COVID-19 community assessment hubs in Ireland - the experience of clinicians

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Bury, Gerard
Smith, Susan
Kelly, Maureen
Bradley, Colin
Howard, William
Egan, Mairead
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Springer Nature Switzerland AG
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Background COVID-19 required rapid innovation in health systems, in the context of an infection which placed healthcare professionals at high risk; general practice has been a key component of that innovative response. In Ireland, GPs were asked to work in a network of community assessment hubs. A focused training programme in infection control procedures/clinical use of personal protective equipment (PPE) was rapidly developed in advance. University departments of general practice were asked to develop and deliver that training. Aim The aim of this article is to describe infection control procedure training in Ireland, the uptake by GPs and the initial experience of GPs working in this unusual environment. Design and setting Two anonymous cross-sectional online surveys are sent to participants in training courses. Method Survey 1 followed completion of training; survey 2 followed establishment of the hubs. Results Six hundred seventy-five participants (including 439 GPs, 156 GP registrars) took part in the training. Two hundred thirty-nine (50.3%) out of four hundred seventy-five responded to Survey 1-over 95% reported an increase in confidence in the use of PPE. Two hundred ten (44.2%) out of four hundred seventy-five participants responded to Survey 2; 195 had completed hub shifts. Younger, female GPs predominated. Very high levels of infection control procedures were reported. Participants commented positively on teamworking, environment and systems. However, 'real-time' ambulance service data suggest the peak of the surge may have passed by the time the hubs were established. Conclusion Academic departments, GPs and the Irish health system collaborated effectively to respond to the need for community assessment of COVID-19 patients.
COVID-19 , Infection control , Training
Bury, G., Smith, S., Kelly, M., Bradley, C., Howard, W. and Egan, M. (2020) 'COVID-19 community assessment hubs in Ireland - the experience of clinicians', Irish Journal of Medical Science. doi: 10.1007/s11845-020-02381-6
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© 2020, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. Published by Springer Nature Switzerland AG. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in the Irish Journal of Medical Science. The final authenticated version is available online at: