Volume of coronavirus test referrals crashed HSE system, notes Beara GP

March 16th, 2020 3:23 PM

By Emma Connolly

Dr Kelly said she has been getting a few hundred calls and texts to her clinic today alone.

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A WEST Cork GP said the online referral system that medics have been told to use to schedule tests for patients showing Covid-19 symptoms, crashed due to volume of users this morning.

Dr Fiona Kelly, who is based in the Bank Place Clinic in Castletownbere, said they had no option but to take note of patients details, and input them into the system later.

Dr Kelly, like many other GPs, said they ‘were up the walls’ and she admitted to feeling ‘overwhelmed’ by the situation.

‘This morning alone, between texts and phone calls, we’ve had at least a few hundred people in touch,’ she said.

‘The thing is that everyone wants to be tested, but what we’re saying to people is that there’s no point if they’re not showing symptoms. This could give them a false negative,’ she said.

Doctors are advised to refer those with fever, plus/minus a respiratory problem, and with a cough, for testing. The referral goes to the National Ambulance Centre which, in West Cork, arranges a call-out to be tested.

Later today GPs were told that they could now email referrals for tests.

They have been advised to include their patient’s mobile number so appointments can be sent by text.




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