We would like to begin this update by thanking patients for the support and good wishes offered to our team over the past year. Despite the media reports, the surgery has very much been open for business but Covid-19 has changed how patients access their GP and services, and has supercharged the use of remote consultation in primary.
What have we being doing?
Throughout the pandemic we have continued to provide services but we have had to prioritise the delivering of care and services based on clinical needs. This means that patients have been offered in the first instance a telephone consultation and then where there is clinical need, a face-to-face appointment.
Whilst we appreciate that patients have mixed feelings about the telephone triaging system, this is not new to general practice and has been the normal way of working for many surgeries. Being able to book a telephone consultation has made our services more accessible to some patients and while other patients feel that a telephone consultation is not ‘thorough enough’, we can reassure you that if clinically appropriate, patients are being provided with face-to-face appointments.
We also offer on-line and video consultations. This can be a convenient and flexible way to receive healthcare. Again, where patients need to be seen by a healthcare professional face-to-face, this will be arranged. If you are unsure how to access the online consultation service please visit our website www.ferryroadhealthcentre.net or call the Reception Team who will be able to assist you.
The Practice has been working within our Primary Care Network to help deliver the largest vaccination programme in the history of NHS. Staff have worked at the vaccination centres and the Admin team have been arranging Covid vaccinations appointments. We have worked tirelessly to support this programme whilst continuing to be open and managing patients clinical needs.
Our Nursing team have continued to provide childhood immunisations, cervical smears, dressings and phlebotomy along with annual reviews for patients with chronic diseases including Diabetes, Heart Disease and Respiratory conditions.
How can you help us?
- Where possible please use other appropriate medicals services – If you have a dental issue, please go to the dentist; if you have an eye condition, an optician will be able to help assess your eye better as they have the specialist equipment to assess your conditions. For housing, benefits and any social issues ask Reception to book you with our Social Prescriber https://www.southdown.org/CommunityConnectors and for physiotherapy and musculoskeletal, our First Contact Physiotherapist (FCP) can assess you so please ask Reception for an appointment with them. Both the Social Prescriber and the FCP are employed by our local Primary Care Network (PCN) and are dedicated to care for patients in our PCN group of practices only.
- Access the NHS website for advice or visit the local pharmacy for clinical advice on how to treat minor conditions such as skin problems, i.e. fungal infection, colds and sore throats.
- If you want a triage appointment please call the surgery as early as possible during the day when the appointments are allocated. We have seen an increase in patients calling late in the day requesting a same day call.
- When you contact the surgery please be polite to our Receptionists, they are currently finding that an increasing number of patients are rude towards them. The Practice has a zero tolerance to aggressive behaviour. The reception team do care, but it is upsetting and demoralising to be treated disrespectfully by the people they are trying to help.
- If you have arranged a telephone consultation please make sure you have your phone switched on and with you at all times.
- Please do not ask our Reception team to book you a face-to-face appointment for a GP appointment. This is not in their remit. When you speak to the GP or clinician you can of course express your preference to be seen face to face.
- If you are asked to attend the surgery for a face-to-face appointment please remember to wear a face covering. If you have a disability or condition that means you cannot wear a face covering please let us know ahead of your arrival.
We hope this has given you an understanding of how we are trying to support patients during this difficult time. We will be following the Governments road mapping plans as we move forward and over the coming weeks and hope to slowly return to more normal working practices.
We are still open. Please do be reassured that if you need medical attention we are here for you and will determine how to best support you based on your symptoms.