Thank You and Our Plans Moving Forward [26th May 2021]

Dear Patients,

We wanted to communicate with you all to express our gratitude for the understanding and support we have received over the past year during a difficult time for the country and the NHS. We also wanted to update you on our plans as a practice going forward and how we hope to be able to provide our services over the coming months.

Despite the number of Covid-19 cases falling we will continue to work hard to deliver the vaccination programme, and we are very grateful to all our staff and volunteers who have helped deliver this so successfully. We still have a way to go with further first doses, second doses and the future booster programme as well as our usual flu vaccine campaign. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for regular updates.

As the number of Covid-19 cases falls we are seeing an upsurge in demand for appointments. This is as a result of several factors including: pent-up demand, mental health problems, and patients with ongoing symptoms following Covid-19. This is an issue affecting practices across the UK, and in March the NHS reported GP surgeries dealt with a record-breaking number of patients.

We are working as hard as we can to meet demand and give the best care possible to our patients. We continue to offer initial telephone consultations for all patients and will see patients face-to-face in the surgery when necessary. We are however struggling at present, and every day our appointment booking provision it at absolute capacity. You may notice that it is difficult to get through on the phone, particularly at busy periods and that are reception team are not always able to offer you the choice of appointments you would like.

From June we are amending our system to try and address some of these issues. We will be reintroducing a set number of pre-bookable telephone appointments each day, rather than continuing with a same-day only model. These appointments can be booked up to a week in advance and should be used for non-urgent matters. We have stopped taking prescription requests over the phone to enable our Patient Care Navigators more time to focus on calls for appointments. We are highlighting the use of our online consultation system for patients with internet access and non-urgent problems (accessed via our website – www.kingswoodhealthcentre.co.uk).

However there are still things our patients can do to help us to help you. Before contacting us please consider the following options:

–          Please check our website – www.kingswoodhealthcentre.co.uk – and use the search function to look up your health problem and what you may be able to do to self-care. Many of the problems our clinicians are asked to deal with can be managed at home. The NHS Choices website also has lots of useful information.

–          Ask your local pharmacist or check the Pharmacy First website as they can often give valuable advice in the first instance to manage common problems, and recommend over-the-counter medicines to help.

–          NHS 111 Online is a useful source of advice and can direct you to local services including emergency dental care. You can also give them a ring for more urgent problems or concerns.

–          The Minor Injuries Unit in Yate or the Urgent Care Centre based in South Bristol Community Hospital can see patients for a wide range of minor illnesses and injuries and are open 7 days a week, including bank holidays. If you’re unsure whether this is appropriate for you, NHS 111 can guide you.

–          If you do need to see one of our team, help us navigate you to the right clinician by telling our Patient Care Navigators the nature of your problem. We have a wide variety of clinical staff who can all help with different things, including our pharmacists (for medication queries, side-effects etc.), our Practice Physiotherapist (for musculoskeletal problems), our Paramedics and Advanced Nurse Practitioner (for minor illnesses and acute conditions), our Physicians Associate (for minor illnesses and mental health problems), the nursing team (for immunisations, wound care, injections, cervical screening and long term condition management) as well as our GP team.

We hope that this advice will help you navigate the various options that are available to our patients, and get the right care for you first time.

Thank you for your understanding and patience during this very busy time for the practice, and the NHS.