Appletree update during Covid 19

Due to the coronavirus pandemic the past few months have been difficult for patients and the practice. We recognise that many of you are getting frustrated with the current service offered and appreciate that the telephones lines are continually busy.

NHSE has instructed GP surgeries to manage patients remotely where possible to help stop the spread of coronavirus. In this update we will try to explain the challenges at hand and ways you can help us to provide the best service we can to all in the community.

TELEPHONE LINES

There has been a significant increase in the number of calls to the surgery, with many enquiries regarding Covid vaccines, passports & booster.

Waiting time: The reception team are answering your calls as quickly as possible. The past few months have been a challenge with staff members absent due to isolating.  Our remaining staff have been excellent in covering wherever possible.  

Longer call time: Each call is taking slightly longer to process, due to the receptionist needing to ask more questions regarding coronavirus before booking an appointment.

We appreciate that it is frustrating waiting for the receptionist to answer but please be patient and assured that your call is important to us. 

Online booking reactivated: Initially, it was necessary to switch off the online booking facility. However, we recognise that this is now putting extra pressure on the telephone lines, so we have recently reactivated pre-booking of TELEPHONE appointments online.   

SMS TEXT MESSAGE

To reduce the risk of receptionists blocking the phone lines whilst make outgoing calls, we have increased our use of text messages. This not only releases phone lines but is a more efficient use of time. If we do not have an up-to-date mobile number for you, please inform the receptionist. 

NHS APP, SYSTMONLINE OR AIRMID

Register for one of our online services and order your repeat medication through your app. This is available 24/7 and also reduces call volume.

APPOINTMENTS

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, appointments at your GP surgery will be different at the moment.

Face to face appointments ARE available to all patients, and have been throughout the entire pandemic, but most patients will be asked to discuss your condition over the phone to assess whether a face to face appointment is necessary.  We have recently opened a limited number of directly bookable face to face appointments, the receptionist will offer these when they think it is appropriate.

Face to Face Appointments 

If the clinician does require you to attend the surgery for a face to face appointment please:

· Wear a face covering

· Your temperature will be taken by your clinician before your consultation.

Medication Review

Some medication reviews can be done without any consultation with the patient but if you have concerns regarding your medicine not working properly or you are experiencing side effects, then please don’t hesitate to request a telephone review with a clinician.

Thank you for your ongoing understanding and patience. We appreciate your frustration with the current system. One of the great privileges of General Practice is getting to know the people in the community we serve. Therefore, we too would love to get back to a more “normal” system as we certainly miss the personal element of meeting people face to face without the constraints of PPE. Unfortunately, however, this system of “total triage” of appointments will be the normality for the foreseeable future.

Kind regards

The Doctors and Staff at Appletree Medical Practice