#Healthheroes - Lincolnshire hospital orthopaedic consultants offer free ‘virtual injury clinic’ to help people keep away from A&E during coronavirus pandemic

A group of NHS consultants working in Lincolnshire hospitals have got together to launch their own free ‘virtual injury clinic’ to offer an alternative to patients nervous about visiting A&E at this present time due to coronavirus pressures and anxieties.

MSK Doctors, a private practice run by medical professionals who still work for the NHS in their ‘day jobs’, has just launched a free ‘virtual’ consultation service on offer during the covid-19 pandemic.

MSK Doctors specialise in non-surgical management of joint and muscle pain. They treat musculoskeletal conditions and deliver non-invasive outpatient treatments without the need for a stay in hospital.

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Set up over a year ago by a trio of experienced orthopaedic consultants - Paul Lee, Alun Yewlett and Mohammad Maqsood - they have now been joined by a range of other orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists who work within the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.

The virtual injury clinic website run by MSK Doctors. EMN-200204-174806001

Mr Yewlett explained they now wanted to offer the option for patients uneasy about exposing themselves to infection at the current time or clogging up A&E beds unnecessarily, although keen to get some answers about their conditions. He said: “We have done this to help the NHS through our private practice group.

“The initial consultations are free which is the most expensive part of the patient’s journey as consultant time is at a premium.

“As a group we don’t financially profit from this, but it was intended as an altruistic gesture to help our local communities and to help decompress our NHS A&E services where possible.

“We think that exposing these patients to the possible risks of catching Covid-19 in hospital when going to see a clinician or physio for simple bracing, when appropriate, is not ethically right.”

Alun Yewlett of MSK Doctors, offering free clinics online for patients with musculoskeletal problems wanting advice and to avoid pressure on A&E. EMN-200204-174817001

Mr Yewlett said it is ideal for the many sprains, strains and muscle pulls people experience, but not broken bones: “A lot of patients will just want reassurance and some information and we know from internal audits that around 60 per cent of all musculoskeletal attendances at A&E or first contact physiotherapists don’t need any further treatment when triaged by a consultant directly.

“Some patients may still need to be seen by conventional A and E services if their history means they can’t be dealt with in the community, in which case they haven’t lost out on anything, but hopefully a significant proportion can be managed away from hospital. We know that early consultant decision making reduces unnecessary attendances compared to junior non specialist doctors.

“The commercial side of it is if someone might need a splint or a brace then we are willing to offer to provide that to patients at cost and we would arrange for them to be delivered to them.“

They can also put you in touch with a physiotherapist if necessary, but there is no obligation to take this up.

Mr Yewlett said he had taken part in virtual clinics at three other hospital trusts he had worked at in the past and said that ULHT have since set up something similar in light of the pandemic concerns for social distancing and to keep queues out of the hospitals. However in the MSK Doctors service there will be no delay of patients’ notes being passed around from department to department and you would not need to visit A&E.

The experts are taking turns to offer their clinics between 6pm and 7pm on week days, to work around their NHS commitments, although with most elective appointments shelved until after the epidemic, the surgeons say they are still waiting to be called up to help with the expected surge of virus patients.

There are four slots per day and all you need is a mobile phone or other device with a camera and internet access to communicate and demonstrate your symptoms. Slots will be allocated on a “first come, first serve” basis.

What you will need and things that might help:

1) Access to the internet

2) Camera, speaker & microphone either through a smartphone or computer

3) A tape measure

4) A felt tip pen

Optional extras that might help to make consultations easier.

5) Headphones with mic

6) Good lighting

7) X-rays, Scans

8) List of medications

9) Past Medical History

Go to: https://mskdoctors.com/virtual-injury-clinic/ to find out more or book an appointment.

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