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2 double espressos and a flapjack please

Yes, it’s all for me. I needed lots energy this morning for an exciting run to celebrate/publicise a new service we’re launching at OSMP. Strava will confirm that instead of my usual amusing word or acronym, I painstakingly formed the letters ‘INR’ (international normalised ratio, which is the regular monitoring blood test for patients on warfarin) over 5.9km of very laboured and at times giggly jogging. Worth it though. Drumroll please…for the new OSMP drive-through INR blood test service!

GP surgeries up and down the country have stopped routine face-to-face appointments, as a general measure to try to reduce physical contact. Well this is another way of doing that. Aside from scruffily photo-shopping their excellent signage, we’ve taken a cocoa leaf out of coffee-giant Costa’s book (planet points alert: they give you 25p off if you take a reusable cup, and will also recycle "disposable" cups from any coffee outlet!). Our fabulous Dr Nicky Ioanna came up with the idea that instead of coming into the nurse’s room, patients will wait by a hatch next to the main Copmanthorpe Surgery entrance, answer some ID questions just in case anyone’s missing that particularly fun part of every airport experience (though we draw the line at frisking), pop their hand through, have the finger-prick blood test, and be away again within minutes. By doing this, we’ll continue to offer this vital blood test in the community whilst protecting patients and staff.

Sadly no espressos though. And no Oreo milkshake or skinny fries to go, much to the incredulity of my junior editor. It’s OK, I’ve told him (with a big wink) that we may have to “expand the service”. Honestly though, we may indeed need to adapt other systems in the COVID-19-veiled future. Any changes will of course be publicised on our practice website and this blog. But we won’t be sharing any confidential details of patients’ symptoms, treatment journeys, what wards they’re on or whether or not they’re sitting up in bed. We won’t be providing false hope that lockdown will end in the next couple of weeks. And we won’t be treating our patients like army recruits; nobody with COVID-19 (or indeed any other medical problem) is expected to ‘fight it’ or ‘be strong’.

No war tactics from us. Kindness and compassion have been the cornerstones of medicine for centuries and will outlast any virus. Let’s hope too that some of the lockdown ‘positives’ will also become ingrained in society. For instance, could we continue to check on our elderly neighbours? Will we keep thanking our cleaners, binmen, and delivery staff? Let’s carry on regularly praising the hard work of our pharmacists (thank you Tracey and Maja – we love you!). Why not keep on supporting local restaurants and grocery shops and/or order veg boxes from York-based suppliers? Planet points on offer for reducing food miles and the footprint of what we eat!

Rest assured we have put on our most creative thinking caps. Pencil tips moistened, fingers poised over keyboards, emails flying back and forth (yes even at the weekends), regular checking in with our amazing #teamGP colleagues in York to see how local General Practice is adapting. Watch. This. Space.

Oh and have a happy home-based Easter everyone (in Mark Strong's voice. Obviously).

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