New Ways of Working
The past 2 years have been very difficult and everyone has been affected by the Covid 19 pandemic in some way. General practice has also changed significantly since 2019 and we wanted to explain this, so that our patients can understand the changes, how the practice is functioning and what the future holds.
Firstly, the practice has never been busier. Although there had been some negative views circulated in the media of primary care, we are now working harder than pre-pandemic times. A recent analysis of appointments at Camberley Health Centre, showed that the GP's had dealt with 52% more patient contacts than two years ago (and this did not include the hard work of our nursing team). This is in addition to staffing the Covid vaccination programme and now planning and delivering the 2021 flu vaccination programme.
New appointment system
In response to patient feedback, we all would like to return to a more normal way of working.
From 8th November, we will be implementing a new appointment system which we hope will make it easier for you to book an appointment when needed.
After this date, if you call the surgery to book an appointment you will be able to choose whether you would like a telephone or a face-to-face appointment. To enable us to do this safely, the receptionist will need to enquire about the nature of your problem. If the receptionist knows the nature of your problem, they can book an appointment with the clinician who is best placed to help you, which may not always be a GP.
Patients who have respiratory symptoms or fever or who decline to tell the receptionist why they are requesting an appointment will only be able to book a telephone appointment with a clinician. The clinician will then triage their symptoms on the telephone and may book them a face-to-face appointment if this is clinically necessary; for those with possible covid symptoms this will still be in the Hot Cabin in the car park.
We encourage you to use appointments responsibly as they are a precious resource. When you contact the surgery, you will be offered available routine appointments up to 2 weeks in advance. If your problem is more urgent then you will be offered an urgent appointment which may be within the next 3 days. If you call after all available appointments have been booked, you will be told to call again the next day unless a doctor feels your condition is medically urgent.
We are reopening the waiting room to all patients. We do require everyone to socially distance (1m) in the waiting room. During busy periods there may be insufficient capacity in the waiting room; at these times we will limit the waiting room to use by those who are frail or disabled. Please do bring a coat as you may be required to wait outside whatever the weather. If you think you are at higher risk of covid19 (such as previous Clinically Extremely Vulnerable patients) and would prefer to wait in the car, please let reception know when you book your appointment.
We are turning the online booking system back on. You will be able to use this to book telephone appointments only, as we cannot triage online booked appointments for possible covid symptoms. If you think that your problem will require a face-to-face appointment such as abdominal pain or a lump which you would like checking, please contact the reception team for an appointment, rather than booking online, to avoid delay in being seen.
New types of appointments
To help continue providing a high level of care to our patients, we have been happy to welcome several new members to the team: 2 Clinical Pharmacists, a Physicians’ Associate and an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. You may find that you are now offered an appointment with these clinicians rather than a GP. They are all highly trained and capable of dealing with the majority of clinical issues alongside the GP’s of the practice.
We also work closely with First Contact Physio’s (FCP) based at other local surgeries. If you have a muscular or joint issue, you can ask reception to book you an appointment with a FCP directly without speaking to a GP.
After using e consult heavily for a period of time, we have recognised that there are limitations and we are moving back to a more traditional approach. They can be useful for administrative requests such as sick notes and for sending in Blood Pressure results, however we do not recommend them for most clinical problems. Please do not send an eConsult if you are expecting a telephone response as these are a form of electronic communication only. We will no longer be booking appointments via econsult. Econsult hours will be limited initially to allow us to focus on the new appointment system.
It remains mandatory to wear a mask in NHS buildings for the protection of others. If you are exempt from wearing a mask, please let reception know when you book your appointment; the clinician may decide it is more appropriate to see you in the hot cabin instead.
If you have any symptoms which could possibly be due to covid 19 such as a cough or fever, please continue to book a PCR covid test via the following link.
Lateral flow tests are for testing when there are no symptoms present. To rule out covid a PCR test MUST be taken. Please isolate the patient until results are returned and negative
We are saddened to report that there has been an increase in verbal abuse to both clinical and reception staff over the past 6 months. We understand that you or a family member being unwell is an anxiety provoking experience. However, our staff are working as hard as we can to ensure patients receive good care and we ask for your patience and understanding during these challenging times. We have a zero-tolerance policy against abuse towards staff members and we will be following this at all times.
Change is never easy, but we do hope that if we all work together, we can ensure the best possible care is available to all our patients.
On behalf of Dr Fisher and Partners