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We’re still here and we want to help: Manchester medic’s plea to the people of Manchester

Dr Manisha Kumar is Medical Director of Manchester Health and Care Commissioning, which is a partnership with Manchester City Council.

She also has a responsibility for the primary care offer in Manchester as well as being a working GP in the student area of Rusholme. Here, she reminds people that GP practices have not only been open throughout the pandemic – but how doctors want to do all they can to protect and support those who feel more vulnerable.  

She also discusses the need for students to register with a GP, why flu vaccines are even more important this year and the role that ethnicity plays in the effects of Covid. And her Twitter bio sums up her approach: ‘GP by choice, not chance’.  

Dr Kumar said: 
“As GPs, our message is exactly the same as hospital and public health colleagues – it’s all about how we keep people safe in the second wave of Coronavirus,” she says.  

“Our message from primary care is this: we are open and have been since the start of the pandemic. We are still here. We may have changed and adapted how we deliver services, but we are there on the phone, or video calls, and if you need to be seen face-to-face you will be.  
“In particular,  we have started to see more cases of anxiety or depression from people who feel more vulnerable through Covid. And this pattern, along with what we know from the first wave around who is most at risk, is vital to informing how we react now.   

“We want to help people manage that risk and have those ongoing discussions to help.  
“Right now, our stance has to be one of protection. It’s essential that we don’t risk a double hit of flu and Covid. That’s why we are doing so much proactive work with people with long-term health conditions, to make sure they can get their medicines and flu jabs.  
“Students, too, need our care and this year we have found that the move to more digital consultations has seen fewer students register with general practice. We urge students to register – it’s so hard to access care in a new city if you aren't registered. It also means we can support through different ways, like through texts, with information about what is in the city to improve health and wellbeing. 

“This next phase is one we all need to help with. In the first wave more than 22,000 people in our city had to shield -and we are still seeing the impact of that, with many not back in society the way that we would want them to be. Some people still feel very vulnerable for a whole host of reasons. 
“Within that we need to bring in ethnicity - and again, focus on what we learned during the first wave so that all our communities are protected through our combined actions.   
“We all have a role to play and as GPs we will- and want - to continue to fulfil ours by being with our patients on every step of the journey throughout this disease.”  

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