Coronavirus advice includes handwashing and calling 111 after patient goes into Bradford on Avon GP with symptoms

ONE of the people who was in the Bradford on Avon GP surgery when Wiltshire’s first suspected case of coronavirus was spotted is not sure whether she should now be ‘self-isolating’ herself and her family.

Mum-of -two Rachel, who was at the doctor’s on Monday morning with her elderly mother-in-law, even asked the Times not to reveal her full identity, because she fears being abused by people who think she should be taking the threat to public health more seriously.

“We realised there was an emergency going on at the time, and later on someone told me they had heard there was a coronavirus alert there, so I joined the dots, rang for advice and was told to follow the advice on the Public Health England website,” she said.

“That says the chances of getting it are quite small, and to carry on as normal but be mindful of washing hands, using disposable tissues etc.

“If we have by any chance contracted this thing then I am walking around at the moment spreading it around.

“I feel very conflicted. I feel I don’t want to tell people I was there in case they call me reckless and stupid for potentially exposing them.”

Today the health centre’s business manager Ellen Wilson told the Times: “We won’t be able to give any more details at this time due to patient confidentiality. If people would like any more information people can go the Department of Health and Social Care or NHS England.”

The current condition of the man who was showing flu-like symptoms in the GP surgery is unknown.

The surgery re-opened to patients yesterday afternoon and is open today (Tuesday). A poster on the door advises people what to do if they are worried about coronavirus.

Rachel was in the surgery when a man who she says was clearly unwell, struggling with his breathing so that he had to go outside for fresh air and coughing, was there at around 11.45am on Monday. He went in to see a doctor, and then surgery staff put a cordon in place around that area of the building.

“This poor man might not have it anyway, I’m sure I hope he hasn’t, and I might be blowing it out of all proportion, but it’s impossible not to be worried,” she added. “I had taken my mother-in-law Sheila, who’s 81, to the doctor, she has a chest infection and respiratory problems anyway so of course I am worried for her.”

Although she said staff at the surgery clearly acted promptly, and followed advice they had been given, clearing the building and later carrying out a deep clean exercise, she is also concerned that her mother, as a patient with an appointment at the time, has not been contacted by doctors to see how she is.

“I would have felt more comfortable if they had rung us,” she said. “They knew she was there, she should have had a call and some advice. I rang them for advice but they did not take my name, they don’t know how to contact me if they need to. When you hear it on the news and it’s so far away, but when it’s right here…..”

Rachel and her partner, who live in a village outside Bradford on Avon, both work in jobs which bring them into direct contact with the public, including children. She said that after a recent bout of flu her entire family was already improving hand hygiene, washing more often and using anti-bacterial gels, and they will continue to do so.

Official advice to medical professionals on how to deal with suspected coronavirus patients has been issued. In the past few days, some surgeries in Wiltshire have texted patients warning them not to come in to the GP if they feel unwell with flu-like symptoms like those of the coronavirus, but to stay at home and call NHS 111.

More information on what to do if you feel unwell with a cough, fever and shortness of breath and have recently returned from parts of northern Italy or South East Asia, or have been in contact with someone who has, can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

This is Wiltshire

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