Oct 092020

Unbelievably it has been 6 months since the onset of the COVID 19 crisis, and during that time the Simpson Centre and Penn Surgery have continued to offer a GP service, albeit with some changes, and following the guidance from NHS England.

The arrangements we put in place were to safeguard both staff and patients, whilst continuing to provide patient support for the elderly and infirm, as well as to patients with illnesses and conditions unconnected to COVID. We are very fortunate to have remained open throughout, despite some staff illness, as we are aware that some local surgeries have had to close for COVID reasons.

Very early on we moved to limiting the number of patients visiting the surgery in person and instead moved to telephone consultations. If a face to face appointment is clinically needed this was arranged. To safeguard staff and patients we introduced strict processes to minimise the risk of infection transmission.

The past 6 months have been a challenging time for everyone. Now that the lockdown has been eased, we are now operating at Covid Phase 3, as are all GP practices nationally.

Your health is our priority

The Simpson Centre and Penn surgeries are open as usual.

Covid 19 has not gone away so we need to remain vigilant and ensure we all follow the current guidelines. We all need to do everything we can to reduce the potential spread amongst visiting patients and staff, to ensure we are able to maintain a service to all our patients including those most at risk, the elderly, our cancer patients and all those who have been required to shield over the past few months.

‘ We currently triage all our appointment requests by telephone.’ Where possible we are offering telephone advice or a video consultation to avoid the need to attend the surgery.Dr. Jo Layng

As you can probably imagine, all surgeries are now experiencing an unprecedented demand for healthcare services, and we are seeing many more patients presenting with non Covid related issues. We know that patients can become frustrated as they did not contact us at the peak of the pandemic, and now experience some delays in the resumption and availability of treatment.  We know that patients are concerned that many hospital follow up appointments have been postponed and further concerned about when these will be re arranged.

Many patients who have a chronic disease such as diabetes or asthma, who we would normally call in for a regular review, have not been called in over this period and we are now working hard to ‘catch up’ on these reviews. It is important that we do this safely.

‘We are very grateful for your patience as we increase our non Covid related work again. It is likely to take us several months to complete this catch up and this may be delayed further if Covid cases rise again over the winter months’. Dr. Moona Rakhit ( Senior Partner)

All the doctors and staff are very busy, working hard to help as many people as possible at this time. We know that when things change as rapidly as they have over recent months, sometimes things go wrong, or patients feel frustrated by the changed systems that have been put in place, but please remember that this has all been put in place to meet government guidelines, and to safeguard the wellbeing of patients and staff.

In a few instances, staff have been subject to abuse or rudeness, and this cannot be tolerated. If you feel that you have not been given the support you would expect, please contact simpson.practicemanager@nhs.net. The doctors and staff are happy to receive feedback, and will work hard to resolve any issues.

We would also like to say that we really appreciate the kind words and gestures we have received from many of our patients.

The Doctors and the surgery support teams would like to thank you for your patience and understanding at this time.

The Simpson Centre and Penn Surgery

Appointment availability: We offer a mix of routine, 48hour access and on the day appointments. Some appointments have to be face to face.We are offering nearly 900 appointments each week with our doctors. We also have two duty doctors each day covering The Simpson Centre and Penn surgeries who can deal with up to 70 additional emergency on the day calls. Our nurses and phlebotomist offer as near normal a service as they can The midwife continues to work with us as do our health visitors, district nurses and palliative care teams.We continue to offer the majority of our nurse appointments: dressings, phlebotomy and some GP /Paramedic appointments outside to reduce the risk of Covid transmission.We have an indoor space dedicated for examinations that need to be carried out inside.   All staff seeing patients are wearing the required PPE and equipment and surfaces are cleaned between each patient contact according to public health guidance. We have had to increase face to face appointment times to allow for this.

Did you know? You can now e mail us with non-urgent enquiries by following the link on our website. (For example if you need a sick note or because we have asked you to send us some readings of your blood pressure or blood sugars (if you are diabetic)We can now accept photographs to help in diagnosis. Please ask reception to send you a link if you would like to do this when you book your telephone appointment. We can arrange a video consultation. If you would prefer this please let the doctor know when they call you.‘Ask NHS’ is an online triage and advice tool which you can access via our website. You can also make a telephone appointment with the surgery through this site if required.We have increased our staffing levels: During the pandemic we have taken on two new Doctors and have a third starting in October. We have two new nurses who joined our team in September.
  Working together – the ways you can help our surgeries provide the best possible supportto you Only attend the surgery if your enquiry cannot be dealt with by telephone, e mail or via patient accessPlease sign up for Patient access and order your repeat prescription online. This can be sent electronically directly to the chemist avoiding any need to visit the surgery.Please respond to any requests to book for a medication review.Please consider a telephone appointment like any other appointment. Try to ensure you are available at the time the call is booked and cancel the appointment if you no longer require it,or will not be available. We try to call around the time indicated however if we are delayed be mindful this may be because we have been delayed by another call or because we are dealing with an emergency.If your query is not urgent please book for the next available routine appointment. Please do not attend the surgery if you have any symptoms of Covid 19. Call 111 for advice.   Remember to wear a mask when you are asked to attend the surgery and follow social distancing advice. If you do not have a mask please call reception and they will try to help you. Masks are worn to protect you and our staff.
Flu clinics This year we are offering flu vaccinations to a much larger number of people. (Several thousand of our patients will be eligible for a flu vaccine should they wish).Providing for such a large number of patients in a Covid secure manner has taken a lot of planning. The Beaconsfield cricket club has kindly allowed us to use their site and we will be inviting the majority of our patients to attend there. Eligible patients will be invited by letter which will contain a bar code. Please look out for your letter and only attend the flu clinic when you have received an invitation. The most vulnerable patients will be invited first as per NHS England guidelines.

P:ublished in Village Voice October/ November 2020

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