We understand that the changes to our way of working made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it confusing as to how to best access the practice.
We intend to maintain our current approach, which is to offer a range of appointments – face to face, telephone, online – to ensure that the right problems receive the right sort of help at the right time.
Although we would encourage all our patients to access the practice online or by phone, reception remains open for those who can’t, as it has throughout the last year.
We hope that you have found our online access service useful over the last year, and we are constantly trying to improve for the benefit of our patients and clinical team alike.
We would encourage you to think of the online system as a way of helping us to help you solve simple problems that can be managed with practical advice; such as skin problems, simple medication queries, and advice for self-limiting conditions.
It is also the best way to help us decide at first contact what type of appointment you need and who with.
However, as we are sure you can appreciate, more complicated problems will require full discussion and likely an appointment, but where possible we will provide advice to help you whilst you wait to speak to a doctor or nurse.
In order to help you get the best out of the system, we have put together the following pointers:
- Give us enough information to help us give you a good answer – if we can answer your query directly online, then we will do our best to do so, or advise you of an appropriate course of action, like a visit to the chemist or an online resource. We make use of template responses to simple conditions and would encourage you to follow the advice within before contacting the practice again for help.
- We do not offer a ‘chat’ service – we are sure you appreciate that it is neither safe or feasible for the clinicians to enter into long discussions with individual patients. For that reason, if your problem cannot be dealt with immediately online with advice, we will contact you to book an appointment to discuss.
- Using the online service is not a short cut into the appointment system – we have to be fair to all of our patients, including those who cannot access the practice online, so if the doctors decide that your problem is suitable for a routine appointment, then you will be offered one in accordance with current waiting times.
- Please use the right form for the right query – there are separate forms to request prescriptions, sick notes, and questions for the administrative team. If you choose the wrong form, we will kindly ask you to use the right one, in order to help our processing.
What’s the best way to get help for my problem?
We must stress at this point that we are – and always have been – seeing patients face to face, and, in contrast to many practices, our doors have remained physically open throughout the pandemic.
We are still running the on-the-day telephone triage service with slots available to speak to a GP.
If you are housebound and think you need a home visit
- Please call us before 10:00 so that we can plan our visit list. Home visits can only be undertaken after the end of morning clinic (12:00) and before the start of afternoon clinic (15:00).
- Please be aware that home visits are only for patients who are truly housebound, and by that we mean they cannot leave the house without ambulance support.
If you believe your problem is urgent for the day please make contact as early as possible. The best ways of getting help are:
- Call reception and give our admin staff as much information as you can about the problem. A GP will then decide from the information if it is urgent for that day or can be booked in for a routine appointment.
If you require a routine appointment then the best ways of doing this are:
- Call and speak to reception who will be able to book you in – please note only our afternoon clinics are pre bookable. The morning slots are on the day calls.
Like all practices at the moment, we are currently incredibly busy and our wait for a routine appointment is longer than usual.
If you feel that your problem really cannot wait, or has changed, then we would encourage you to submit details about it through the website, so that the doctors can review the information provided and perhaps offer some advice whilst you wait.
Please note that this does not mean that we will be able to bring your appointment forward, only that it gives the doctors opportunity to offer help in the meantime.
What do I do if my chronic condition is due a review?
If you have a chronic condition – and by this we mean Asthma, COPD, Diabetes, Hypertension (high blood pressure), Heart disease, Heart failure or Vascular disease – then we contact you to arrange a review appointment with the Nurse. It is very important that we are able to reach you for review, now more than ever, as we try our best to reach people that we have not been able to catch up with in the last year.
That means that, this year (2021), you may get called earlier than you expect as we try to realign our system.
We would always encourage our patients to take responsibility for and control for the management of their own conditions.
Therefore, we would be very grateful if anyone with a chronic disease might contact us – either by phone or using the Chronic Disease Review form on the website – to book in for review with the Nurse.
Can you help me with my hospital appointment?
For a number of reasons – not least the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – hospital waiting lists are extremely long, and this is unlikely to change any time soon. As frustrating as it is, practices have absolutely no control over this, and everybody is in the same situation.
Our only advice regarding hospital appointments is to contact the Integrated Care Gateway which deals with all hospital referrals. We do not have any different ways of contacting hospital clinics other than via the Integrated Care Gateway. Our secretaries are also very busy, and we would kindly ask you to contact the Gateway or clinic’s secretary to follow up on your appointment.
We hear sometimes from patients that hospital secretaries ask them to get the GP to write to the clinic again to ‘bump up’ their letter. We know that in practice that this just puts pressure on our hospital colleagues who cannot do anything about the situation.
However, if you feel your condition has deteriorated, then do contact us, and we will do our best to try and help.
We would like to thank you for your ongoing support and patience in what is an incredibly busy time for us.