Covid-19 – Reflections of former student Dr Sonia Hussain, Class of 2002

Guild Science

My name is Dr Sonia Hussain and I was a student at WHS from 1996-2002. I qualified from Barts and the London Medical School in 2008. I currently work as a GP in Buckinghamshire and have a background in ENT surgery.

We are currently facing a global pandemic which is sweeping the world in epic proportions. As I write this article, over 1 million cases have been confirmed worldwide with at least 60,000 deaths. In the UK alone we sadly have had over 4,300 deaths which include the deaths of my NHS colleagues. One of these deaths particularly saddened me as it was a friend’s father.

Not only has this virus affected our social lives but it has dramatically affected the way we work.

My daily routine is to start surgery at 8am, seeing patients every ten mins with interspersed telephone calls to discuss results till midday. Lunch consists of clinical meetings, catching up on admin such a prescriptions or referrals and carrying out home visits. The afternoon continues in the same vein as the morning.

I have a lot of physical patient contact and can see up to thirty-five patients a day, sometimes more. Recently this has dramatically reduced. We now debrief every morning with all staff members to discuss new guidelines/updates and discuss any problems/issues that we envisage. We are required to prepare ourselves for staff sickness and how to cover the workload if needed. Our phone appointments have increased exponentially, and we try to manage most patients via this medium. We still offer face to face appointments depending on clinical urgency. We also have a new facility to call our patients via a video link which has proved relatively successful. Though, this can’t be applied to our elderly patients who do not own smart mobile phones. A high rate of anxiety in our patient population has been noted relating to the current situation and I am finding that I am increasingly spending more time reassuring patients and advising how to keep themselves safe.

Unfortunately, PPE (personal protective equipment) is in shortage for a lot of GP surgeries and suppliers are unable to fulfil demand. We are front line workers of the NHS and at a much higher risk than perhaps some of our specialist colleagues in hospitals. We as Bucks GPs have used social media to raise awareness for the lack of PPE and have urged local companies to donate PPE/equipment to their local NHS providers. So far there has a been a slow response.

To the community, I urge everyone to adhere to government advice. Social distancing measures, hand hygiene, non-essential travel and staying indoors is essential to protect not just ourselves but also others. If anyone can help source or provide PPE, I request this to be donated to your local hospital or GP surgery/care homes.

Please remember there is no cure for this. Continue to support our wonderful NHS by staying at home.

#COVID19 #NHSHeroes #StayHomeSaveLives #WycHighInspire #WycHighProud #WeAreAllInThisTogether

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