‘Steady stream’ of Covid-19 patients pour into Exmouth assessment centre, but most reassured and sent home

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 April 2020

Dr Barry Coakley, clinical director for the Woodbury, Exmouth and Budleigh Primary Care Network outside the new Covid-19 assessment centre. Picture: Barry Coakley

Dr Barry Coakley, clinical director for the Woodbury, Exmouth and Budleigh Primary Care Network outside the new Covid-19 assessment centre. Picture: Barry Coakley

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A ‘steady stream’ of Covid-19 cases has poured into Exmouth’s new assessment centre, with a ‘small number’ needing hospital admission.

Earlier this month, Exmouth’s GPs came together to create the clinic at the hospital to assess patients who were presenting coronavirus symptoms.

The facility, which is not a testing centre, is being coordinated by the Woodbury, Exmouth and Budleigh (WEB) Primary Care Network.

Dr Barry Coakley, clinical director of the WEB primary care network, said most patients had been assessed, reassured and were able to return home.

He added: “As many people will be aware, our region has, up to now, been less affected by Covid-19 than others around the country.

“Although it is not clear exactly why this is, it is certain that the excellent social distancing efforts of the community has been a huge contributing factor.

“Thank you all and please keep it up.

“The continued support and consideration local people are showing to one another, both online and through volunteering, is a testament to the amazing community spirit present across our area.”

In addition to setting up the assessment clinic, GP practice teams have been working with NHS England to identify all people who, due to existing medical conditions, are more vulnerable to coronavirus.

Dr Coakley said: “These people will be contacted and asked to ‘shield’ themselves for a minimum of 12 weeks.

“‘Shielding’ means not leaving your home and minimising contact with other members of your household.

“There are a number of conditions that have been identified as putting people in this high-risk group.

“All of the local volunteer groups will provide vital support for these individuals in the months to come.”

Visit the NHS website for more information about shielding.

Practices are also working with nursing and care homes to ensure residents can continue to get the healthcare they need while avoiding coronavirus infection.

Dr Coakley added: “We recognise that we have a key role in ensuring that everyone can continue to get the medical care that they need.

“We want to reassure our patients that they can and should still contact us if they are feeling unwell, whether related to Covid-19 or any other medical problem.”


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