Online 'out-of-hours' service helping to slow coronavirus spread

A service commissioned by NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is making the best use of technology to slow the spread of coronavirus and ensuring patients can be seen by a GP.

When anyone in Trafford calls NHS111 overnight or at weekends, they are fed through to the borough’s ‘out-of-hours’ provider, Mastercall, and a growing number of these patients are being deemed suitable for a video consultation with a Mastercall GP.

This is helping to significantly reduce the number of people needing to be seen in person, especially when social distancing is so important to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Statistics show around a 50% increase in these types of consultations in Trafford during the out-of-hours period*.

Dr Mark Jarvis, Medical Director at NHS Trafford CCG, said:

“These are unprecedented times for all of us and we know how important it is for us to observe social distancing rules to help to slow this pandemic.

“We’ve all seen an increase in the use of technology to stay connected socially. But it has never been more important to make technology work for our patients and I’m pleased to see the public working with us to make the best of it.”

While many calls have been coronavirus-related, patients inevitably still require medical advice on issues such as rashes, breathlessness and throat examinations.

Dr Jarvis added:

“We want patients to receive the usual top quality care while ensuring the risk of coronavirus is minimised. Video consultations are great as they enable GPs to see patients and diagnose their illness.

“This also means people who are self-isolating can still consult a GP for other illnesses out of hours, which is very important.”

Trafford residents should download the QHealth app which would help with the connection of a video consultation should they need to access out-of-hours services. It can be downloaded via Google Play or the Apple store on your phone or visit https://qhealth.io/faq for more information.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service.

If you need medical help or advice not related to coronavirus:

  • for health information and advice, use the NHS website or your GP surgery website
  • for urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service – only call 111 if you're unable to get help online
  • for life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance

 Read more advice about getting medical help at home.

Posted on Thursday 2nd April 2020