Message to Our Patients: May 2021
Thank you to everyone for all your support and understanding as we all adapted rapidly to the pandemic over the course of the past year. In line with the government roadmap we hope now to return to more of our previous working practices, whilst also recognising and retaining the many positive changes that came out of the past year.
UK NHS General Practice has changed hugely, and there has been recognition that a significant proportion of our work can and should be done remotely, and that this can be an efficient, clinically safe way to work that is valued by patients and NHS staff alike. However, we are also very aware of the significant loss of continuity and face to face interactions, which has impacted negatively on the therapeutic relationship for all of us, and has always been something we have been proud of and prioritised at Pembroke Road Surgery.
We have continued to see a proportion of patients face to face throughout the pandemic when clinically indicated, but have tried to minimize unnecessary contact in line with COVID-19 guidance. With uncertainty over staffing levels due to sickness and absence, and government recommendations around acute care, we have also been trying to manage all patient contacts on the same day, or within a very short timeframe; patient contacts have now climbed to over 1700/week for us, (nationally, GPs had more patient contacts in March 2021 than at any point since records began!) and it is not safe, sustainable, or clinically appropriate to attempt to manage this workload acutely, and we recognise from your feedback it is also often not convenient for you.
Over the next month or so therefore, we are changing our appointment system, to re-introduce pre-bookable appointments, to improve convenience for you, to enhance continuity with one clinician, and to spread the workload to allow us to safely manage acute, urgent work, whilst supporting our patients with more chronic, complex health needs. There has been a huge increase across the UK in people consulting with minor, often self-limiting illness that would be more appropriately managed with self-care or pharmacy advice, so we will be increasingly signposting you to other services and resources where this is indicated.
It will take some time for us to get this right, so please bear with us, and let us know when things do not seem to be working.We are all on unfamiliar ground, the world has changed hugely for all of us, but we want to continue to provide a personal, reactive service to our Pembroke Road Surgery patients with continuity of care at its core.
Published: May 1, 2021