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Service Update for Patients Posted on 30 Sep 2021

We know everyone has had a difficult year, and we are keen to give you some information about the service, we are doing absolute best to provide.

As ever, it is the aim of the practice staff, many of whom have been with us for a long time, to provide the best GP practice we possibly can regardless of circumstances.

Current Working

  • The practice has never closed and never stopped seeing patients for face to face appointments.   We are following national guidance for when you have a medical need by booking you in for a telephone consultation, following a risk assessment, the Clinician will then ask you to attend the surgery if you cannot be dealt with over the telephone.
  • Some services have been suspended or limited as per national guidance these include Minor Surgery and Travel vaccinations, please be assured we are reviewing this regularly and have plans in place for these to be re-introduced once it is safe to do so!

Service Issues

We understand your frustrations regarding the changes in the way we work over the last year and the ways your GP contact has changed.  There are various reasons for this:

  • The pandemic
  • The pandemic has impacted on our service capacity – we have had absent staff or staff working from home due to shielding, isolation, quarantining or illness.  Our resources are finite!
  • The Covid vaccination programme
  • The practice must provide staff to the Covid vaccination Hub meaning our staff are working extra hours and bank holidays, often on top of their normal roles.  We are given very little notice of the vaccine deliveries and because of this we must reprioritise our workload to allocate those staff.
  • The practice has had to telephone thousands of patients to book them for their Covid vaccines, and now for their second vaccines, we have had lots of queries to deal with either at the desk, by telephone, by email or online services, we have been overwhelmed.  
  • The telephone system - We know that you can wait a long time in the queue or that often you simply receive an engaged tone. The usage of the telephone system has increased remarkably over the last twelve months, mainly due to the pandemic and there are only so many phone lines available.  Please be assured we have the maximum number of staff answering the phones.

How you can HELP us and other patients

  • Remember about self-care – Often minor illnesses can be effectively and safely treated with over-the-counter measures from the pharmacy.
  • Care Navigation – Our reception staff will ask questions regarding appointments to ensure you are seen by the right person.
  • Only contacting us if you need to – have a look on our website, the government or NHS websites – often we cannot answer the questions you have about NHS Apps; the vaccination programme, guidance on shielding or the rules related to lockdown but these websites can.
  • If your query is relating to a hospital / secondary care encounter, can the hospital help rather than the practice?  You should contact the hospital regarding results from tests that they have requested.

Zero Tolerance

  • Be kind to our staff – we understand that you get frustrated when things are not working as effectively as you would like because we do too! Our staff have all worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic and we would like to thank those who have sent messages of thanks and support, this is appreciated.  However, they do not deserve to be spoken to in the way some patients speak to them.

Thank you for bearing with us and taking the time to read this.

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