To the majority of our patients, we thank you for your continued support during this crisis. To the few that choose to be aggressive, rude, verbally abusive, or swear at our staff, I ask you to read on.
We continue to operate in a way that does the most to protect the lives of our patients and our staff. This includes running all nurse appointments at our Hatherley Branch Surgery and all GPs working at Portland.
In line with national guidance, over 90% of patients are currently safely managed by video or telephone consultations. For those that do need to be seen face to face, all staff wear PPE and clean areas between cases. This takes time and reduces capacity. We also have limited capacity in our waiting room because of social distancing rules and this also presents its own challenges. Additionally, the Hatherly Branch Surgery are also offering outside blood tests, to ensure we can see more patients in a safe environment. We are pulling out all the stops to make sure we are giving the best care we can under difficult circumstances.
Covid-19 is still here, we have to take the precautions for our safety and for yours. This is also why GP appointments are telephone only at this moment in time, with a small percentage being brought in.
This means, in terms of restarting routine services, we are a long way away from what we used to do. It is not business as usual. A much worse second wave is a real possibility and we are making preparations for this. We are being guided by NHS CCG Gloucestershire and NHS England, to ensure we prioritise the right services and groups going forward. This includes our care home community, those who are end of life requiring palliative care and advance care planning, those with suspected or diagnosed cancers, and those with mental health conditions, dementia and learning difficulties.
With courage, commitment, and teamwork, our staff have risen to the challenge that Covid-19 presented. Working more hours than ever before, covering colleagues too high risk to do work frontline and putting their own (and their family’s) health and wellbeing at risk daily. We have innovated and brought in new technologies. For example, the Reception Team can now send text message links to you the patients asking for pictures of your ailment, in order for the GP to have the pictures on your record ready for your telephone consultation.
Our website is constantly improving and is also a great place to communicate with us and get the right information you need. We have made changes in days, which normally take months or years.
We are here for you. Please be here for us.