Across Surrey Heartlands primary care colleagues are working really hard to support patients with both urgent and routine requests at the same time as delivering our life-saving vaccination programme.
General Practice has been open, consulting, treating and offering advice to patients throughout the pandemic – and that includes face to face appointments where needed.
Data from NHS Digital supports this, highlighting that 2.7 million face to face appointments took place in the area between April 2020 and March 2021. That equates to over two and a half appointments per person.
Every patient who gets in touch with their GP practice is triaged and signposted to the most appropriate service or treatment for them; that might mean seeing someone face to face, it could mean a quick and convenient telephone consultation, advice over email or signposting to another service.
Over the past year, using all these different ways to see and advise patients has helped us offer safer care and manage the increasing number of people who need our help. Although restrictions are now beginning to lift and our vaccination programme is going well, infection control is still important to keep patients and our staff safe, particularly where space is limited.
At the same time we are continuing to listen to what our patients tell us and working with organisations such as Healthwatch Surrey to make sure our services meet the needs of all our patients, as we recognise that digital services aren’t easily accessible for everyone.
For those seeking help from their GP, please help us to help you by providing as much information as possible when you get in touch, either online or to the reception teams if you are phoning. This helps the practice provide you with the right service in the right timescales, including face to face appointments where needed.
Surrey Heartlands CCG Chair and local GP, Dr Charlotte Canniff says: “As we start to see the gradual easing of restrictions, our local healthcare system remains incredibly busy across all areas – including GP practices, community services and our hospitals. We can all do our bit to help and use health services appropriately - and if anyone needs health advice, the NHS 111 service can also help.”
NHS111 can be contacted by calling 111 or online at www.111.nhs.uk.