OPEN LETTER TO PATIENTS
LMC Update - extract from BMA letter 23.4.2021
GP appointment figures and workload pressures
The latest GP appointment figures in England were published yesterday which show that practices delivered almost 5 million more appointments in March than they did the month before, and nearly 3 million more than they did in the same month two years ago, long before the onset of the pandemic.
These figures underline the immense efforts that practices are going to providing care to their communities and the intense workload pressures that staff are under as we continue to respond to the pandemic alongside patients’ wider health needs.
GPs and their teams are consistently telling us they’re busier now than they have ever been, and this data – which does not include a large proportion of the vaccine programme undertaken by practices, nor a vast amount of other daily tasks – backs this up.
Every day, more than a million patients in England had an appointment with their practices, whether this was the significant proportion seen face-to-face, on the phone, or via video call. With too few GPs and practice nurses, and a promise in 2015 of 5,000 extra family doctors within five years
actually delivering a loss of almost 1,500 by September last year, individual doctors are taking on more and more as demand rises and the workforce diminishes.
So for GPs and many others in practices working 11 or 12-hour days, often leading heroic efforts to protect as many people as possible in their communities against a disease that has had such a devastating impact on all of us, it is heart-breaking and completely demoralising to hear accusations that general practice is not open and that patients are not being seen.
This narrative, categorically proven wrong by this data, is extremely damaging at a time when morale is already reaching rock bottom and many GPs, practice managers and others practice staff are reaching breaking point. With the ongoing use of telephone triage advised by NHSE/I , changes put
in place for the protection of staff and patients alike due to the limits of the size of most practice reception areas - general practice is open, and staff need support, patience and understanding as they work harder than ever before.
Chair, BMA GPs committee
GP surgeries are currently receiving a lot of criticism regarding access. Between 1.4.2021 - 28.4.2021 we had 523 appointments wasted because patients failed to attend to see a clinician here. If you are unable to keep your appointment, or no longer need it, please let us know as someone else will be only too happy to use it. Thank you.
You are now able to book your blood tests on line for Princess Alexandra Hospital. Please go to Option 4 on the side bar - Online Services.
MORE OF OUR COVID INFORMATION IS NOW ON A SEPARATE PAGE.
See side-bar for more details
Our doors are open – However you still must follow social distancing rules when coming to see us, therefore please ensure that you do the following;
• We only have limited space for patients to wait socially distanced in our waiting room. Please follow the guidance of our staff. At busy times you may be asked to wait outside, where the clinician will still call you.
• Attend your appointment alone if possible and just before your appointment time to limit the wait you have at the practice
• Wear a face covering
• Follow social distancing on the way to and whilst visiting the practice
• Ensure you follow any advice as displayed on posters or advised by our staff
• Use hand sanitiser on entry to the practice – automatic machine available in the entrance
• Try to use the toilet and wash your hands before leaving home – limited toilet facilities available
• Please do not attend if you or any member of your household have any symptoms of Covid-19
We also want to assure you we are doing everything we can to protect our staff during this period. More specifically:
We have carried out a risk assessment our main actions are to ensure the safety of our staff and patients. Some of the things we have put in place are listed above for changes to patients entering the practice and the service we offer. We have also risk assessed our staff members following latest guidance and advice.
We already had a triage system (patient first) which we are able to continue using to speak to patients before they attend to ensure they do not have symptoms before being seen for treatments and continued care
We will see patients when necessary after triage and we follow guidelines with appropriate PPE
We have adopted video consultations where needed to reduce face to face contact
We follow Government and NHS advice and guidance and keep our staff updated With this - specifically adherence to social distancing, frequent hand washing, hand sanitiser readily available and sneeze screens up in reception.
We ensure that there is regular cleaning of frequently used areas and all staff have refreshed their infection control training
We have wall mounted hand sanitising stations throughout the Practice to facilitate staff and patients with keeping hands sanitised
We are OPEN, and very still busy!
We are fully aware of the many stories in the national press about GP surgeries not being open. We also understand that we all want things to go back to how they were before the pandemic, and that the initial support for the NHS, which was strong at the start of the pandemic, is wearing thin. Please know that we are doing the best that we can for our patients.
We cannot comment on what other surgeries are doing – but want to re-assure you that we are OPEN!
All GP appointment requests must still be first triaged over the phone, and if you cannot be safely managed over the phone or video consultation, we will arrange for a face to face appointment for you.
Workload 1..1.2021 - 31.3.2021
F2F Consultations 4710
Video Consultations 198
Telephone Consultations 4829
Home Visits 80
PHCT MDT Patients Discussed 271
Urgent Cancer Referrals 143
(Site updated 05/05/2021)