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Covid-19 ‘certainly won’t go away’ warns Gateshead GP – and it’s ‘always vital’ to wear masks at doctors’ UK News

A top GP in Gateshead has warned ‘Covid is definitely not going away’ and explained how vital it remains for patients to wear face masks as pressured primary care services battle to cope with extreme demand and staff illness due to coronavirus.

Dr Paul Evans – chairman of the Local Medical Committee (LMC) for Gateshead and South Tyneside and GP at Bridges Medical Practice in Gateshead – told ChronicleLive that despite the government’s Living With Covid strategy, Covid was clearly still widespread in the community.

“There is no change in what we are doing – because Covid is definitely not going to go away,” he said. “Recently we had a few days where the surgery staff were very reduced due to staff having Covid or having family with it. Not too long ago we only had one doctor available in practice we had three with covid or kids with covid at the same time.

Read more: North East GPs fear patients may not be safe – and demand government action amid primary care crisis

“So we are still insisting on face masks and face coverings for patients and staff. We know that patients will always have Covid, with or without symptoms and we still need to reduce the risk of them transmitting it to us or to others. other patients.

Adding that it was important not to pretend Covid didn’t exist, Dr Evans said it was a simple and important measure to wear masks and take precautions in places like GP surgeries – especially now many people could be walking around with Covid-19 without being able to test and verify this.

He continued: “We’ve had a few more patients ask if they should wear masks, but we have to take health and safety seriously. Just like if you were on a construction site, you should be wearing a helmet, you always have to wear a mask in the office.

“We are seeing a number of patients who we know have had Covid – as well as others who probably have it, or at least have the symptoms, but have not been able to get tested. We let’s assume that, every day, a proportion of our patients have Covid. It’s just a risk that we have to absorb.

Dr Evans added that with general practice under great pressure, he was firmly behind the messages of the recently formed RebuildGP campaign which highlighted how doctors fear the lack of government investment to ensure that more doctors GPs are recruited in the country will continue to have serious consequences for patients.

He has already explained how new changes to the contract that all GPs have to sign will heighten the pressure on exhausted doctors – saying: ‘We are working hours that if you were an airline pilot that would mean you are not in The net result of this is that it will pick up the pace for those considering retirement, and those of us who are younger will have to think very hard about whether working as a GP is viable for us.

Since April 1, Covid-19 rules in most public places have been relaxed and people are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they have the virus. Most free Covid-19 tests are no longer available either. However, mask-wearing remains a key part of government and NHS guidance for healthcare settings – although this week NHS England recommended a return to ‘pre-pandemic distancing’.

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