Thank you for your support over the last two years through what has been a very testing time in General Practice. The Covid 19 pandemic has thrown many challenges at us which we have had to react to quickly. We have delivered a huge vaccination programme whilst maintaining patient safety and continuing with our core contractual services to our patients whilst dealing with staff shortages.
I am writing to you to inform you that in July we will be changing our appointment system.
Currently we have been operating an ‘on the day model’ and the wait for routine appointments has been longer than we would like. We have also been operating with a mainly telephone appointment system with the clinician bringing a patient in if they need to see them. During the height of the pandemic this was the safest way to operate to protect patients and staff. There are disadvantages of this system: continuity to see the same GP for a particular problem is difficult, a phone call and then an in-person appointment is wasteful of appointments, some patients find telephone appointments very difficult.
Thankfully we are now in a different phase of Covid-19 and therefore we need to change the operating model.
From July 18th 2022, patients will be able to choose if they want a telephone appointment or face to face appointment. Please make your wishes known to the receptionist. We will be able to offer more appointments online as we don’t need to speak to you first. Please ensure you have the NHS app to make appointments online.
We will have a daily duty doctor who will be dealing with emergencies only so please be respectful to the reception team if you are not offered an appointment the same day. You may also be offered an appointment with other clinicians such as advanced nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, physician associates, mental health nurse or referred to the community pharmacy scheme. These allied health professionals are the best people to see for certain conditions and will be able to give you more time than a GP.
For routine concerns the quickest way to get through to the surgery is to complete an online consultation- go to www.lodgesurgery.co.uk and click the big orange button. Complete a general health enquiry. A member of the team will get back to you within 72 hours, often sooner to book you an appointment if you need one. Many enquiries can be dealt with without an appointment. This method will also save you from hanging on the telephone as we appreciate our phone lines are busy. Please use this service for routine queries.
The NHS is incredibly stretched in general and we are experiencing demand like we have never seen before. We therefore may need to consider capping access if the level of demand reaches an unsafe level. You may be asked to go to a local Pharmacy, call 111 or go to one of the urgent care centres or walk in centres in the area. This decision will not be made lightly but we have to ensure the GPs working as duty doctor can operate safely.
Please help us to help you by requesting prescriptions in plenty of time. Test results can be accessed directly online via the NHS app, you will need to ask the surgery to give you enhanced access to the app, you can do this by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want more information about the app please go to www.nhs.uk/nhs-app/about-the-nhs-app/
Please use online options wherever possible.
Many thanks for your understanding
The Lodge Health Partnership