Welcome to our last newsletter of 2022! It’s been such a busy year at the surgery we are all feeling ready for a few days with friends and family over Christmas.
The surgery will be closed on 26th and 27th December and 2nd January.
As always if you need medical advice when we are closed please call 111 or 999 in an emergency.
Long term conditions
Many of our patients are called in repeatedly over the year for blood tests and reviews for multiple long–term conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, COPD etc.
This is an inconvenience for you and a waste of nursing time and resources for our team. We are therefore embarking on a project to bring patients in once a year – preferably in their birth month – for a full review.
Our HCAs will carry out bloods, observations and questionnaires at one appointment. The results will be reviewed by our practice nurse and she will discuss onward management with you. This is a big undertaking and during the transition period some patients may be called more than once for a long–term conditions review, whilst some patients may wait slightly more than 12 months for their first full review. We are confident though, that once it is set up it will be a real step forward in the care of our patients. We will be inviting our first cohort of January-born patients in the next week or so.
NHS England require that we make the national survey available to our patients by having it on our website and keeping paper copies in our waiting room. We are going further and actively contacting patients to ask for your feedback. It is important to us that we hear about the things we are doing well and more importantly what we could do better.
We are texting patients in manageable batches, so we can review responses and discuss any matters raised. Survey responses are anonymous so we cannot engage with patients directly, but we aim to text each batch of patients with our responses to some of the ‘what we could do better’ suggestions.
Thank you to the patients who responded to the first request. It is really easy for us to listen to the national media narrative and feel totally deflated, so we are really encouraged that 85 out of 90 respondents rated us as good or very good. Your comments will be shared with the whole team, and we should feel very proud of the positive feedback we have received.
We won’t get it right for all of you all the time, but we are committed to doing our very best and making changes where we could do better.
On-line booking for appointments
You are now able to book face to face and telephone appointments on-line again. We are slowly phasing this in so we can address any problems it might cause. If you book a telephone consultation, we cannot guarantee it will be at the stated time (much like face to faceappointments) it depends very much on the GP caseload that session which is something that can never be anticipated in advance. We will keep reviewing this and seeing how we can improve.
If there are no appointments showing it doesn’t necessarily mean we are full so please call reception as usual. After a period of fairly shortwaiting times to see a GP for a ROUTINE appointment we are experiencing a bit of a bottleneck again, it happens sometimes but our GPs are putting in extra hours so we should see an improvement soon.
We would remind you again though, that we will ALWAYS speak to you or see you if your condition is urgent. Wanting to see a doctor on the same day is not the same as needing to see a doctor on the same day. We rely on patients being open and honest with us about the reason for their call so that we can triage appropriately and so that patients in genuine medical need can be seen.
At the time of writing most of the dispensary machine is in the UK butpart of it is still in Italy! Hopefully it will be here soon (It is definitely on Dr Mordue’s Christmas list)
In the meantime, we will shortly begin asking you whether you would like to sign-up to access your prescriptions from the machine. There is no obligation and patients who wish to continue to collect in the usual way will be able to do so. This is intended as an enhancement to, and not a replacement for, our existing service. Please remember to order medication in good time as dispensary will be under huge pressure in the run up to Christmas.
Kingsbridge Minor Injuries Unit at South Hams Hospital
We are incredibly lucky to have the minor injuries unit at South Hams Hospital and if we ask you to go to MIU this should not be seen as us avoiding our responsibilities to our patients. Everyone knows that the NHS is struggling to recruit enough GPs to meet patient demands. The government targets, if achievable, will take years to deliver trained clinicians into the primary care services. MIU is there to compliment the services we offer and to free GPs up to diagnose and manage acute and long-term health conditions. It is the halfway house between the surgery and A and E. If you have an injury which is less than 2 weeks old, MIU is often the most appropriate place for you to be treated. You are welcome to call us for advice but if we direct you to MIU please don’t be cross! The team at SHH can treat and prescribe medication for a wide range of conditions including wounds (bites, skin tears and lacerations) Ear Nose and Throat problems; eye infections, allergic reactions and urinary tract infections for women aged 16-64.
Given the recruitment challenges it is so important that medical students are given the chance to experience the highs and lows of working in Primary Care and Chillington has a long history of mentoring 5th year medical students.
You will always be asked if you are happy for a medical student to be involved in your appointment and we are grateful to our patients who help make the experience such a positive one. We receive lots of compliments about our students.
You are free to say no if you would prefer a student wasn’t involved and we completely understand why this may be the case. We have recently welcomed Sara to our team for a 6 week secondment and she is really looking forward to meeting you.
It only remains for us to wish you a happy and healthy Christmas and a great New Year; and to thank you for all your support over the year, we really appreciate it.