Following temporary measures put in place in response to significant demand, as planned we have enabled the ability to create new requests online, along with accepting all requests including those that are less urgent or routine, online, on the phone and in person.
We would like to thank our patients for their support, patience and kindness during this very busy period.
Despite all points of access to the Practice being available, demand for appointments remains exceptionally high. We receive around 7,600 phone calls from patients and around 3,200 new requests for a health concern every week.
There is a national shortage of GPs and whilst we have been successful in appointing excellent GPs, nurses and other professionals, we do still have vacancies which are impacting on our ability to meet current demands. This is disappointing for our team as we know we could do so much more by recruiting to our vacant GP roles.
In addition, winter bugs that are circulating are increasing the need for care, as are concerns around Strep A over recent weeks and a high number of poorly children with respiratory symptoms needing assessment.
Despite these challenges, we are offering a greater number of face to face GP appointments than our patients request. On average, around 15% of patients making a request specify they would like a face to face appointment with a GP. During the first week in December, 34% of appointments were face to face with a GP, with other patients receiving an appointment in another way, such as on the phone.
In order to ensure we provide a safe service we always prioritise the most clinically urgent cases. Our aim is to minimise any potential delays, however, patients with a less urgent or more routine enquiry will unfortunately experience a longer wait than usual. We do understand this situation may be frustrating for patients.
Whilst we will aim to avoid future temporary measures to manage demand, due to winter pressures over the weeks ahead, this may be necessary.
Our Practice team is here to help. We would like to thank all of our patients for their ongoing support, patience and kindness.