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RCGP releases Ebola guidance

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A 'common-sense' guide to managing suspected cases of Ebola in primary care has been released by the RCGP.

The guidance , which contains advice for all primary care staff, from clinical professionals to receptionists, has been created to address the mounting anxiety over the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, and the possibility of it reaching the UK.

The guidance for practice nurses details a step-by-step procedure to undertake if a patient presents in general practice with a suspected case of Ebola. The advice recommends the nurse starts by assessing the patient's history of exposure risk and fever, while taking care to avoid physical contact with them if they merit further assessment. They should also consider restricting further clinical contacts with other patients until the assessment process has determined if further tests to exclude Ebola are required, as well as seeking guidance from the local Health Protection Team if required.

The RCN has also released similar guidance, with their infection prevention and control nurse advisor Rose Gallagher saying: 'We know that patients do present in many settings, not just hospitals, having potentially been exposed to viral haemorrhagic fevers. There is a possibility that a practice nurse could see a patient with the symptoms. However, we don't expect practice nurses to be anymore at risk than any other healthcare worker.'

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: 'The threat of Ebola to the UK remains low but GPs and practice staff are on the front line of dealing with contagious diseases and they need to be fully aware of what steps to take in order to protect patients and themselves, should an incident or potential incident arise.'

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