Highlander Security Shredding is delighted to be helping The Murray Surgery adhere to the strict data protection and GDPR requirements, with our secure cabinets, during what is an exceptionally difficult time for all involved at the practice.
The Murray Surgery is a truly outstanding example of the service provided by the NHS in these very challenging times, supporting the health needs of just under 11,000 patients in East Kilbride, caring for all ages from babies right through to end of life care, with the GPs even undertaking their own palliative care home visits.
A fairly unique surgery in the East Kilbride area being in their own privately-owned building, although still accountable to the health board for core standards and responsible to the Scottish Government for the provision of care, this unusual situation allows them a more flexible approach when making building alterations to deal with new Covid-19 requirements for managing patient flow.
The Murray Surgery have been able to react very quickly to the COVID-19 changes creating three separate zones Green, Amber and Red COVID-19 zone to prevent cross-contamination and minimise the spread of infection.
Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, they have been able to continue to safely bring patients into the building having the luxury of an additional entrance which allowed them to set up a self-contained hub for (potential) high-risk COVID patients to be seen by a GP. Many practices in health board buildings have been unable to do this.
The practice manager advised that the GPs felt very strongly about seeing patients on the premises – wanting to continue to provide a local service and friendly face to minimise the stress and anxiety for patients, who would otherwise have to travel some distance to been seen by a stranger with no access to their medical notes, while feeling unwell.
All this while the number of telephone consultations rocketed to over 15,500 in the last six months against only 2500 for the same period in 2019, they still managed to physically see just under 4000 patients face to face, including 200 potential COVID-19 patients. Supporting over 350 shielding patients, they have carried out over 450 home visits as well as continuing with routine work such as baby checks and care home visits.
They also handled an increase of over 49% in prescription requests due to panicked advance ordering of routine medication. And orders for inhalers doubled in light of media reports regarding the effects of Covid-19 on those with known respiratory diseases, despite many patients not requiring them in recent years.
The administration team rose to the challenge too, with patient contacts doubling over the six months to over 106,000. With the switch to digital communications, emailing photographs, ordering prescriptions and encrypted documents the team had to upskill very rapidly to cope with these strides in electronic communication at the same time as handling vastly increased phone traffic.
They introduced welfare checks on patients and sent regular texts to the most vulnerable, which hit almost 1 million texts within 6 months and involved providing recycled mobile phones to those in need. The team advised that generally people were most concerned with their loved one’s well-being and alarmingly the regular requests for information on how to support suicidal young men was heart-breaking. The compassion and care shown by the Murray Surgery team towards their patients and the whole Murray community is evident throughout the practice.
What we shouldn’t forget is that all of this was done with the GP’s, nurses, and support staff having their own battles to fight with worries about loved ones and colleagues too, working with the fear of contracting the virus, the Scottish Government stating that it would be likely that 80% of NHS staff would. Due to high standards of infection control, Murray Surgery has thankfully remained Covid-19 free.
Marjorie Stewart, Practice Business Manager, said ‘One of our core standards is that all staff are expected to adhere to data protection and GDPR guidelines. In the highly charged intense atmosphere of the last 6 months, it has been even more important than ever to ensure that we handle patient information carefully, respectfully and in line with guidance. As part of our information handling, we are required to retain all data until it’s confirmed that our electronic backups are verified and we can then destroy the hard copy. We use Highlander Security Shredding for our confidential waste because we like to support local business but also to take advantage of their excellent service. They are very nice people as well and have whopping great white sharks on their consoles!!!! Cool….’