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COVID-19 and its effect on the nursing team in primary care

02 December 2020
11 min read
Volume 31 · Issue 12


The COVID-19 pandemic changed how care was organised in general practice. Anne-Marie Brennan and Rebecca Willcox explain how a ‘cold hub' was set up in their primary care network and the challenges the nursing team faced

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way general practice is organised. A significant proportion of care is now managed over the telephone or via video consultation. However, some patients need to be seen face-to-face and many nursing tasks need to be completed in person. In our local area, hot and cold hubs were set up for face-to-face contact with patients. This article describes how Lewisham and our primary care network (PCN) activated the local COVID-19 plan, the challenges the nursing team faced, and how many of these were overcome.

COVID-19 has been the epicentre of a seismic shift in the way that we conduct our lives and has transformed how we work in general practice, possibly forever. What a shift it has been! Suddenly, we moved from seeing patients face-to-face, to managing all care over the telephone or via video consultation: an unprecedented move, and one that will echo throughout the NHS for years to come.

In line with NHS Guidance and Operating Procedures in the context of COVID-19 (NHS, 2020), practices were tasked with triaging patients remotely and patients suspected of being infected with COVID-19 were seen in a separate location to those without risk of infection.

Practices had a choice of how to deal with this. Every borough and practice chose to deal with the guidance in slightly different ways. We work in the borough of Lewisham and in a Primary Care Network (PCN)/Federation. This article describes how Lewisham and our PCN activated the local COVID-19 plan.

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