GP practice staff are asking for your patience and support as they work through their busiest ever period. General Practice is still open and staff are working harder than ever to make sure patients and the public are kept safe and that you continue to get the care that you need.
Whilst legal restrictions such as social distancing and wearing a face covering ended in July in many settings, they remain in healthcare settings to keep patients, the most vulnerable and staff safe. This includes GP practices, dental surgeries and hospitals.
It may take longer to get through to them and you may have to wait a little longer for a non-urgent appointment at this busy time, but practices are doing all they can to get to you as soon as they can.
Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Additional safety measures, like wearing face coverings and limiting the number of people in practices at a time, are still in place for the NHS. This is to ensure that we can still provide effective services and keep our most vulnerable patients and staff protected.
“If your GP feels that a face-to-face appointment is required, this will be arranged for you and you will be seen by a GP or another appropriate member of clinical staff, which has been the case right the way through the pandemic. There are also pre-bookable appointments at evenings and weekends for those who need them. Simply ask at your practice for details.
“Most common conditions can be assessed and diagnosed by your GP via telephone or video consultation.”
Before the pandemic, our GP practices were already very busy. Now GPs are dealing with more patients than ever before. From January to June 2021 practices in Sefton organised a total of 824,422 appointments and prescription requests for Sefton residents, not including COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
The latest national GP patient survey that took place in March 2021 showed that over 80% of Sefton residents who took part, said their overall experience of their GP was good, and in some areas was above the national average. In addition, around 80% said they were satisfied with the appointment offered to them and over 95% said they had confidence and trust in their healthcare professional.
Dr Pete Chamberlain, local GP and chair at NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “GP practices are seeing a rise in demand which is higher than levels you would expect to see much later in the year during the traditionally busy winter period. We are working hard to treat patients as soon as we can and we ask for your patience while we do that.
“Most practices are still using a telephone first system to help manage the rising number of contacts, or asking patients to use their online service if possible, to ensure everyone gets the most appropriate support for their needs.
“As well as GPs and practice nurses, there are other health professionals like pharmacists, physiotherapists and social prescribers working to support our patients. Our receptionists’ role is to assign the right health professional for you, so they may need to ask some questions about your condition. They will treat your information in the same strict confidence that medical professionals do.
“This way of working is essential to helping us continue to provide our service, including seeing patients whose condition means they need to be seen by a GP.
“We’d like to thank all our patients for working with us throughout the pandemic and for still wearing face-coverings, following social distancing rules and for their continued kindness and support when using our services.”
Information provided by South Sefton CCG.