COVID-19: Staying safe with remote consultations

Léa Surugue looks at how to carry out effective virtual consultations in a time of social distancing and discusses the clinical and legal pitfalls.

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As of 26 April, more than 152,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the UK, and more than 20,000 have died (Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, 2020). This pandemic has profoundly hampered patients’ ability to access primary healthcare services for medical issues. Social distancing measures have made it difficult for optometrists to carry on their activities. 

Virtual consultations offer an alternative when patients need attention but are not able to come into the practice, allowing optometrists to address non-urgent needs and to potentially identify emergencies that they will have to see or to redirect to the hospital. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the College has issued clear guidelines to help optometrists set up safe and effective remote telephone and video consultations for their patients (COptom, 2020a).

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