Birmingham health care provider establishes virtual home service

Primary care checks continue through pandemic.

As the coronavirus emergency continues to impact care homes across the region, a Birmingham-based GP organisation has enhanced its primary care through the use of a virtual support service.

South Doc Services has pioneered a free-to-use virtual care home service for all the care homes in the city by using the latest telephone and video technology, with over 200 Birmingham care facilities already on-board. The seven-day-a-week Virtual Support Service for Care Homes enables every care service to safely access a team of specialist GPs, advanced nurse practitioners and clinical pharmacists, giving those who are most at risk the experience of face-to-face time with experts.

Along with providing residents with skilled primary care support and advice they need, this virtual approach helps reduce the risks of coronavirus infection for NHS key workers delivering this service. If necessary though, patients will still receive a visit from primary care professionals.

SDS’s Virtual Support Service for Care Homes was commissioned by Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, in response to the rapid surge of coronavirus cases in Birmingham care homes. SDS is also working with its partners at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust to provide integrated care.

From the beginning of the pandemic, SDS proactively tackled the problem of making welfare checks on patients from all over the country with a positive Diagnosis of COVID-19 on behalf of NHS England whilst local services were mobilised. SDS also delivers a Home Visiting Service for all of its GP Surgeries in Birmingham, in a coordinated primary care approach. This approach protects practice staff so they can safely continue to provide their attention to patients, who can be dealt with over the phone or video consultation or safely attend the practice.

Nirmal Vora, CEO at SDSmyhealthcare, said: “We understand this is a very difficult time for care homes up and down the country. Due to the coronavirus emergency, many local GPs have been unable to provide their usual support to care home residents, such as ward rounds.

“We’ve been very happy to work with our partners to quickly find effective virtual solutions, by embracing new technology. The service is an extension of the successful Intermediate Bed Service SDS has offered for almost a decade, which helps hospitals to discharge patients to a place of safety.

“I’d like to thank our commissioners and our other partners for coming together to provide these solutions in this time of crisis. I’d also like to thank Jaguar Land Rover, which generously provided much-needed visors to keep our staff safe.”

Judy Williams, care home manager at Bromford Lane Care Centre, added: “We’re really pleased to be able to use the new Virtual Support Service for Care Homes. The service is fast and responsive – it’s a huge relief to be able to access specialist advice from doctors. It’s also good to have people who really care about our home, our residents and our staff.”

Care homes can access the service by dialling 0121 483 2142.