We’d like to start by saying a big thank you to all of you for the ways in which you’ve pulled together during the pandemic, adhering to government guidelines, adapting to our newer ways of working and using NHS resources appropriately. This has been a difficult time for us all and it’s only by coming together as a community that we’re in a position now to start to imagine life after COVID-19.
As the UK starts to ‘reopen’ and life slowly begins to resemble something more familiar, Greensands Medical Practice, and other GP surgeries up and down the country, find themselves facing a new challenge; general practice is busier and working harder than ever before. GP practices in England are delivering around 1 million more appointments per week than before the pandemic and consulting with 10% of the population each week. On top of this, clinical admin work was 34% higher at the beginning of 2021 compared to the same time period last year. We’re doing our absolute best to meet the rising needs of our community, prioritising those most in need, but we need your ongoing support to enable us to do this effectively.
On a daily basis we’re asked, “when will you open again?” and “when will you start seeing patients face-to-face again?” These questions are demoralising when the truth of the matter is we’ve been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic in line with NHS and government guidelines, providing face-to-face consultations to all of our patients where clinically appropriate. However, the ‘traditional’ model of general practice – by that we mean the way you were used to accessing your GP before the pandemic – is no longer fit for purpose and this has been the case for a number of years now. Simply reverting back to the ‘status quo’ will only mean longer waits to a see a GP and nobody wants that. Instead, we’re working hard as a team to develop a system which will improve access to a GP for those who really need it. Changes like this take time and we want to get it right so please be patient and keep an eye out for further updates.
We’ve said already that we’re not alone in this; we need your support too. So how can you help us?
- Please use the internet where possible to free up the phone lines for those who need them most and to avoid long waits on hold. You can do most things online now, such as book appointments, view test results, order medication, request a sick note and chase up a referral. You can register for online services via our website.
- Think of using the following before requesting a consultation with a doctor or a nurse. You can get quick access to advice and treatment from your local pharmacist. The NHS website has information on treating lots of common ailments and conditions yourself, and you can telephone 111 for same day advice too. This helps us to make sure we’re available for the patients who need us the most.
- Order your medication in plenty of time as it can take up to three working days to process your request at the current time. The quickest way to order your medication is online.
- And finally, please bear with us and, most importantly, be kind. Stood in front of you, on the other end of the phone or on the receiving end of your letter or email is a human being who, like you, has had a very difficult year and is working hard to do their best for you under very challenging circumstances.
This is a marathon, not a sprint. Let’s take this next step safely, and together.
Thank you for your consideration and continuing support.
The Partners and team at Greensands Medical Practice