News – Page 1
A Poem For October
Autumn in Normandy
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The Calverton Practice Newsletter
At the time of writing we are grappling with several problems in the practice not of our making. Firstly there is a shortage of blood bottles nationally and we have had to postpone all non urgent blood tests; secondly we are told that flu vaccine deliveries will be delayed (we believe due to a lack of delivery drivers) making clinic planning difficult; and thirdly we are still awaiting guidance on an Autumn Covid booster vaccination programme though we now know this will be run at practice level. All of this of course is at a time of trying to catch up post lockdowns whilst dealing with high levels of patient contacts generally. The good news is a recent government announcement of extra funding for both health and social care though as always it is not yet clear how that funding will translate into support at the proverbial coal face where we operate.
I believe the practice team have been magnificent in rising to these challenges; so many of our staff regularly go the extra mile both for each other and for our patients and as senior partner at the surgery I am eternally grateful for this. We are though noticing that a lot of our patients are quite stressed and whilst there are obvious reasons for this, it can translate into abruptness or even rudeness when dealing with the surgery. Please remember we are trying to help and support you and do realise delays can be frustrating but much of what goes on in the NHS is out of our control (particularly wider community services; hospital and social care for example) and we too are a finite resource of both staff and time. Please continue to bear with us at what remains a difficult time.
Other news includes a recent upgrade to our phone system which we hope will be helpful for our patients particularly at busy times and I have also been asked to mention Shingles vaccines which are now on offer for our over 80 year olds not previously vaccinated. Now would be a good time to get those jabs done if you are eligible so please contact our reception team to arrange.
We are as a practice actively looking to reduce our carbon footprint and as we rely heavily on electricity for our heating, are exploring fitting some solar panels. We are aware we have lots of helpfully flat roofs so hope that will have a significant impact.
This month we also welcome a new member to our team, Leigh-Ann Newbury is a pharmacy technician with us two days a week joining our medicines management team
Finally a reminder about Covid testing – Lateral Flows are for when you have no symptoms, the PCR test (usually arranged by ringing 119 or online booking) is for when you have possible Covid symptoms (a temperature, new cough, loss of taste or smell, flu like symptoms and in children sometimes gastro-intestinal upset or a rash). A positive lateral flow whether you have symptoms or not means you need a PCR test; a negative lateral flow when you have symptoms means you need a PCR test!
A number of readers have mentioned that they were concerned about the availability of appointments at the Calverton Practice, and I asked Dr Raynor to comment – Editor
Dr Raynor replied:
An update on appointments at The Calverton Surgery
It has become clear that there is a misunderstanding in the community regarding appointments in the practice. We understand that it can be challenging to negotiate any GP appointment system, and assure you that we are doing our best to make things as efficient as possible for both patients and staff. Unfortunately the wider media continues to disperse inaccurate information about GP practices and this is causing significant distress for us all.
Please be assured that The Calverton Practice continues to consult patients both on the telephone and in person (including home visits), as has been the case throughout the pandemic. We still need to have a weighting towards remote consultations however, for reasons detailed below. In the past week (15th September – 22nd September) 1481 appointments were carried out, 619 of which took place in person.
In August there was a significant relaxation in the national rules around self-isolation and social distancing in wider society; however these issues have not changed in healthcare settings. Public Health England still require anyone working in healthcare to work from home should a household member have a positive COVID test, regardless as to whether the staff member themselves has a negative COVID test. At present we have several members of staff working from home due to these COVID-related infection control regulations. We are also required to operate under more stringent infection control conditions than prior to the pandemic, including maintaining social distancing in the waiting rooms and more thoroughly cleaning rooms and equipment between patients.
We have routine pre-bookable appointments available, but our largest workload continues to be on-the-day urgent appointments. In order to deal with all patients safely the most appropriate member of staff will telephone a patient in the first instance. A doctor is often not best placed to deal with many queries – pharmacists, paramedics and nurses have different skills and knowledge and are often better placed to help patients than the GP.
Thank you for all your on-going support and understanding for which we are ever grateful.
Dr Caroline Wight