We are in the process of writing to all of our patients to inform everyone of some temporary and short term changes to accessing GP services over the summer 2021 (July – September).
The patient letter :
Thank you for bearing with us through these hugely stressful times for everyone. We have strived to provide you with the best service we can as we continue to navigate significantly increased demand and the constraints of Covid-19.
We are now writing to make you aware of some important but temporary changes to your General Practice which may affect the services you access over the summer.
From July to September 2021 we are entering a phase where we will have significantly reduced GP capacity for a number of reasons including unfilled vacancies and staff absence due to sick and compassionate leave.
Our number one priority is to support all of our patients to access healthcare in our community over the coming months. We will do everything we can to provide you with the right care based on your clinical needs and request that you work with us as we get through these challenging times.
What will be the temporary Impact to our services?
- We anticipate longer waiting times for a routine GP appointment. Nurse and pharmacist appointments are not affected.
- You may be seen by a locum GP and we will aim to book any subsequent appointments with the same locum GP for continuity of care.
- We will still provide urgent ‘on the day’ care, but please ask that you consider speaking to a pharmacist in the first instance if your condition is not serious.
- At very busy times in our urgent ‘on the day’ care centre; you may be diverted to another provider of GP services such as NHS 111, Loughborough urgent care centre or Oadby urgent care centre.
- You may be offered an evening appointment at Melton Hospital.
- Please be assured you will still receive healthcare appropriate for your clinical needs.
What we are doing about it:
- Permanent staff recruitment continues and new staff will start throughout the summer.
- We have recruited locum GPs to support capacity gaps at this time, and we continue to recruit more.
- We are asking our remaining GP team to do additional sessions.
- We are identifying where we can use other clinical staff to support our GP team.
- We are working to obtain additional capacity from other health care providers to support urgent concerns.
General Practice across the UK has seen unprecedented demand over the last 12 months and this demand continues to increase at an alarming rate. At Latham House we have seen a 63% increase in telephone calls to our Practice in comparison to pre pandemic rates and we are committed to working hard to support our patients.
During the pandemic we rapidly changed how we deliver services to keep you and our staff safe, whilst continuing to provide streamlined primary care services without ever pausing. We would encourage our patients to consider contacting us via Engage Consult for non-urgent matters where possible. Engage Consult is available at www.lhmp.co.uk.
How you can help us
Be self-sufficient. For minor symptoms try home remedies, look for advice from www.nhs.uk, or ask for help from a pharmacist.
Be prepared. Order your repeat medications well in advance. Sign up to the Airmid App to manage your repeat medications.
Help us to help you. Our call centre staff are required to triage all contacts to effectively signpost patients to appropriate support. They are working hard to find you the most appropriate care.
Be Covid aware. If you develop Covid symptoms do not contact your GP unless you have done a Covid test first. Do not attend at the surgery.
Be cancer aware. If you or someone you know have worrying symptoms, then please do not delay but make an appointment as soon as possible. See https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/symptoms/
Services available without the need for a GP: Many patients are not aware that they can access key services without the need for a GP referral. Physiotherapy and mental health support are available to patients without the need for a GP appointment. To download the leaflet of self-referral services please visit https://www.lhmp.co.uk/patient-self-referral/
We hope that this letter has helped to explain the pressures we are experiencing and why we cannot provide the level of service that you would like to receive and we would like to provide for this short period.
If you would like us to email you with future Practice information please contact us at [email protected] to confirm your email address and we will keep in touch.
We are sincerely grateful for your patience and support during this time and thank you for your co-operation and help to protect services and ensure they are targeted towards patients with the greatest need. If you do need to see us, please do not hesitate to contact us, so that one of our staff can assess your requirements and signpost you to the most relevant service.
Dr P J Atkinson
Q. You have recently told us that you have less GP’s than you need at the Practice over the summer. How has this happened?
We have recently written to all of our patients and stakeholders to inform them of some temporary and short term plans for managing patients for urgent on the day care and impact to routine GP services as a result of GP staff shortages from July to September 2021.
As a Practice, we are actively recruiting more clinical staff to our team and we have recruited some locum GP’s to cover patient lists for existing GP vacancies. We have also recruited more GP’s for our longer term plan and our new GP’s will be joining our team throughout July to September.
The current situation is as a result of unplanned and necessary leave required to support a number of our existing GP team. The reasons for the requested time off work include sick leave and compassionate leave. Our GP team are highly skilled, passionate and dedicated to providing quality care for our patients and supporting them with their own personal wellbeing is our key priority as their employer.
We continue to recruit to fulfil existing GP vacancies and we are also working to recruit more locum GP’s to support our healthcare provision over this period.
Despite our best and continued efforts we recognise that there will be an impact to our GP services and we wanted to be open and honest about this situation with our community.
All other services such as nurse and pharmacist appointments are unaffected and we would like to assure our patients that we are open and available to support their health care needs.
We are also keen to ensure patients have information about the availability of other sources for help. Many patients don’t realise that there are many services that they can access without the need for a GP referral. This information is available at https://www.lhmp.co.uk/patient-self-referral/.
We would urge patients to utilise these services and not delay getting the help they need. This will help us focus on patients with the highest priority needs.
Our number one priority is to support all of our patients to access healthcare in our community over the coming months. We will do everything we can to provide patients with the right care based on clinical needs and request that patients work with us as we get through these challenging times.