GPs & Practices under pressure...
The past few months have been some of the busiest the practice has experienced with demand and workload continuing to increase. This is not just happening at Queen Edith’s, but is reflected in general practices county and nationwide. Our Local Medical Committee (Cambs LMC, an independent, statutory organisation that supports and represents GPs) has done some research into this, and the numbers speak for themselves:
Across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in March 2021:
• Number of appointments: 461,859 (equivalent to 46% of population)
• Number of Face-to-Face appointments: 258,691 (56%)
• Patients seen on the same day: 54%
• Patients seen in less than a week: 84%
• Patients seen in less than 14 days: 92%
In addition, over 90,000 Covid vaccinations were delivered by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough GPs & their Practice teams in March meaning that a total of half a million patient appointments happened that month. This huge number is not just due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the major NHS backlog of patients waiting for treatment. Most worryingly this demand is combined with the lowest numbers of GPs per capita in decades. The LMC concludes that:
“this is unsustainable, unsafe and is putting patientcare at risk. Practices are already working well beyond their safe daily limits. GPs and their practices, with the support of General Practitioners Committee England, and Cambs LMC, should continue to deliver care to their patients in the way they determine that best protects and cares for their population.”
Cases of the Delta variant in the UK, are rising exponentially. We must take all steps possible to deliver care that is safe for our patients and protects our staff. Social distancing and infection protection and control measures are still in force and, like many surgeries, we have a restricted waiting area. The only safe way to proceed is to continue to triage everyone; it is not yet safe for patients to walk into our building without a prior assessment.
This is why we are still operating a telephone-first system for all GP appointments.
When you contact the practice you will be offered a telephone appointment with a GP initially, and if after discussion with the GP it is felt to be clinically necessary to see you face-to-face, you will be offered an appointment for this.
Please be aware that we have made this decision to protect our patients and our staff. Our Reception team are working in line with this policy, and are only able to offer telephone appointments in the first instance. Our hard-working Reception team have faced an increased amount of verbal abuse about this over the last few weeks, which is unacceptable.
Once again, we would ask our patients to please be mindful of the ongoing pandemic, and we insist that all of our staff are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.
We will not tolerate anything else.