translators Without Borders and the information included in them are checked over by doctors and is sourced entirely from sources such as NHS England, the WHO and NICE.
As Kent & Medway covers an area with a number of people who speak languages other than English, you may find these materials useful to distribute within the communities your practices are based in. There are translations of infographics into over 20 languages, including Urdu, Polish, Hindi, Lithuanian, Arabic and a number of South Asian and Eastern European languages.
Covid-19 Infographics would also value your input and insights into their work as well as if there are any topics or languages you would like them to cover.
Requests for certification of absence from the workplace relating to covid-19 may fall into five categories - please read the LMC guidance (which contains links to the relevant isolation notes) and the current Government Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19).
GPs are reminded that they are still required to issue fit notes (med 3) as normal. There are specific scenarios relating to COVID-19 where patients can use the isolation note service, instead of seeing a GP, as outlined above. Please do not signpost patients to NHS 111 in order to get a fit note as they are not provided by the service. During the pandemic DWP is encouraging employers to use their discretion as to what medical evidence is required to support periods of sickness absence.
Previously advice was issued on issuing fit notes (med 3s) remotely during the pandemic, which remains in place until further notice. A properly signed and scanned fit note sent via email to the patient will be regarded as 'other evidence' and will be accepted by DWP for benefit purposes. Not signing fit notes can mean that they are rejected by employers and DWP, so we have been asked to remind GPs that fit notes must be signed. The original hard copy does not need to be retained if there is an electronic copy of the fit note in the medical record.
If the patient is unable to receive their fit note electronically, they will be required to collect a hard copy from the practice or it will posted to them, at the practice’s discretion.
Patients with long term conditions
The majority of these patients are not 'unfit to work', and in the current crisis their issues are occupational health issues. If they work for an employer with an occupational health department they should be signposted in that direction. This is especially true for colleagues working in NHS Acute Trusts. Failing that a Med 3 stating fit to work with the following adjustments that simply states the diagnosis, should be employed in accordance with current emergency guidelines, and will put the ball firmly back in the employer's court. Alternatively you can download this letter template
Guidance from Rezina Sakel, GP Clinical Lead for Learning Disability and Autism, regarding COVID management for patients with learning disabilities and/or autism.