Health May 18, 2020
Birmingham-based GP introduce virtual support service in care homes

By News - Primary Care Journal

As the coronavirus emergency continues to impact care homes across the country, a Birmingham-based GP organisation has enhanced its ability to deliver care with the use of a new virtual support service.

South Doc Services (SDS), a non-profit GP co-operative based in South Birmingham, has pioneered a free-to-use virtual care home service for every care home in the city. Over 200 Birmingham care facilities are already on-board, using the latest telephone and video technology to deliver care. The seven-day-a-week Virtual Support Service for Care Homes enables every care service to safely access a team of specialist GPs, advanced nurse practitioners and clinical pharmacists, giving those who are most at risk the experience of face-to-face time with experts.

Along with providing residents with skilled primary care support and advice they need, this virtual approach helps reduce the risks of coronavirus infection for NHS key workers delivering the service. If necessary, however, patients can still receive a visit from primary care professionals.

SDS’s Virtual Support Service for Care Homes was commissioned by Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, in response to the rapid surge of coronavirus cases in Birmingham care homes. SDS is also working with its partners at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust to enhance their integrated care offering.

This approach protects practice staff so they can safely continue to provide care to patients, who can be dealt with over the phone or video consultation or safely attend the practice.

Nirmal Vora, CEO at SDSmyhealthcare, said: “We understand this is a very difficult time for care homes up and down the country. Due to the coronavirus emergency, many local GPs have been unable to provide their usual support to care home residents, such as ward rounds.

“We have been very happy to work with our partners to quickly find effective virtual solutions, by embracing new technology. ”

Judy Williams, Care Home Manager at Bromford Lane Care Centre, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to use the new Virtual Support Service for Care Homes. The service is fast and responsive – it is a huge relief to be able to access specialist advice from doctors. ”

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