An Updated View From the Practice

Posted by: nikkisilcox - Posted on:


Covid restrictions have lifted. For some there is a sense of relief, others may still be wary. 

Here at the health centre all staff are still wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and we would ask that if you are attending the centre for an appointment that you continue to wear a face covering if you are able.

The front doors are open, but access is requested via an intercom.  We are not booking on the day appointments at the reception desk.

We face a backlog of patients, as do the hospitals.  We are doing our best to meet demand by providing enough appointments.  Our resources are stretched.

General Practitioners (GP)

In December 2021 two salaried GP’s left the practice. Despite advertising the positions as soon as we were able.  We have had no applicants until March 2022. 

Currently the amount of General Practitioner hours is 3.2 whole time equivalent (that is 118 hours per week) The practice list size is 13, 426 patients.  This equates 4195 people for each GP. The ratio recommended is roughly 2500. 

We use Locum GP’s to help cover the gap in the rota.

We have recently engaged with a remote service for patients to have telephone consultations with clinicians (either ANP’s or GP’s).

We constantly look for ways to provide appointments.

Telephone system

We share the frustration caused by our telephone system. We are experiencing an increase in demand and the system only holds 20 people in the queue.  When you hear the “all our operators are busy please hold the line” voicemail it lifts you out of the queue to do this.  If someone else then dials in at that exact moment you unfortunately lose your place and are told to ring back later and the call is terminated.  This is what lots of you experience first thing in a morning. 

The telephones don’t ever stop ringing and the Patient Service Advisors are picking up calls, one after the other.  We care that the phone system cut’s people off, causing upset and frustration and sometimes the upset spills over and people blame our receptionists.  In addition we don’t want you to stop trying if you have an acute medical need.

With that in mind we want to advise the following:

  1. If your issue is urgent for today, then please ring at 8am. If you cannot get through today and it can wait, then ring back tomorrow. We may advise you to ring 111 or visit Accident and Emergency department.
  2. If your issue is not urgent for today, then ring us later in the day (between 10am – 12pm and 3pm – 5pm).

A proportion of all appointments can be booked in advance.   

We will continue to offer the different ways of consultation.  We have learned that the different ways of delivery suits today’s society.  Currently you can be consulted via:

  1. Telephone.
  2. Video.
  3. e consultation.
  4. Face to face in the practice.
  5. Home visit for elderly or housebound.

Patients can register for online services, via the practice website.

This allows you to manage your repeat prescriptions, request sick notes, book appointments and arrange an e consult.

Who should I see?

You can book appointments direct with the clinicians listed below.  Please ask the Patient Service Advisors.

  • Advanced Nurse practitioners – Diagnose, order tests and issue prescriptions.
  • First Contact Physio – Physiotherapist that can be booked direct without a GP appointment.
  • Pharmacist – Can amend prescriptions from hospital discharges, review your medication, help you monitor your Blood Pressure, as well as authorise repeat prescriptions.
  • Practice Nurses – Offer a variety of services such as: Annual reviews for conditions such as Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Diabetes; Heart Disease. Female health issues (smears, contraception, menopause)and Minor Ailments.
  • Health Care Assistants (HCA) – can provide health screenings such as the NHS health check, give injections, perform ECG (Electrical Cardiographs), manage dressings and remove stitches.
  • Phlebotomist – provide blood tests.

Other services that can help.  You may need to be referred to them by one of the above clinicians:

  • Frailty Nurse –supporting vulnerable patients.  They aim to offer advance planning around diet, balance, lifestyle, and ensure patients have the relevant equipment and support in place to help age well.
  • Social Prescriber – Review patient’s overall wellbeing holistically to empower self-care.  They work with a wide range of patients including people with one or more long term condition, people who need support with their mental health, lonely or isolated.