The advent of Coronavirus has resulted in the immediate and complete cessation of all private, elective surgery and medical care, with the agreement made in March between the private healthcare sector and the NHS. The independent sector agreed to reallocate almost all of its hospital capacity to the NHS, involving 8,000 hospital beds, over 1,000 more ventilators and many thousands of nurses, doctors and clinical staff.
As NHS hospitals clear the decks, cancelling all routine operations such as hip and knee replacements for the next three months, it does mean there will be many left in limbo with no idea of when they will be able to undergo a much-needed operation.
Earlier this year, we covered a recently published study that highlighted the importance of joint replacement timing; specifically, leaving it too long could have negative implications, such as a greater risk of surgical complications and potential issues with the effectiveness of the surgery in terms of mobility and function.
So, although the demand for joint replacement surgery will likely not decrease, Coronavirus may impact how we provide patient care in the private sector in the future.
Medical consultations post-Coronavirus
The UK Government’s current Stay at Home policy means we have all had to embrace new technology, such as Zoom, Facetime or Skype, to stay in touch with family and friends or to work effectively from home. Remote consultations, follow-up appointments and access to imaging could all become more widespread in the future to minimise risks for patients.
This will affect both the NHS and the private healthcare sector. From this April, all NHS General Practices in England and Wales were expected to be able to provide online consultations and, from next April, they will be required to provide video consultations.
The General Medical Council’s basic good practice principles should apply to both remote and in-person consultations. The onus on practitioners is to obtain adequate patient consent, ensure patient confidentiality and make an appropriate assessment of symptoms. It is important that the patient is aware of any potential limitations of the clinical assessment that can be made remotely. As practitioners, we must be aware that we are communicating clearly and that we can deliver high-quality audio-visual technology.
Mr Simon Bridle is still available for consultations. He will be able to see clinically urgent cases in his clinics, but most consultations will be remote by telemedicine, either telephone or video link. Appointments can be arranged by contacting his PA Adriana, or by contacting the appointments team at Fortius Clinic, Parkside Hospital or St Anthony’s Hospital.
Parkside Hospital: 020 8971 8026
Fortius Clinic: 020 3195 2442