The World Health Organization has recently declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic, meaning it has now spread around the world beyond expectations. According to the WHO, more than 132,500 people have been diagnosed in 123 countries around the world – and Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic. It’s certainly a stressful time, but these tips and precautions can help keep you, your family and the people around you safe.

Wash your hands thoroughly and often

This is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from the virus.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – especially after being out in public or touching a common surface that may have been touched by others, or after sneezing, blowing your nose or coughing.

If you can’t get to a sink, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content, making sure you cover all surfaces of your hands.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people

When you go out in public, keep a safe distance between yourself and other people, especially those who are unwell.

This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick, which includes older adults and those who have serious chronic medical conditions. Similarly, avoid large crowds and non-essential travel (especially cruise and plane trips).

Stay home if you’re unwell

New government guidelines advise that you stay at home for 7 days if you have either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.

If you feel you are developing COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath, stay at home and call your doctor. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You should also try to stay away from older people and those with long-term health conditions, as they are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Additionally, make sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) at the ready to help treat fever and other symptoms.

Enlist the help of friends, family and delivery services to deliver things you need such as food shopping and medicines.

Lastly, make sure to drink plenty of water every day.

Remember, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

If you are at higher risk for serious illness because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is especially important that you take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick.

Make sure to take everyday precautions, such as covering your mouth and nose with a tissue (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze, bin used tissues straight away, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily such as doorknobs, handles, keyboards, and phones.

What to do if you get sick

If you fall mildly ill with COVID-19, you should self-isolate at home as most people will be able to recover this way. This means you should restrict all outdoor activities, unless you are in need of medical care – don’t go to work, school, and avoid public transportation.

Call your doctor straight away to discuss your symptoms, but do not visit the GP, pharmacy or hospital in person.

If your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, if your conditions worsens, or if you feel you are unable to cope with your symptoms at home, use the 111 coronavirus service.


What is the coronavirus and is it new?

According to the WHO, coronaviruses make up a large family of viruses that are transmitted between animals and people. These viruses can cause mild to moderate respiratory diseases like the common cold as well as more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

There are other examples of coronaviruses that have caused devastating severe symptoms around the world previously, such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic in China.

What we are currently hearing about is a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. Originating in Wuhan, China, the new coronavirus had not previously been detected before December 2019. It has since been spreading around the world by international travellers, including in parts of Europe.

The new 2019-nCoV belongs to the same family of viruses as SARS-CoV, but it is a different strain of the virus.

What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?

Like with other respiratory illnesses, the new coronavirus can cause mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. The main symptoms also include a high temperature and shortness of breath.

It can, however, prove more severe for some people, in some cases leading to pneumonia and breathing difficulties. It is in more rare situations that the virus can also be fatal. Those with pre-existing conditions or who are older seem to be more vulnerable to the more severe symptoms, with recovery in most cases depending on the strength of their immune system.

Currently, there are no vaccines for the new coronavirus and antibiotics cannot be used to treat it.

How, then, can we protect ourselves?

The new virus can be transmitted from human to human, usually following close contact with someone who is infected.

We don’t yet know just how dangerous it is, but though there is currently no vaccine, there are things you can do to help prevent it from spreading, such as:

  • Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Bin used tissues straight away!
  • Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water often, or use hand sanitiser gel
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Scientists are still trying to understand how contagious the virus is and how exactly it spreads, so in the absence of a current cure and more substantial data it’s important to follow these simple steps to give yourself as much protection as you can!


As Britain prepares itself for more scorching weather this week, winter is sure to be the furthest thing away from anyone’s mind. While you’re most likely to be focusing on how to cope with the impending heatwave, there is every possibility that you are probably not quite thinking about flu season just yet. But did you know that outbreaks can happen as early as October?

Failure to protect your workforce from flu can result in absenteeism, missed deadlines and reduced productivity. Flu can spread rapidly through workplaces, so as part of your contingency planning this year, find out how you can get ahead of the game and protect your business simply by keeping your employees’ health and wellbeing in sight before winter strikes.

Your best defence against the flu

Influenza, more commonly known as flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause symptoms including fever, coughing, sore throat, chills, body aches, and fatigue. These symptoms tend to come on abruptly, and those with the virus are likely to be contagious before symptoms even show. Flu viruses travel through the air in droplets via coughs and sneezes and can spread rapidly in workplaces.

Influenza viruses are constantly changing, meaning that an annual flu vaccination is your best defence against the illness.
In the workplace, flu vaccinations are the most cost-effective method of protecting your staff and business from the annual onset of flu.

Make your employees’ health a priority

Employee health and wellbeing is vital for a successful company. It ensures that your staff remain engaged, which has a positive effect on productivity.

Many employees, however, feel pressure to return to work before they have fully recovered from illness. This leads to tired, run-down members of staff who are unable to perform at their best. Corporate flu vaccination programmes resolve this issue at its source, by preventing an employee from falling ill in the first place.

Protect your company from disruption

Workplace flu jabs help to reduce absence and can help to protect against significant disruption to your company and services.

It can take between one to two weeks for someone to fully recover from the flu. While for wholly valid reasons, this results in employees needing to take days off from work, which could cost your business between £875-£1,751 per employee.
Personnel Today suggests that, in the UK, widespread adoption of flu vaccination could save “up to £28.9 million in averted sick day costs”.

A pain-free process

While the pain of vaccines can cause all sorts of fears and anxieties, arranging to have your staff vaccinated is a simple, easy process. Not only does it help to protect your business, reduce absence at work and increase employee health and wellbeing, but the process itself is relatively pain-free.

At Doctorcall, we offer cost-effective flu jabs for businesses of all sizes.

Company flu vaccinations are carried out by our highly experienced nurses, who can attend your workplace to vaccinate your staff at a time that suits you, 7 days a week, at any time of day.

We are also proud to have invented the system of flu vouchers, which ensures that staff who are unable to attend a vaccination day in the office are equipped with a voucher that can be redeemed at any participating retailers who provide flu vaccinations.

Get ahead of the game

Doctorcall is proud to have pioneered retailer flu vaccinations in the UK and offers workplace flu vaccination programmes for companies nationwide including Northern Ireland. As well as on-site vaccinations, we offer vouchers for staff who are unable to attend. 

We start vaccinating in the autumn and are now taking bookings for Winter 2019 workplace flu vaccinations.
The infectious nature of the flu means that employees who get it are encouraged to stay at home to rest and recuperate, and to protect their co-workers. Vaccines are the best defence we have against the flu. Winter may be far away, but employee health and wellbeing should never be far from sight.

If you want to help protect your employees’ health and wellbeing this winter, find out how you can benefit from our workplace flu vaccination programme.

For more information, visit or contact us on 0344 257 00644.


The heart is an amazing organ. Roughly the size of a fist, it can continue beating even when it’s disconnected from the body. Like all major organs of the body, the heart is susceptible to complications such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) caused by a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries (atheroma). This month Chief Executive of Doctorcall, Dr Charles Levinson, explains why a difference in hormonal balance means men are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease than women and names some simple lifestyle shifts anyone can do to protect their heart.

Can you explain what is cardiovascular disease (CVD)?

CVD is a general term for all conditions affecting the heart and circulatory system such as coronary heart disease (the most common type), stroke, heart attack, angina and aortic disease. There are a number of problems that can arise including clogging up arteries with cholesterol, calcification and loss of elasticity. Although we worry particularly about the coronary arteries because they are essential for life, damage to other arteries can be equally important.


What are some causes of CVD?

Cardiovascular disease is caused by a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries, leading to reduced blood supply to end organs and a compensatory increase in blood pressure which, along with the stiffening of artery walls can also lead to a risk of internal haemorrhage. Increasingly, it’s believed that Vitamin D deficiency can also be implicated in cardiovascular disease. You can check for this using a simple test. Doctorcall provides a Vitamin D home testing kit,which is easy to use and enables you to test your Vitamin D count in the comfort of your home. 


What are the leading factors of cardiovascular disease?

There are many risk factors that increase your chances of developing CVD, including things that can be changed (modifiable), and things we can’t control. The leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease are age, gender, and family history (non-modifiable), and those that can be controlled through lifestyle and behaviour, such as smoking, exercise and cholesterol-rich diets. A healthy lifestyle is generally recommended for those with a genetic predisposition to the condition.


Is CVD more prevalent in men than women?

Men are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease than women and this appears to be due to a different hormonal balance, as men have less oestrogen and more testosterone. Women tend to develop CVD at an older age than men, thought to be linked to the hormonal changes that follow menopause, where oestrogen levels fall. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which treats symptoms of menopause, has been shown to slightly reduce CVD risk in women, suggesting it has a cardio-protective effect and that both hormones are likely to be relevant. There is a new trend for male HRT as many men experience a significant drop in testosterone in middle age, but it is not yet known whether male HRT may increase the risk of CVD. Lifestyle choices also come into play, with higher proportions of male to female smokers in the UK, and statistics showing that men are more likely to be overweight or obese than women, another leading risk factor of CVD.


We all know about shooting pains in the left arm, chest pain, and breathlessness but what are some of the hidden indicators or heart issues?

The classic symptoms of angina or a heart attack are a dull pressure in the chest, which tends to be on the left and radiates into the neck and left arm. Some of the other warning signs to look out for include: 


·     Swelling of the ankles during the day into which a thumb print can be left. This means the heart is failing to pump properly and is an important sign that things are going wrong.


·     Obesity, smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise always mean the person is at risk of CVD at a much younger age.


·     It is important to have simple screening tests, of which the main ones are a urine dipstick for protein levels, a blood pressure check and a cholesterol check which can be done with a drop of blood on a reagent strip. Anything picked up here will have life-changing consequences.



What lifestyle shifts can someone make to protect their heart?

There are lots of things you can do but some are not that easy! 


·     Smoking: Stop smoking (the first big win)

·     Maintain a healthy BMI: It is easy to look up your optimum weight by using Google or asking a doctor

·     Regular exercise, regardless of weight: This does not necessitate going to a gym. Walking regularly, getting a cycling machine at home to use for 20 minutes three times a week, or any number of routines can help

·     Diet: Animal fats are rich in cholesterol, which is found in meat fat, egg yolks, dairy cream and cheese. Too much cholesterol leads to build-up in your arteries, so you need to be aware of your intake

·     Health checks: It is important to have BMI, cholesterol and blood pressure tests from time to time. Simple screening tests such as a urine dipstick for protein levels can help


At Doctorcall we believe that prevention is better than cure and as well as home testing kits,we also offer private health checks in our London and Manchester clinics.  It is important to check for warning-signs, and anything picked up here will have life-changing consequences.


To find out more or to book a health check you can book online to get 10% off the cost of the appointment. Alternatively, call us on 0344 257 0346.

Unlimited GP visits from only 38p per day

Short-term sickness absence whilst waiting for a GP appointment, and time out of work to attend an appointment near the employee’s home, represent the main causes of unplanned absence and the Doctorcall GP scheme is designed to target this.

It is highly valued by employees, and especially by a young workforce who are often less interested in PMI. Because it’s free at the point of delivery and there’s no delay pending company approval, concerns around confidentiality are alleviated and utilisation is improved meaning that illness is more likely to be dealt with at an early stage.

For more information on this and other services call us on 0207 535 1803.
Doctorcall is an approved provider of medical assessments required by the Oil & Gas industry to ensure an individual’s fitness to work within a specialist working environment. A comprehensive range of standard testing is available. We can also provide additional testing if required. Medical assessments are available at a variety of clinic locations, and often at short notice.

Doctorcall’s range of medical assessments includes:

  • OGUK Offshore Medicals (formerly known as UKOOA)
  • Norwegian Medical
  • Netherlands Medical
  • ERT Medical
  • Crane Operators Medicals
  • Climbers Medicals
  • Confined Space Medicals
  • Medicals for various countries
Once completed, results are generally available within an hour and can be sent by email or fax to any location. We also provide relevant travel medicals and vaccinations and advice for personnel working overseas in countries around the world.

To arrange a visit, contact us:

0844 257 9510