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You may have received a short text or phone message from us regarding a Coronavirus Status Update, but due to size limitations when sending text messages, you have been directed to this page for further information.

July 16, 2020

Dear Patients

This is an update from our last status update of June.

RESTRICTED SERVICE STILL IN PLACE

Even though the lockdown has ended, as with many other organisations, the need to maintain safe working environments and social distancing means that we continue to provide a restricted service. All questions and answers regarding coronavirus can be found on these pages:

AN INSIGHT INTO WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO

Practice Record
A new practice record for patients
waiting for a doctor callback

We do hear of increasing numbers of reports slating GP surgeries for not opening fully and questions in the media on what GP surgeries have actually been doing during the lockdown.

As you know, we have been open throughout this entire crisis, but working very differently to before. We are working together to deal with the day's workload. The days are long, intense, and mentally draining, with all doctors working by telephone continually from morning through to late afternoon/early evening before most calls are completed, following which piles of admin then need to be processed. This is in addition to all the other work the surgery team have been doing, examples of which include:

  • Preparing and developing a business continuity plan and switching services overnight to ensure patient and staff safety [this immediate action alone by GP practices nationally probably saved hundreds of thousands of lives]
  • Organising and arranging for appropriate technology to enable us to continue services
  • Working extra on the Easter and early May bank holidays to provide additional servcies for patients
  • Setting up all new appointment systems to cope with the changes and also provide capacity for externally-referred patients
  • Telephone consultations
  • Video consultations
  • Carrying out essential procedures and nursing care
  • Responding to email queries and images from patients
  • Interpreting a multitude of guidance, evidence and updates and enacting changes to services as a result
  • Seeing potential coronavirus patients safely
  • Supporting and signposting large numbers of patients whose mental health and wellbeing have been affected by the pandemic
  • Medication reviews, issues and repeats
  • Dealing with all post, results, correspondence as before
  • Referring cancer and other urgent cases
  • Spending inordinate amounts of time sourcing our own PPE given government supplies have not been forthcoming
  • Switching patients onto alternative methods of treatment for safety reasons, e.g. warfarin, B12, contraceptives
  • Caring for palliative and end-of-life patients
  • Supporting care home and conducting remote ward rounds
  • Reviewing care and treatment escalation plans for care home patients
  • Identifying and supporting hundreds of vulnerable and shielding patients
  • Developing all new coronavirus-related resources on our website to help patients cope with the crisis
  • Working with the Primary Care Network to plan for coronavirus-related activities now and for the future
  • Preparing the practice to be covid-secure for the future, such as waiting room changes, screens, signage
  • Having weekly meetings with team leaders to co-ordinate our coronavirus response and whole team meetings for training, motivation and wellbeing
  • Working with multidisciplinary teams to review palliative care patients and discuss safeguarding issues
  • Reviewing high priority patients with long-term conditions with a view to then looking at medium and lower priority patients
  • Performing essential housekeeping to the surgery computer system
  • Summarising records
  • Keep all our patients informed with regular texts and website updates

So, in summary, we have always been here, and we've not stopped. In fact, we feel busier that we have ever been. Those who have used our services in the last few months know that each call takes longer than a usual appointment. Due to increased demand, appointment slots are being taken up very quickly, and some patients are then waiting a few hours for a callback. We do ask for your patience and consideration during this difficult time for us all.

GET HELP QUICKER AND EASIER

We have set up a detailed resource of useful information on our website on how we are working during this pandemic and how you can manage your condition yourself and get the help that you need. We are finding that many patients are still not aware of this source of help and would therefore urge all patients to use this page, as well as our self-care resources, as a first port of call before contacting the practice. We hope that this will help you get the help that you need quicker and more easily.

THINGS WILL NOT BE GOING BACK TO 'NORMAL'

Given the political pressures to return to 'normal', and the outward appearance of things opening up and returning to 'normal', we would like to stress to patients that the days of hordes of sick people coughing all over each other and kids with dripping noses running around in a crowded waiting room are long gone [this may be a good thing!].

Coronavirus is not going away any time soon, the pandemic is actually only just starting, cases are accelerating, and many countries globally are not even out of the first wave yet.

Along with practices nationwide, we are taking steps to prepare for restoration of some services, but this must be done cautiously, in a way that is measured and helps us to care for our sick and vulnerable, whilst at the same time, keeping our staff as safe as possible. One cannot compare the opening up of shops, for generally healthy mobile people, to the opening up of GP surgeries, full of sick and poorly people.

As things are not going to suddenly change any time soon, we do urge patients to familiarise themselves with our current way of working (General Practice 2.0 or GP2 for short), so that they may be more prepared.

PROCESS FOR ATTENDING FACE-TO-FACE

Whilst we are aiming to deal with most conditions remotely, on occasion we will still need to see you face-to-face. In this situation, we will invite you in at a specific time to attend an appointment at the surgery. Accordingly, we have updated our process for attending your appointment. All patients are advised to familiarise themselves with this process:

FACE COVERINGS

As you may know, face coverings are becoming mandatory in more settings, and they remain absolutely essential in healthcare settings. Therefore please ensure that you wear a face covering that covers your mouth and nose whenever you are invited to come to the surgery.

Please note that nowhere in the legislation does it indicate that GPs need to write letters of exemption or authorisation for patients who do not wish or need to wear a mask. More information can be found here:

BOOTS CHEMIST, CHURCH FARM

Many of you will have already discovered that Boots Chemist, Church Farm branch is closing its doors next month. Those of you who have chosen this chemist for repeat prescriptions will need to nominate another chemist. Please let us know with your next repeat prescription request. We have been advised not to automatically transfer nominations to another chemist for you, as it must remain your own choice.

We are not affiliated with Boots Chemist and are not able to answer any queries with regard to the chemist, its closure or what is likely to happen in the future. We are however concerned regarding provision of service for our patients and are in the process of compiling a patient survey.

EAR WAX/EAR SYRINGING

We are getting many queries regarding ear syringing. We are currently updating our policy regarding this procedure. In the meantime, patients are advised to check our GP 2.0 page for the latest information:

SHIELDED PATIENTS

Latest information on the relaxation of measures for shielded patients can be found here:

HOSPITAL REFERRALS AND APPOINTMENTS

Although hospital referrals are now being made, patients should be aware that many hospitals are currently still not in a position to offer outpatient appointments. We will process your referral as normal, and you will need to go ahead and follow the instructions on the booking information that we send you.

If there are no appointments available, please use the option ‘defer to provider’ which will add your name to a waiting list and your referral will be reviewed by a consultant at the hospital of your choice.

As you will appreciate, due to the current situation, the waiting times will be significantly longer at the hospital than they were previously.

In our experience, writing letters to bring forward your appointment, just because you have been waiting a long time, tends not to be effective (no matter who has suggested it), however, if your condition deteriorates significantly and you feel you need to be seen sooner, please get in touch with us and we will see what we can do.

WELCOME TO DR IQBAL

We welcome Dr Nosheen Iqbal to the practice. She is our long-term maternity locum, covering for Dr Greer till December 2020. She is settling in well and we hope those of you who come across her during these difficult times will appreciate her caring and thorough approach to her patients.

WELCOME TO BABY GREER

On the above note, we are pleased to announce that Dr Greer has been blessed with the arrival of a new baby boy towards the end of June. Many happy congratulations to the family! We hear both mother and baby are doing well and look forward to a safer time when he can be brought in for a kiss and a cuddle!

FLU CLINIC

We are now actively planning for flu season and we imagine interest in flu vaccination will be quite high this year, so please stay tuned to our flu page for more information.

FINALLY...

Please bear with us whilst we work hard to maintain essential services for you all during these extremely difficult times.

Kind regards

Ivy Grove Surgery

Previous updates

For your information only, older update(s) appear below:

PLEASE PROVIDE FEEDBACK ON THIS STATUS UPDATE

We do our utmost to keep our patients informed of latest developments at Ivy Grove, and feel that within the coronavirus pandemic, this has become even more important. Do you find these updates useful? Do you want us to carry on with them? We welcome feedback on this, so please do get in touch.

Written by Dr M. Wong