To all registered patients of Woosehill Medical Centre.
Why Are We Writing to You?
We have taken the unusual step to write to all our patients because of heavy workload demands put upon our Medical Centre. We felt it was necessary and helpful to explain some of the recent changes and to ask for your understanding.
During the height of the pandemic, we continued to serve our patients and the surgery remained open, but a significant volume of our work became “remote” provided over the phone or via video, for obvious safety reasons.
We continued to offer face-to-face care for essential services and to the most vulnerable. This helped us to reduce the number of patients sitting in the waiting areas unnecessarily and avoiding possible cross infection of these vulnerable patients.
Current hospital waiting lists increased significantly resulting in some of this work being directed back to the GP team to manage in the community. This comes at a time when we are busier than ever; keeping up with demand is difficult and we are grateful for your support.
How Have We Tried to Improve Services?
We now have a larger medical team which includes 2 (part time) Pharmacists, a (part time) Paramedic, 3 Practice Nurses and 2 Health-care Assistants as well as 10 GPs. We have also recently become a Training Practice. Please see our website for a list of all clinical staff.
We have increased the number of appointments by over 400 per month compared to pre-pandemic levels (Dec 2020 – 4,500 to Dec 2021 – 5000 and Jan 2022 over 5600).
We have taken on additional Receptionists to cope with the increase in telephone calls as well as admin staff.
Improved Patient access through our website, ‘Ask Reception a Question’ for non-urgent medical queries. Repeat prescription requests by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All our requests for GP appointments go to our trained receptionists who take basic information to help the GP decide the most appropriate appointment type of which may be face-to-face, telephone or video based.
If you are allocated a telephone appointment, it is still possible you will be seen face to face after discussion with the GP first.
We will continue to offer a proportion of remote telephone assessments, but please do not think this is just a quick and easier option for your GP. Telephone assessments usually take longer than face to face appointments and are often more challenging, however they do allow us to manage our workload more efficiently whilst we are facing increasing demands.
You can also book ahead for a face-to-face appointment with the Nurse or Health-care Assistant if this is your preference.
Please tell us if you can’t keep the appointment (whichever type) so that it can be offered to someone else.
To book an appointment you can call us on 0118 9788689 or via online services i.e., NHS app/MyGP/Patient Access. Alternatively, please visit our reception desk where we will be more than happy to help you.
Pre-bookable telephone appointments can be made with a GP up to 2 weeks in advance.
Pre-bookable appointments with Nurses/Pharmacists/Paramedic/Healthcare Assistants can be made up to 4 weeks in advance.
Please be Understanding
This comes at a time when we are also busier than ever with our routine work; demonstrated by an increase in over 400 additional appointments per month compared to pre-pandemic levels. We are now also being contacted more frequently by patients, and in different ways: by email, text, and letter. Keeping up with demand and ever-increasing expectation is difficult and we need your help, so please:
Our staff and particularly our reception team are doing the best job they can. Taking your information helps provide appropriate and timely care. Please treat them with respect and we cannot tolerate aggressive or hostile behaviour.
Our phone lines are busier than ever, requests for appointments and prescriptions are higher than ever. We are looking at ways to improve access, which is likely to include an “Online” consultation system to ease pressure on phones and receptionists.
If your request is for a minor, self-limiting illness, they try your local pharmacist or seek advice from www.nhs.uk.
Please only request an appointment if your problem cannot be self-managed.
The pandemic has placed a huge strain on everyone. The whole Woosehill team has worked tirelessly to provide the very best service that we can whilst also dealing with Covid-19 illness within the team and their close family members.
With your help we are confident that we can continue to provide a responsive and Covid safe service to you all.
Thank you for taking time to read this letter and bearing with us during these hugely stressful times for everyone.
Signed by the partners on behalf of all the staff at Woosehill Medical Centre.
Dr Rishi Anand and Dr Sanveer Tiwana.