Covid Protect is a pioneering initiative developed by the NHS in Norfolk and Waveney which aims to support and protect people with the most medical need in our communities. Around 28,000 patients who are at higher risk of developing complications from coronavirus (Covid19) received letters from NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in April asking them to report their health and symptoms on a daily basis via a dedicated, secure NHS portal www.nhspatient.org using a unique code.
Patients are asked if they or anyone in their family is currently experiencing any coronavirus symptoms such as a cough or a fever. They are also asked if they have sufficient medicines and essential supplies such as food and whether they need any additional support. These daily updates help doctors identify quickly which patients are in need of additional medical or social support. Patients without access to the internet have been asked to encourage a family member or friend to do this for them over the phone if they are not isolating with them.
CCG staff are phoning those people who are not using the portal. They may be unable to use the service or be experiencing technical problems – or they might not wish to participate. In any case, the staff callers are there to help.
Identifying people who would benefit the most
The CCG has sent letters to patients in high-risk groups, including those who have received an organ transplant, patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or severe asthma who have been admitted to hospital in the last 12 months, and those taking immune suppressant medications.
The people chosen were identified as part of the Government’s coronavirus shielding initiative together with some identified by their GP as being in most need. This is happening across most GP practices in Norfolk and Waveney.
Alongside the letters, patients were sent a brochure explaining that they have been identified as being at greater risk of becoming unwell if they catch coronavirus. The brochure provides useful information about how to self-isolate, the importance of handwashing and social distancing, support with daily living and the importance of keeping in touch with friends and family and accessing medical care.
Patients are also reminded that help is also available from www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable or by calling 0800 028 8327, the Government’s dedicated helpline.
The CCG letters are in addition to the letters that patients may have already received from either local councils or the NHS. It is another way that the local NHS and local councils are working together to keep people as safe and well as possible.
For all local updates on coronavirus please visit the dedicated page on our website