Keyworkers have faced the eerie task of going to work throughout the Covid-19 lockdown. I have been volunteering in a GP surgery in London since late April.
My day starts later than normal, leaving the house at around 8am for the 2.5-mile cycle in order to completely avoid public transport. Fortunately, in the current ‘Covid climate’, the dress code is somewhat relaxed, meaning I can get away with dressing for the hot weather. Of course, that all goes out the window when we enter areas frequented by the few patients who manage to battle through to a face-to-face consultation…plastic gowns, face masks and visors are donned, and gloves reminiscent of those used by farm vets make frequent appearances (although nothing that invasive is carried out on our patients!). The reception area, with plastic screens, looks a lot like the custody desk in a local police station, only with marginally friendlier receptionists…
Face-to-face interactions are few and far between as GP services have moved very much to remote working. This will inevitably change over the coming weeks, though great leaps are being made in video consultations to delay the surge of in-person appointments. Currently, a typical day consists of significant admin, catching up with the clinical team about troubling cases, and telephoning patients to triage issues. Although GPs haven’t seen scenes as harrowing as some hospital wards at the peak of the crisis, they will certainly be dealing with the backlog of care for some time. My stint volunteering is almost over but pending a return to studies I will be re-joining other medical students on hospital wards next month. Who knows what the working day will look like by then? I doubt I will get away with my Tuesday early finishes for the Freemasons Without Borders talks!
Our thanks to Bro. Jake Mossom, of Metropolitan Council TI, for this fascinating insight