MESSAGE FROM DR NICOLA JONES: Latest coronavirus information

Dear Colleague

Following yesterday’s longer update, I wanted to update you on some further guidance and issues that have arisen since then as part of our regular Friday e-mail. I want to again thank everyone in primary care in South West London for your continuing hard work in these unprecedented circumstances.

Nicola Jones
Clinical Lead, SWL Primary Care

New National Standard Operating Procedure for General Practice

This has just been published and is available here – Please take the time to read this very important document which covers what practices should do when patients present through different routes. Main points are:

  • All patients should be remotely triaged to assess whether a face-to-face appointment is clinically necessary or whether follow up care and advice can be given using remote consultation. All currently pre-booked face-to-face appointments without prior triage need to be remotely triaged following this process.

The guidance covers what practices should do for patients assessed as non COVID-19 or possible COVID-19, then splitting possible cases into three categories – severely unwell, needing further clinical assessment and patients with mild symptoms. It also covers what practices should do if patients present in the practice without prior triage.

  • Remote consultations should be used when possible to minimise risk of transmission. In SWL we have issued guidance to help practices with this as part of these regular updates.
  • Infection prevention and control measures should be applied when seeing patients for face-to-face consultations. The guidance includes detailed advice on these measures, and on what to do if COVID-19 is suspected when an appointment is in progress.
  • Practices should carefully assess where they can safely segregate, as much as possible, non COVID-19 from possible COVID-19 patients. Guidance is included on how this can happen – for example, where possible, separate waiting areas or isolation rooms should be used for patients with possible COVID-19, with signage used to warn patients of the segregated area and practices should consider separating clinics into possible COVID-19 and non COVID-19 at different times of the day.


There have been guidelines issued by the ARTP (Association of Respiratory Technology and Physiology) – the body who oversees accreditation to perform spirometry in the UK – that all non-urgent spirometry should be postponed. This includes spirometry performed in primary care. The guidance is found through the link below:

We would therefore advise that, if you do perform spirometry testing, to postpone this until further notice and follow ARTP advice prior to restarting.

IT Update

  • Laptops

SWL have secured an additional 527 laptops that are being built ready for distribution. Some areas will have started to receive their laptops and others will be seeing them start to come out from Monday next week.

  • Video Conferencing

The team have held 2 Q&A sessions with all practices around video conferencing. Thank you to all those who have attended. We have heard lot of interesting feedback and advice from practices who are already up and running with VC. The questions and answers from the sessions on Wednesday 18th are attached. We will be setting up further sessions in the coming weeks so please keep an eye out and join us if you need support.

  • Appropriate IT helpdesk support escalation

A reminder of the correct routes if you are experiencing IT issues. The following process can be used to log incidents. Please consider there may be extended resolution times for lower priority issues. If you have an issue that breaches SLA and cannot be delayed further please use the escalation contact details:

For Merton, Sutton, Wandsworth, Croydon, Richmond and all Corporate users:

Level 1: IT Service Desk – please log via your Marval account, telephone: 0203 8 16 16 16 (NELCSU) or

Level 2: NEL Escalation Team – please email: or telephone: 0126 824 3725 (NELCSU)

Level 3: Nimesh Patel –

If something is urgent, please make sure you call the IT Service Desk first.
For Kingston – GP users please contact Your Healthcare:

Prescribing Using the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) and Repeat Dispensing (RD) During Coronavirus Pandemic
Please find attached guidance on this from our pharmacy team.

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