Your GP practice has remained open and continues to see patients face to fact throughout the covid19 pandemic
On 14th October 2021, Dr Hannan was interviewed by BBC Radio Manchester where he explained General Practice has remained oen throughout the pandemic for patients to be seen face to face where clinically appropriate alongisde telephone consulations and the online services we offer.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have remained open to patients. We have offered appointments using new ways of working and new technology. We have worked hard to make sure we have remained available to speak to, and to offer appointments to anyone who has needed them.
We know that patients sometimes prefer to see a GP face to face, but there are reasons why we have offered additional online (through Engage Consult) or telephone consultations, and government guidance has played a big part in this. It’s remained the case that if we’ve needed to see a patient face to face, or felt it was important for their care, we’ve asked those patients to come in to see us or if we have gone out to visit them. We have never stopped seeing patients where there is a clinical need to do so.
Offering new ways of working has helped some patients to access appointments who would not normally be able to due to other commitments, such as their work or caring responsibilities.
The cleaning required between patients during the pandemic means that if all patients were to come into the surgery, we would not be able to offer the same number of appointments because of the amount of time that cleaning between each patient takes. However, we will always see patients face to face who need to be seen face to face.
Changing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) between each patient adds additional time to the end of each appointment. The difficulty in obtaining PPE has also meant that we have needed to be more cautious than normal about the way we use scarce resources. We continue to work hard daily to source the PPE we need.
We understand that some patients are reluctant to come and see us in the surgery as they’re worried. We are making sure that social distancing is as good as it possibly can be and that we maintain a ‘COVID-secure’ environment. Some of the things we take into account when we are considering this are, the number of people in the waiting room, the number of people who pass each other in the corridors, and the toilet facilities that are available.
Our staff are people too, and some may have ethnicity or health issues that make them more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. As caring employers, we need to ensure that we keep our staff safe as well. We take the necessary precautions to keep both our staff and our patients safe.
We have many elderly and vulnerable patients with health conditions that make them more vulnerable to coronavirus than most. We also know that there are young and healthy people who have been seriously affected by COVID-19, so it is not just the elderly or infirm we need to protect.
Increasing the number of patients seen in the surgery would mean that we would increase the risk for everyone – particularly if some of those people had symptoms of COVID-19 and were unwell enough to need to be seen. For this reason, we will keep a balance of the types of appointments we have available.
There is nothing we’d like to see more than a return to ‘normal’ life and the easy face-to-face care we’ve always provided, but at the moment offering fewer face-to-face appointments keeps patients safe and provides the maximum number of appointments we can.
You can help us to provide the best care possible by:
Register for Engage Consult so that you can contact the surgery for any admin queries or to get an appointment with a clinician at any time. (There is a limit to how many appointments we can offer this way to help ensure we deliver a high quality service for all our patients). Learn more about Engage Consult here.
Learn more about our appointment system and all the information available on the practice website to help you get the best from the practice and the local services available for you.
See the uptodate information about covid19 and what you need to know here
We are available to talk to, and we always want to hear from, patients who need us. While we understand patients’ frustrations with the current situation, we hope you’ll continue to help and support us, as you’ve always supported the NHS, so that we can go on providing you with care and support in the coming weeks and months.