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The impacts of COVID-19 are immeasurable and have affected almost every aspect of day-to-day life—yet just a few months ago it didn’t even exist. At MGP, we are all working remotely—putting this issue of Guidelines in Practice together has presented us with new challenges but the team has responded brilliantly. We are aware that for you, our audience, the implications are so much greater. Healthcare professionals are facing unprecedented challenges, not only in managing patients with COVID-19, but also in treating all other conditions, at a time when resources are stretched to their limits. 

Over the next few months we will aim to strike a balance between keeping you informed about new and updated COVID-19 information and guidance, as well as covering the more ‘normal’ issues encountered in primary care—after all, other conditions do not simply ‘stop’ to make way for COVID-19.

We will be bringing you coverage of the latest and most relevant COVID-19 guidance. Our first example of this is a directory of COVID-19 information and guidance for primary care, developed by our sister publication, Guidelines. We have also developed a survey to help evaluate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on primary care in the UK. Results from the survey will inform our content and be shared in future issues of Guidelines in Practice to help you learn from each other’s experiences. You can take part in the survey by visiting: GinP.co.uk/covid-survey

We will also be considering the more general ways in which the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting your practice—Dr Toni Hazell provides top tips on how to triage and consult when you can’t see patients face to face. Healthcare, and the way that it is delivered, is changing and evolving at a phenomenal rate, and some of these changes will be here to stay—will routine remote consultations become the norm in a post-COVID-19 world? Also on the topic, Dr Sandesh Gulhane shares his View from the ground as a GP brave enough to confess that he is scared of coronavirus and the risk that it poses to him and his family.

We will continue to cover guidance across a range of topics (clinical and non-clinical) but these articles will now contain ‘COVID-19 considerations’—key points addressing the things you need to know about the topic in relation to COVID-19. In this issue:

  • Dr Michael Sproat highlights key learning points for primary care from the NICE guideline on diagnosis and management of diverticular disease. See the COVID-19 considerations and use the hypothetical patient case studies to help you put your learning into practice straight away
  • Shailen Rao and Anjna Sharma discuss the role of the practice‑based clinical pharmacists in primary care networks (PCNs) as defined by the new GP contract. PCN pharmacists have an essential role in coordinating and supporting practices during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure continuity of care is as normal as possible—read the COVID-19 considerations.

Ending on a more personal note, every Thursday evening, I have really enjoyed joining the nation in celebrating and appreciating NHS workers by applauding from my front door. The quiet lane in the small rural village where I live has come alive with clapping and cheering (not to mention the braying from a neighbour’s donkeys). The scale of this expression of gratitude is humbling, but I can’t help but feel that it’s a shame that it has taken a global pandemic for UK healthcare professionals to get the recognition they deserve. If there were to be only one positive to come out of this, I hope that it is a renewed and profound appreciation for our NHS and those who work for it.