I guess it was inevitable really – the Coronavirus paranoia (or Coronavirunoia) is setting in!

I called my local GP today to get an appointment for my son…


Me: Please can I have an appointment for my son?

GP surgery: Yes, no probs. What’s the problem?

Me: He’s had a fever for three days, and has some pus on swollen tonsils.

GP surgery: Yep, we can fit you in this morning. Oh, wait, have you travelled overseas recently?

Me: Yes, we were in Austria last week. Good job it’s not one of the coronavirus risk countries!

GP surgery: Right. Please hang up immediately and dial 111 [the phone service that is handling all calls from the community related to ? Coronavirus, amongst other things].

Me: Why? Austria isn’t one of the risk countries! And he doesn’t have symptoms consistent with coronavirus!

GP surgery: Sorry, we can’t give you an appointment; you need to dial 111.

Me: JUST GIVE ME AN APPOINTMENT RIGHT NOW. [Ok, this last bit is made up – but the rest is verbatim – and it’s how I felt!]


So, I dialled 111, waited for an hour on hold, and eventually got directed back to the GP for an appointment.

I am grateful that we have a connected national health service in the UK, which has mounted an impressive and rapid response to the coronavirus outbreak. And I recognise that things are moving very quickly so education is bound to lag behind. But I worry that access to primary care may be interrupted for those who need it if coronavirunoia runs unchecked. We all have a role to play in making sure that doesn’t happen.

3 thoughts on “Coronavirunoia

  1. Health care workers all over the world (not only in China), France, Italy etc…pay the higher tribute to the virus. You cannott blame them to be anxious.


    • I agree with you. I don’t blame anybody for being anxious about this situation – I certainly am! But at the same time, we need to make sure that our clinical practices are proportionate and informed by the best evidence.


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