Derbyshire seeing three or four Covid outbreaks a week among GP practices

There are three or four Covid-19 outbreaks at Derbyshire GP practices every week, a local health chief has revealed.

By Eddie Bisknell
Monday, 18th January 2021, 10:57 am

Clive Newman, director of GP development at the Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group – which oversees health services in the county and city – said that this had not resulted in any practices having to temporarily close.

He continued that that the outbreaks were often not among GPs but other patient-facing staff, such as receptionists.

He called this ‘very disruptive’ but that GP practices had done ‘pretty well’ in comparison with hospital and ambulance services.

Derbyshire is seeing three or four Covid outbreaks among GP practices each week

The staff working in reception, for example, would then be sent home to self-isolate for two weeks and the phones at the practice would be redirected, he said.

Mr Newman said: “We are getting three or four every week, where the staff get an outbreak and the practice has to reduce its service.”

He confirmed that some practices had closed, but not due to outbreaks, but because they were not Covid secure in that they were too tight for social distancing to function.

These practices continued work but were not open to the public.

Mr Newman said GP activity in December was 10 per cent higher than in the same month in the previous year and that GPs are heavily constricted by personal protective equipment (PPE) which has reduced capacity by a quarter.

He said that sickness absence among GPs was currently at 6.5 per cent across Derbyshire, above an average of four per cent, but had been much higher – at 16 per cent – during the first wave of the pandemic.

The top four priority groups for vaccinations, currently receiving the jab are: Residents in care homes and their carers; patients ages 80 or over and frontline health and social care workers; patients aged 75 and over; and patients aged 70 and over alongside any residents aged 16-69 who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

There are 240,829 people in Derbyshire which fall into these four categories.

Local vaccination figures are not being made available, by either local leaders of the central NHS, just at a regional level.