There was a lot of media coverage yesterday on GP Practices, not much of which was favourable. We want to reassure all our patients that we have been working hard throughout and continuing to do so.
As we have previously said, at the start of the pandemic, the Government mandated all practices to work in certain ways – for example telephone first etc – as numbers have changed through the year we have increased and decreased our precautions accordingly. We have seen patients face to face throughout, kept our doors open and numbers of consultations is higher than ever.
We have been looking forward to getting back to more normal, as we prefer seeing patients to face. The real value of what we do is the relationship you have with your GP. Of course for many patients telephone consultations are still preferred and can provide the same level of medical care for certain things. So, as we did before covid, we will offer both – face to face and telephone. We know that this strikes a really good balance between good patient care and patient preference.
Of course covid is still around, and particularly with the risk of the new India variant rising, having lots of unwell people close together in the waiting room isn’t safe either. So, we are currently working out how to increase the number of face to face appointments further, whilst also keeping you safe. We also expect new government guidance in the next week. Over a third of patients are already being seen face to face, and we will continue to respect patients wishes who would like a face to face appointment.
For everyone to be safe, and to avoid outbreaks in the practice which will reduce our capacity due to staff needing to isolate, it is REALLY important that all those coming into the practice follow the covid rules. This means not coming in, unless agreed by the doctor, if you have a temperature, cough, loss of taste or smell. It also means taking a PCR test if advised, and not relying on the lateral flow tests – these are for screening when you have NO symptoms. Please also note that whilst having the vaccination gives you very good protection, there is a risk you can still get covid (but if you do, you should be less unwell) and you can still give it to other people. If everyone understands this, and isolates when they have symptoms or a positive test in the household, it should mean cases stay low, even as lockdown eases further.
Thank you for your understanding and support.