General Practice is a core part of the NHS and it is often the first point of call for medical problems. The practice has evolved over the past 20 years as we have adopted new ways of working, introducing a telephone triage system as well as booking appointments using AccuRx along with face to face appointments. However demands continue to rise with more people being looked after in the community. COVID19 has added further pressure with many patients having to wait longer to be seen by hospital specialists.
At present the NHS is completely overwhelmed. You may well be waiting a long time for that appointment at the hospital. You may have difficulty getting through to us on the phone and there is a wait of more than 20 hours if you go to the emergency department at our hospitals. In GP land we are also overwhelmed. Can we please ask you to look at alternatives before you call us – it may well be that the pharmacy can help you. You might be able to get brilliant advice by looking on the left hand side of our website which covers most things! Please be kind to our patient advisers when you speak to them because they are getting battered! Everyone is getting anxious and frustrated but we do need to count to 10 and think before we demand appointments at health services so we can keep those appointments for people who are proper poorly. Let us as a practice try to prioritise based on clinical need and not just who calls first.
Thank you for your consideration and look after yourselves! Plenty of fresh air and drinking plenty of fluids are a good start and remember to get your booster vaccinations even if you’ve already had one this year!
General Practice is a holistic service not just made up of doctors but a diverse team with varying experience and expertise. We know access is important and so is continuity of care so that the person or team that knows you best can continue to follow you up to get the best outcome and help prevent you from needing multiple appointments where 1 or 2 may only be necessary if you have to wait a little longer. We have developed our teams in the last 5 years or so and we continue to work with patients toimprove them. We need our patients to engage and utilise other services. This allows the right people to be seen at the right time by a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician associate, trainee doctors, medical students or others. Primary Care Networks have also been set up employing other staff who we share with other local practices including musculoskeletal practitioners, mental health workers, paediatric appointments on the day, a home visiting service and others. There are also many voluntary organisations that support the work we do including Diversity Matters North-West and a variety of social prescribing opportunities. Recently a chaplaincy service has also been added for those of faith in any denomination as well as those without too. Our reception team are trained to help you navigate the services available in-house and in the community.
We recommend you get
- Evergreen Life PHR, Patient Access and NHS app
- www.htmc.co.uk to see the latest information from the practice about information relating to your health and healthcare and how to get the best from the practice and surrounding neighbourhood
Think if you can use services online before you phone the surgery.
If you need any help for any of our online services then please send an email to [email protected]
To make the most out of your appointments you should:
- Have access to your GP electronic health record so you can better understand your healthcare needs. This allows you to see the last consultation, who this is with, what was discussed and what was agreed. So for example if you have been asked to get some blood tests done then you can not only read this but check the results when they are back and see what should happen next. Similarly if you have been referred then you can read when referral letter has been done and check the contents of the referral letter match your own understanding too.
2. There are a number of apps available that allow you to order prescriptions online as well as do other things. The Evergreen Life PHR, Patient Access and NHS app allow you to order repeat prescriptions, view your consultations including what your doctor, nurse, physician associate or others in the practice have written, see what problems you have and when they were diagnosed, see all your blood test results easily, see letters from the hospital. We recommend you download and install all 3 apps as they have different functions that complement one another.
Currently the Evergreen Life PHR app has the most functionality.
3. The Evergreen Life PHR is a wellness app too as well as a Personal Health Record and hence you can also record your food habits, exercise and happiness levels to give you a Wellness Score. You can also record your personal measurements eg blood pressure, weight and peak flow rate. You can also set reminders for medications you are taking so it sends you a notification on your mobile when it is time to take them! (This functionality is only on the app, not the website version)
4. The Patient Access and NHS app also allow you to use proxy access so that if you have the right permissions, you can also view your childrens records or others whom you care for. (The Evergreen Life PHR website also provides proxy access but not via the app currently)
5. The NHS app provides you with the COVID19 pass as well as showing you your organ donation status. In the future it will also provide information about where you are up to if you are waiting to be seen by secondary care / hospital appointments.
6. You can get a routine appointment by going to AccuRx between 3-3:30pm and we will call your back within 72 hours (3 days). (On rare occasions, this may not be possible and we will always prioritise calls based on clinical need).
7. The practice website www.htmc.co.uk has lots of resources in it to help you get even more from the practice and also services locally. If you look at the main website, you can see the “patient control panel” down the left hand side which provides an easy way to find information to help you get more. Learn about your health condition and explore common problems. We provide here trusted websites where the information will help you to understand your record better. NHS Choices, Clinical Knowledge Summaries and Patient.co.uk provide information about certain condition.
8. Monitor your own health and well-being
9. During the pandemic, unfortunately hospitals have had to divert resources to wards supporting patients with COVID19 and this has led to significant delays for routine hospital appointments and operations, The consequence of this is long waiting times. See here for local information whist you are waiting on what you can do
Navigating your local NHS services
Common problems you can solve – top 10 problems and the top 50 that people ring the surgery when they could easily find information yourself if you just knew
The Community Pharmacist – coughs, colds, rashes, hay fever, headache
Minor Eye Conditions – red eye, painful eye, sticky discharge…
Weight loss , smoking cessation support at BeWell Tameside
Contraception and sexual health advice- search for local clinics
with thanks to Danielle Belcher, Final Year Medical Student from Kings College, London who was at the practice between November and December 2021