GPs Anil Mehta and Jagan John spent a shift supporting colleagues caring for patients at Queen’s Hospital on Saturday 2 January.
It’s planned that the support provided by these doctors, who are also respective chairs of the Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham Clinical Commissioning Groups, will continue with many more GPs lending their skills to help on the hospital frontline.
Not only did they provide valuable help in looking after both Covid and non-Covid patients, they were also able to see where further improvements could be made between acute frontline care and community services.
Donna Walker, consultant geriatrician at our Trust, who oversaw Anil and Jagan as they supported on two general medical wards at our hospital, was not only grateful for the on-the-ground support they provided, she also saw how the benefits of this closer working will improve patient care in the future.
She said: “Their support made a huge difference. It’s really tough on weekends, often I come home so exhausted I could cry and this was the first time I didn’t quite get to that point.
“What was really useful was their help as generalists, which allowed me to provide more high quality, specialist care to patients. They were also able to see where there are bottlenecks in the local healthcare system, so they can go away and look at community pathways and see where improvements can be made. This will improve care for our patients in the future. It was really good for them to see the pressures we are facing, and for us to have a fresh pair of eyes on the ward.”
Donna was also able to catch up with an old friend, having worked as Jagan’s registrar during his training while he was a senior house officer (SHO).
Jagan said: “We had to help and we felt we have a lot to contribute. We saw first-hand the resilience and hard work of our hospital colleagues, including the amazing junior doctors.
“We supported discharges where it was appropriate and challenged the need for some patients to be reviewed by specialists, which would have delayed things and contributed even further to pressure on beds at this time of year.”
Magda Smith, Chief Medical Officer at our Trust, added: “I was absolutely delighted to have Anil and Jagan offer to help out on our wards at such a challenging time.
“Their help was invaluable and a great example of local healthcare partners pulling together to support each other. It’s also really promising to see how this can be an opportunity to improve care across the system, good for our patients in the here and now, and in the future. I look forward to welcoming more GPs to our wards and would like to extend my thanks for their continuing support.”