By Lizzie May
People suffering with Covid-19 at home are being offered a direct line to their GPs to monitor their conditions remotely.
One Health Lewisham has teamed up with medical condition monitoring platform Doctaly Assist to help GP’s observe any deterioration of Covid-19 patients at home.
Patients with a positive Covid test will receive a message introducing the service, then asked some questions on current wellbeing to be reviewed by their GP.
This is followed by instructions in how to receive an oxygen-measuring device to help monitor your progress.
Jennifer Begum, Lewisham resident and used the monitoring service described catching Covid as if she was very slowly drowning.
She said: “If I didn’t have the service I feel I would have panicked and felt alone.
“Recovery would have taken longer; my anxiety would have hit the roof.
“Having the GP monitoring service reassured me that I’m not alone and it made me stronger mentally.”
Another user, Laurent Palacio said: “I didn’t want to be a drain on resources, as I was only mildly affected but I was really relieved to know that someone was keeping a check on me.”
Jemima Adcock said: “The service provided some much needed reassurance because I knew medical help was only a WhatsApp message away.
“Getting an oximeter was also a real god-send. You hear stories of people not knowing how ill they are until it’s really serious, so being able to check our oxygen levels regularly took away some of the worry.”
Devices are provided to the patient free of charge at one of seven collection points across Lewisham, and patients are asked to return when feeling well again.
Some of the allocated collection points for the devices are St Johns Medical Centre in Lewisham, The Jenner Surgery in Forest Hill and The Marvels Lane Hot Hub in Grove Park.
Patients are required for a friend or relative outside of their bubble to collect a device on their behalf to ensure social isolation rules are stuck to.
Existing WhatsApp security ensures that all messages are secured so that only you and the clinician you are communicating with can read them, in line with patient confidentiality in the NHS.
Phil Tyler, Chief Operation Officer at Doctaly said rolling out this service began over a year ago and opted for WhatsApp as the connector between patient and doctor to avoid ‘app fatigue’.
He said: “We are confident that this new approach to linking patients and clinicians has a lot of potential.
“We look forward to continuing to support the NHS and patients in South East London as we move in to the recovery phase of the pandemic.”
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