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1.
BMJ Open ; 11(7), 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1842606

ABSTRACT

ObjectiveTo describe primary health care (consultation characteristics and management) for patients contacting their general practitioner (GP) with a respiratory tract infection (RTI) early on in the COVID-19 pandemic in contrasting European countries, with comparison to prepandemic findings.SettingPrimary care in 16 countries (79 practices), when no routine SARS-CoV-2 testing was generally available.Design and participantsBefore (n=4376) and early in the pandemic (n=3301), patients with RTI symptoms were registered in this prospective audit study.Outcome measuresConsultation characteristics (type of contact and use of PPE) and management characteristics (clinical assessments, diagnostic testing, prescribing, advice and referral) were registered. Differences in these characteristics between countries and between pandemic and prepandemic care are described.ResultsCare for patients with RTIs rapidly switched to telephone/video consultations (10% in Armenia, 91% in Denmark), and when consultations were face-to-face, GPs used PPE during 97% (95% CI 96% to 98%) of contacts. Laboratory testing for SARS-CoV-2 in primary care patients with RTIs was rapidly implemented in Denmark (59%) and Germany (31%), while overall testing for C reactive protein decreased. The proportion of patients prescribed antibiotics varied considerably between countries (3% in Belgium, 48% in UK) and was lower during the pandemic compared with the months before, except for Greece, Poland and UK. GPs provided frequent and varied COVID-related advice and more frequently scheduled a follow-up contact (50%, 95% CI 48% to 52%). GPs reported a slightly higher degree of confidence in the likely effectiveness of their management in face-to-face (73% (very) confident, 95% CI 71% to 76%) than in virtual consultations (69%, 95% CI 67% to 71%).ConclusionsDespite between-country variation in consultation characteristics, access to SARS-CoV-2 laboratory testing and medication prescribing, GPs reported a high degree of confidence in managing their patients with RTIs in the emerging pandemic. Insight in the highly variable pandemic responses, as measured in this multicountry audit, can aid in fine-tuning national action and in coordinating a pan-European response during future pandemic threats.

2.
International Journal of Qualitative Methods ; : 1-11, 2022.
Article in English | Academic Search Complete | ID: covidwho-1759653

ABSTRACT

The impacts of healthcare professionals (HCPs) being research participants are often neglected. As professionals, they tend to be perceived as 'immune' to many negative effects of sharing their experiences. However, in the context of an ongoing global pandemic such as COVID-19, these assumptions can be clearly challenged. This article draws on researchers' experiences of conducting single and longitudinal qualitative interviews with HCPs during the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe during 2020. Reflecting on the methodological and ethical implications of doing such research during a pandemic allows researchers to surface assumptions about and question categories of 'vulnerability' and 'sensitivity'. We explore these categories in relation to three issues we have identified: (i) Blurred boundaries in researcher-participant relationships;(ii) Interviews as spaces to process experiences;and (iii) Motivations to conduct and participate in research. We demonstrate that qualitative interviews during a pandemic are embedded in sense-making processes for both the interviewer and participant, and as such may play an important role in coping and resilience. We therefore argue for ethically active research that critically engages with the concepts of 'vulnerability' and 'sensitivity', and underpinning assumptions, in context over time throughout the research process for current and future research with HCPs and other groups beyond pandemic situations. We thus aim to prepare researchers for managing these potential facets during the research process. We conclude with practical implications for managing emerging ethical tensions, methodological challenges and the wide-ranging possibilities and responsibilities for research with HCPs, urging researchers to consider the issues in advance. [ FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of International Journal of Qualitative Methods is the property of Sage Publications Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full . (Copyright applies to all s.)

3.
Vaccine ; 40(9): 1191-1197, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1757898

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has offered a powerful preventive measure to help control SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Nevertheless, long-standing public hesitation around vaccines heightened concerns that vaccine coverage would not achieve desired public health impacts, particularly in light of more contagious variants. This cross-sectional survey was conducted online just before the European vaccine rollout in December 2020 among 7000 respondents (aged 18-65) in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Ukraine. The survey included open text boxes for fuller explanation of responses. Overall, 56.9% of respondents would accept a COVID-19 vaccine, 19.0% would not, and 24.1% did not know or preferred not to say. By country, between 44% (France) and 66% (Italy) of respondents would accept a COVID-19 vaccine. Respondents expressed conditionality in open responses, voicing concerns about vaccine safety and mistrust of authorities. We highlight lessons learned about the dynamism of vaccine conditionality and persistence of safety concerns.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , Young Adult
4.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0264906, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1745315

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To identify the experiences and concerns of health workers (HWs), and how they changed, throughout the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. METHODS: Longitudinal, qualitative study with HWs involved in patient management or delivery of care related to COVID-19 in general practice, emergency departments and hospitals. Participants were identified through snowballing. Semi-structured telephone or video interviews were conducted between February 2020 and February 2021, audio-recorded, summarised, and transcribed. Data were analysed longitudinally using framework and thematic analysis. RESULTS: We conducted 105 interviews with 14 participants and identified three phases corresponding with shifts in HWs' experiences and concerns. (1) Emergency and mobilisation phase (late winter-spring 2020), with significant rapid shifts in responsibilities, required skills, and training, and challenges in patient care. (2) Consolidation and preparation phase (summer-autumn 2020), involving gradual return to usual care and responsibilities, sense of professional development and improvement in care, and focus on learning and preparing for future. (3) Exhaustion and survival phase (autumn 2020-winter 2021), entailing return of changes in responsibilities, focus on balancing COVID-19 and non-COVID care (until becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases), and concerns about longer-term impacts of unceasing pressure on health services. Participants' perceptions of COVID-19 risk and patient/public attitudes changed throughout the year, and tiredness and weariness turned into exhaustion. CONCLUSIONS: Results showed a long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK HWs' experiences and concerns related to changes in their roles, provision of care, and personal wellbeing. Despite mobilisation in the emergency phase, and trying to learn from this, HWs' experiences seemed to be similar or worse in the second wave partly due to many COVID-19 cases. The findings highlight the importance of supporting HWs and strengthening system-level resilience (e.g., with resources, processes) to enable them to respond to current and future demands and emergencies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care/trends , Health Personnel/psychology , COVID-19/psychology , Clinical Competence , Disease Management , Hospitals , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Qualitative Research , United Kingdom/epidemiology
5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-316540

ABSTRACT

Background: As COVID-19 death rates have risen and health-care systems have experienced increased demand, national testing strategies have come under scrutiny. Utilising qualitative interview data from a larger COVID-19 study, this paper provides insights into influences on and the enactment of national COVID-19 testing strategies for health care workers (HCWs) in English NHS settings during wave one of the COVID-19 pandemic (March-August 2020). We aim to inform COVID-19 learning and future pandemic diagnostic preparedness. Methods: A remote qualitative, semi-structured longitudinal interview method was employed with a purposive snowball sample of senior scientific advisors to the UK Government on COVID-19, and HCWs employed in NHS primary and secondary health care settings in England. 24 interviews from 13 participants were selected from the larger project dataset. Framework analysis was informed by the non-adoption, abandonment, scale-up, spread, and sustainability of patient-facing health and care technologies implementation framework (NASSS) and by normalisation process theory (NPT). Results: Our account highlights tensions between the communication and implementation of national testing developments;scientific advisor and HCW perceptions about infectiousness;and uncertainties about the responsibility for testing and its implications at the local level. Conclusions: Consideration must be given to the implications of mass NHS staff testing, including the accuracy of information communicated to HCWs;how HCWs interpret, manage, and act on testing guidance;and the influence these have on health care organisations and services.

6.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0245182, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674002

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Working under pandemic conditions exposes health care workers (HCWs) to infection risk and psychological strain. A better understanding of HCWs' experiences of following local infection prevention and control (IPC) procedures during COVID-19 is urgently needed to inform strategies for protecting the psychical and psychological health of HCWs. The objective of this study was therefore to capture the perceptions of hospital HCWs on local IPC procedures and the impact on their emotional wellbeing during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. METHODS: Participants were recruited in two sampling rounds of an international cross-sectional survey. Sampling took place between 31 March and 17 April 2020 via existing research networks and between 14 May and 31 August 2020 via online convenience sampling. Main outcome measures were behavioural determinants of HCWs' adherence to IPC guidelines and the WHO-5 Well-Being Index, a validated scale of 0-100 reflecting emotional wellbeing. The WHO-5 was interpreted as a score below or above 50 points, a cut-off score used in previous literature to screen for depression. RESULTS: 2289 HCWs from 40 countries in Europe participated. Mean age was 42 (±11) years, 66% were female, 47% and 39% were medical doctors and nurses, respectively. 74% (n = 1699) of HCWs were directly treating patients with COVID-19, of which 32% (n = 527) reported they were fearful of caring for these patients. HCWs reported high levels of concern about COVID-19 infection risk to themselves (71%) and their family (82%) as a result of their job. 40% of HCWs considered that getting infected with COVID-19 was not within their control. This feeling was more common among junior than senior HCWs (46% versus 38%, P value < .01). Sufficient COVID-19-specific IPC training, confidence in PPE use and institutional trust were positively associated with the feeling that becoming infected with COVID-19 was within their control. Female HCWs were more likely than males to report a WHO-5 score below 50 points (aOR 1.5 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-1.8). CONCLUSIONS: In Europe, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a differential impact on those providing direct COVID-19 patient care, junior staff and women. Health facilities must be aware of these differential impacts, build trust and provide tailored support for this vital workforce during the current COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Guidelines as Topic/standards , Health Personnel/psychology , Hospitals/standards , Infection Control/statistics & numerical data , Personal Protective Equipment/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Europe/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Patient Care/methods , Patient Care/standards
7.
BJGP Open ; 2022 Apr 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1627151

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients' and clinicians' perceptions of healthcare-seeking behaviour and delivery of care is unclear. The pandemic accelerated the use of remote care, and understanding its benefits and drawbacks may inform its implementation during current and future healthcare emergencies. AIM: To explore patients' and primary care professionals' (PCPs) experiences of primary care delivery in the first wave of the pandemic. DESIGN & SETTING: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews in primary care in eight European countries (England, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece, Poland, Sweden, and Germany). METHOD: A total of 146 interviews were conducted with 80 PCPs and 66 patients consulting for respiratory tract infection (RTI) symptoms, in eight European countries. Data were collected between April and July 2020, and analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: It was found that patients accepted telemedicine when PCPs spent time to understand and address their concerns, but a minority preferred in-person consultations. PCPs felt that remote consultations created emotional distance between themselves and patients, and they reported having to manage diverse COVID-19-related medical and social concerns. CONCLUSION: Remote consultations for RTI symptoms may be acceptable long term if both groups are happy to use this format, but it is important that PCPs take time to address patients' concerns and provide safety-netting advice.

8.
Antibiotics (Basel) ; 10(12)2021 Dec 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572351

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the delivery of primary care services. We aimed to identify general practitioners' (GPs') perceptions and experiences of how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced antibiotic prescribing and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) in general practice in England. Twenty-four semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 GPs at two time-points: autumn 2020 (14 interviews) and spring 2021 (10 interviews). Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically, taking a longitudinal approach. Participants reported a lower threshold for antibiotic prescribing (and fewer consultations) for respiratory infections and COVID-19 symptoms early in the pandemic, then returning to more usual (pre-pandemic) prescribing. They perceived the pandemic as having had less impact on antibiotic prescribing for urinary and skin infections. Participants perceived the changing ways of working and consulting (e.g., proportions of remote and in-person consultations) in addition to changing patient presentations and GP workloads as influencing the fluctuations in antibiotic prescribing. This was compounded by decreased engagement with, and priority of, AMS due to COVID-19-related urgent priorities. Re-engagement with AMS is needed, e.g., through reviving antibiotic prescribing feedback and targets/incentives. The pandemic disrupted, and required adaptations in, the usual ways of working and AMS. It is now important to identify opportunities, e.g., for re-organising ways of managing infections and AMS in the future.

9.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(12): ofab495, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1570091

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, the UK government began a mass severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing program. This study aimed to determine the feasibility and acceptability of organized regular self-testing for SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: This was a mixed-methods observational cohort study in asymptomatic students and staff at University of Oxford, who performed SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow self-testing. Data on uptake and adherence, acceptability, and test interpretation were collected via a smartphone app, an online survey, and qualitative interviews. RESULTS: Across 3 main sites, 551 participants (25% of those invited) performed 2728 tests during a follow-up of 5.6 weeks; 447 participants (81%) completed at least 2 tests, and 340 (62%) completed at least 4. The survey, completed by 214 participants (39%), found that 98% of people were confident to self-test and believed self-testing to be beneficial. Acceptability of self-testing was high, with 91% of ratings being acceptable or very acceptable. A total of 2711 (99.4%) test results were negative, 9 were positive, and 8 were inconclusive. Results from 18 qualitative interviews with students and staff revealed that participants valued regular testing, but there were concerns about test accuracy that impacted uptake and adherence. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to assess feasibility and acceptability of regular SARS-CoV-2 self-testing. It provides evidence to inform recruitment for, adherence to, and acceptability of regular SARS-CoV-2 self-testing programs for asymptomatic individuals using lateral flow tests. We found that self-testing is acceptable and people were able to interpret results accurately.

10.
Fam Pract ; 2021 Dec 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555944

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Primary care manages a significant proportion of healthcare in the United Kingdom and should be a key part of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic response. AIM: To assess preparedness for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic by understanding GPs' perception of their ability to manage current and future service demand, set-up of triage processes, and training in Covid-19 infection prevention and control procedures. DESIGN AND SETTING: Cross-sectional survey of practicing GPs in the United Kingdom, with 2 rounds of data collection early in the pandemic. METHODS: Online survey, scripted and hosted by medeConnect Healthcare, comprising 6 closed prompts on 7-point Likert scales, and an optional free-text component. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Free-text data were analysed thematically. RESULTS: One thousand two GPs completed each round; 51 GPs completed free-text responses in March, and 64 in April. Quantitative data showed greatest confidence in triage of Covid-19 patients, and GPs were more confident managing current than future Covid-19 demand. GPs' responses were more optimistic and aligned in April than March. Free-text data highlighted that GPs were concerned about lack of appropriate personal protective equipment and personal risk of Covid-19 infection in March, and unmet needs of non-Covid-19 patients in April. In both rounds, GPs expressed feeling overlooked by government and public health bodies. CONCLUSION: Guidance to support general practice clinicians to manage future waves of Covid-19 or other health emergencies must be tailored to general practice from the outset, to support clinicians to manage competing health demands, and mitigate impacts on primary care providers' wellbeing.


The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has posed significant challenges for the health services in the United Kingdom and abroad. A Doctors Association UK poll published in early March 2020 found that only 1% of 800 GPs believed the NHS was well prepared for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We surveyed 1,002 GPs across the United Kingdom to gauge how well prepared they felt to cope with the challenges posed by Covid-19. We conducted surveys in March and April 2020, an important time early in the pandemic with rapid changes and uncertainty. We found that GPs were more confident about their ability to manage Covid-19 patients, and do so safely, in April. GPs were most confident that they would be able to triage Covid-19 patients but were concerned about future Covid-19 demand. GPs expressed frustration about a lack of personal protective equipment in March. In April, GPs' primary concern was that patients with other health concerns were not being seen. In both samples, GPs expressed feelings of being overlooked by the government. Primary care needs tailored guidance from as early as possible in a health crisis to support clinicians to manage the competing demands of responding to emergency situations, maintain usual care and their own wellbeing.

11.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-292861

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the delivery of primary care services. We aimed to identify general practitioners (GPs) perceptions and experiences of how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced antibiotic prescribing and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) in general practice in England. Twenty-four semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 GPs at two time-points: autumn 2020 (14 interviews) and spring 2021 (10 interviews). Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically, taking a longitudinal approach. Participants reported a lower threshold for antibiotic prescribing (and fewer consultations) for respiratory infections and COVID-19 symptoms early in the pandemic, then returning to more usual (pre-pandemic) prescribing. They perceived less impact on antibiotic prescribing for urinary and skin infections. Participants perceived the changing ways of working and consulting (e.g., proportions of remote and in-person consultations), and the changing patient presentations and GP workload as influencing the fluctuations in antibiotic prescribing. This was compounded by decreased engagement with, and priority of, AMS due to COVID-19-related urgent priorities. Re-engagement with AMS is needed, e.g., through reviving antibiotic prescribing feedback and targets/incentives. While the pandemic disrupted the usual ways of working, it also produced opportunities, e.g., for re-organising ways of managing infections and AMS in the future.

12.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 726319, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1441118

ABSTRACT

Background: Minimising primary care professionals' (PCPs) risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection is crucial to ensure their safety as well as functioning health care system. PCPs' perspectives on the support they needed in the early stages of a public health crisis can inform future preparedness. Aim: To understand PCPs' experiences of providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic, with focus on personal risk from COVID-19 and testing. Design and Setting: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with PCPs in England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Greece and Sweden, between April and July 2020. Method: Interviews were analysed using a combination of inductive and deductive thematic analysis techniques. Results: Eighty interviews were conducted, showing that PCPs tried to make sense of their risk of both contracting and severity of COVID-19 by assessing individual risk factors and perceived effectiveness of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They had limited access to PPE yet continued providing care as their "duty." Some PCPs felt that they were put in high-risk situations when patients or colleagues were not flagging symptoms of COVID-19. Not having access to testing in the initial stages of the pandemic was somewhat accepted but when available, was valued. Conclusion: Access to adequate PPE and testing, as well as training for staff and education for patients about the importance of ensuring staff safety is crucial. Given PCPs' varied response in how they appraised personal risk and their tolerance for working, PCPs may benefit from the autonomy in deciding how they want to work during health emergencies.

13.
BMJ Glob Health ; 6(9)2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440818

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: In order to tackle the pandemic, governments have established various types of advisory boards to provide evidence and recommendations to policy makers. Scientists working on these boards have faced many challenges, including working under significant time constraints to produce 'evidence' as quickly as possible. However, their voices are still largely missing in the discussion. This study explores the views and experiences of scientists working on government advisory boards during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim to learn lessons for future pandemic management and preparedness. METHODS: We conducted online video or telephone semi-structured interviews between December 2020 and April 2021 with 21 scientists with an official government advisory role during the COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium, the Netherlands, UK, Sweden and Germany. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed and analysed using a combination of inductive and deductive thematic analysis techniques. RESULTS: Scientists viewed the initial focus on biomedically oriented work during the pandemic as somewhat one-dimensional, but also highlighted difficulties of working in an interdisciplinary way. They found it difficult at times to ensure that the evidence is understood and taken on board by governments. They found themselves taking on new roles, the boundaries of which were not clearly defined. Consequently, they were often perceived and treated as a public figure. CONCLUSION: Scientists working on advisory boards in European countries faced similar challenges, highlighting key lessons to be learnt. Future pandemic preparedness efforts should focus on building interdisciplinary collaboration through development of scientists' skills and appropriate infrastructure; ensuring transparency in how boards operate; defining and protecting the boundaries of the scientific advisor role; and supporting scientists to inform the public in the fight against disinformation, while dealing with potential hostile reactions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Europe , Government , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
14.
BMJ Open ; 11(9): e053850, 2021 09 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1394122

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Successful implementation of asymptomatic testing programmes using lateral flow tests (LFTs) depends on several factors, including feasibility, acceptability and how people act on test results. We aimed to examine experiences of university students and staff of regular asymptomatic self-testing using LFTs, and their subsequent behaviours. DESIGN AND SETTING: A qualitative study using semistructured remote interviews and qualitative survey responses, which were analysed thematically. PARTICIPANTS: People who were participating in weekly testing feasibility study, between October 2020 and January 2021, at the University of Oxford. RESULTS: We interviewed 18 and surveyed 214 participants. Participants were motivated to regularly self-test as they wanted to know whether or not they were infected with SARS-CoV-2. Most reported that a negative test result did not change their behaviour, but it did provide them with reassurance to engage with permitted activities. In contrast, some participants reported making decisions about visiting other people because they felt reassured by a negative test result. Participants valued the training but some still doubted their ability to carry out the test. Participants were concerned about safety of attending test sites with lots of people and reported home testing was most convenient. CONCLUSIONS: Clear messages highlighting the benefits of regular testing for family, friends and society in identifying asymptomatic cases are needed. This should be coupled with transparent communication about the accuracy of LFTs and how to act on either a positive or negative result. Concerns about safety, convenience of testing and ability to do tests need to be addressed to ensure successful scaling up of asymptomatic testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Self-Testing , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Perception , SARS-CoV-2 , Students , Universities
15.
Br J Gen Pract ; 71(709): e634-e642, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1299600

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Primary care has a crucial role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as the first point of patient care and gatekeeper to secondary care. Qualitative studies exploring the experiences of healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic have mainly focused on secondary care. AIM: To gain an understanding of the experiences of European primary care professionals (PCPs) working during the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. DESIGN AND SETTING: An exploratory qualitative study, using semi-structured interviews in primary care in England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Greece, and Sweden, between April and July 2020. METHOD: Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed, and analysed using a combination of inductive and deductive thematic analysis techniques. RESULTS: Eighty interviews were conducted with PCPs. PCPs had to make their own decisions on how to rapidly transform services in relation to COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care. Despite being overwhelmed with guidance, they often lacked access to practical training. Consequently, PCPs turned to their colleagues for moral support and information to try to quickly adjust to new ways of working, including remote care, and to deal with uncertainty. CONCLUSION: PCPs rapidly transformed primary care delivery despite a number of challenges. Representation of primary care at policy level and engagement with local primary care champions are needed to facilitate easy and coordinated access to practical information on how to adapt services, ongoing training, and access to appropriate mental health support services for PCPs. Preservation of autonomy and responsiveness of primary care are critical to preserve the ability for rapid transformation in any future crisis of care delivery.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Belgium , Delivery of Health Care , England , Europe/epidemiology , Germany , Humans , Ireland , Netherlands , Poland , Primary Health Care , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2 , Sweden
16.
BMC Public Health ; 21(1): 1216, 2021 06 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1282252

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As COVID-19 death rates have risen and health-care systems have experienced increased demand, national testing strategies have come under scrutiny. Utilising qualitative interview data from a larger COVID-19 study, this paper provides insights into influences on and the enactment of national COVID-19 testing strategies for health care workers (HCWs) in English NHS settings during wave one of the COVID-19 pandemic (March-August 2020). Through the findings we aim to inform learning about COVID-19 testing policies and practices; and to inform future pandemic diagnostic preparedness. METHODS: A remote qualitative, semi-structured longitudinal interview method was employed with a purposive snowball sample of senior scientific advisors to the UK Government on COVID-19, and HCWs employed in NHS primary and secondary health care settings in England. Twenty-four interviews from 13 participants were selected from the larger project dataset using a key term search, as not all of the transcripts contained references to testing. Framework analysis was informed by the non-adoption, abandonment, scale-up, spread, and sustainability of patient-facing health and care technologies implementation framework (NASSS) and by normalisation process theory (NPT). RESULTS: Our account highlights tensions between the communication and implementation of national testing developments; scientific advisor and HCW perceptions about infectiousness; and uncertainties about the responsibility for testing and its implications at the local level. CONCLUSIONS: Consideration must be given to the implications of mass NHS staff testing, including the accuracy of information communicated to HCWs; how HCWs interpret, manage, and act on testing guidance; and the influence these have on health care organisations and services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , State Medicine , COVID-19 Testing , England , Health Personnel , Humans , Pandemics , Policy , SARS-CoV-2
17.
BMJ Open ; 11(6): e046799, 2021 06 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276961

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: There is an urgent need to idenfy treatments for COVID-19 that reduce illness duration and hospital admission in those at higher risk of a longer illness course and complications. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The Platform Randomised trial of INterventions against COVID-19 In older peoPLE trial is an open-label, multiarm, prospective, adaptive platform, randomised clinical trial to evaluate potential treatments for COVID-19 in the community. A master protocol governs the addition of new interventions as they become available, as well as the inclusion and cessation of existing intervention arms via frequent interim analyses. The first three interventions are hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and doxycycline. Eligible participants must be symptomatic in the community with possible or confirmed COVID-19 that started in the preceding 14 days and either (1) aged 65 years and over or (2) aged 50-64 years with comorbidities. Recruitment is through general practice, health service helplines, COVID-19 'hot hubs' and directly through the trial website. Participants are randomised to receive either usual care or a study drug plus usual care, and outcomes are collected via daily online symptom diary for 28 days from randomisation. The research team contacts participants and/or their study partner following days 7, 14 and 28 if the online diary is not completed. The trial has two coprimary endpoints: time to first self-report of feeling recovered from possible COVID-19 and hospital admission or death from possible COVID-19 infection, both within 28 days from randomisation. Prespecified interim analyses assess efficacy or futility of interventions and to modify randomisation probabilities that allocate more participants to interventions with better outcomes. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval Ref: 20/SC/0158 South Central - Berkshire Research Ethics Committee; IRAS Project ID: 281958; EudraCT Number: 2020-001209-22. Results will be presented to policymakers and at conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN86534580.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine , Prospective Studies , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Treatment Outcome
19.
PLoS One ; 16(3): e0249391, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1167114

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Households are important sites for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and preventive measures are recommended. This study aimed to 1) investigate the impact of living with a person infected with SARS-CoV-2; 2) understand how household members implemented infection control recommendations in their home; and 3) identify the information and support needs of household members. METHODS: For this observational mixed-methods study, households with a person with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were recruited via drive-through testing sites of Municipal Health Services, healthcare worker screening or hospital emergency visits in the University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands and via primary care physicians, hospital emergency visits or preoperative screening in the University Hospital of Antwerp, Belgium. We recorded household characteristics, including characteristics of all household members, together with their views on prevention measures. In a subset of households one adult household member was asked to participate in an interview investigating their views on preventive measures. Survey data were analysed using descriptive statistics and interview data by rapid framework analysis. A triangulation protocol was used to integrate findings. RESULTS: Thirty-four households (120 household members) were included in the quantitative survey. Twenty-two households were invited to be interviewed, of which 18 completed an interview (response 81.8%). Survey data showed that almost all households implemented some preventive measures, the use of face masks being least frequently reported. Measures taken depended on what was physically possible, the perceived severity of illness of the index patient and to what extent household members were willing to limit social interaction. Respondents did not believe in the effectiveness of wearing face masks within the house, and from the interviews this was explained by media coverage of face masks, impracticality and the stigma associated with wearing masks. Interviewees reported that quarantine had a high emotional burden and wished to have more information about the exact duration of quarantine, their own COVID-19 status, symptoms and when to seek medical help. CONCLUSION: People were willing to implement prevention measures, however actual adherence depended on perceived severity of illness and the perceived risk of becoming infected. Homes are social environments and recommendations for infection prevention should account for this context. Incorporating our findings into policy making could provide households with more relevant and actionable advice.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Housing , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Masks , Middle Aged , Quarantine , Young Adult
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