From the practice:
As we, hopefully, start to come through the other side of the pandemic in this country soon, we find ourselves busier than ever before. The practice is still operating under pandemic conditions, which has meant big changes to working practices. Social distancing requirements and much stricter infection control protocols mean we have had to adapt the way we work.
NHS England told all practices in March 2020 that initial contact with patients should be by telephone or other remote means. We have had to develop new systems to help with this.
Throughout the pandemic, we have offered face-to-face appointments, where deemed appropriate by the doctor. We have introduced more extensive text messaging and video calling capabilities. The practice would like to stress that, after the receptionist has taken all the details, a doctor makes the decision about what happens next. The doctor reviews requests for urgent appointments and considers whether the patient needs an urgent or routine consultation and will direct the patient to the most appropriate clinician. A greater range of consultations with other highly skilled professionals such as pharmacists and physiotherapists is also available. Admin staff do not make clinical decisions but often have the unenviable task of relaying the doctor’s decision to patients. Please ‘Don’t shoot the messenger!’ Abuse of any surgery staff is totally unacceptable.
Autumn promises to be just as busy with possible Covid boosters and the usual flu jabs.
A new telephone system has been implemented to help manage the high volume of calls we receive each day and should help us to be more flexible and reduce waiting times for patients. In spite of the improvements, we are still finding it hard to keep up with patients’ needs. If things are a little slow, you are asked for more information than usual, or the member of staff seems a little stressed, please bear this in mind and know that we are doing, and will continue to do, our absolute best to look after you.
We are asking all patients to continue to wear masks and observe social distancing when in our surgeries beyond the 19th July in order to help us adhere to the NHS England guidance and to protect our patients and our staff. Many of the patients who attend our surgeries continue to be vulnerable to COVID-19.
Belvoir Health Group now has Clinical Pharmacist, Zara Williams and Pharmacy Technician, Jemma Ross on the team.
Here is a message from them:
Our pharmacy team work closely with GPs and other surgery staff to make sure patients’ medication is safe and correct. If you have a query about medication or a medication review, you might be asked to speak to one of the pharmacy team as they are best placed to help.
The Clinical Pharmacist’s role is to support and advise with medication queries from GPs, nurses and patients. Zara handles questions on side effects, compliance, reducing the number of medications patients need to take and making sure they are at the right dose. She will find alternative medications for patients if a change is needed or if usual medicines are in short supply. Clinical Pharmacists can prescribe medication and aim to ensure all patients’ medication is safe and accurate.
The Pharmacy Technician, Jemma, works to maximise safe, cost effective, best practice prescribing and to improve the quality of patient care. She helps with medication reviews, reviews hospital discharge medication and liaises with local community pharmacies. Pharmacy technicians are not able to prescribe or make clinical decisions. Instead they work under supervision of clinical colleagues to ensure effective and efficient use of medicines.
From Dr Kelly
Belvoir Health Group has set up a WellBHG team; a group of staff including GPs, social prescribers, admin team members, management and nursing staff. We have been working on initiatives to look after the health and well being of the staff but want to do more to help promote health and well being in our communities. COVID has been a very difficult time for everyone and we all need to take time to look after ourselves and others. GP surgeries are traditionally somewhere you go when you are sick, but we hope to make them places communities visit to stay well.
Here are some examples of what is already happening amongst staff:
- ‘Ta Jar’; a jar containing written notes of thanks to colleagues. These are distributed each month to recipients in the form of a thank you card.
-Belvoir Horti Group; a staff WhatsApp group sharing gardening tips and photos with each other. Gardening and being outdoors has been shown to improve mental health and well being.
-‘May Get Moving challenge’ where staff completed 250 hours of physical activity during the month of May, nothing like a bit of healthy competition to get moving and feeling great!
We are planning health and well-being initiatives within our community and will share further details about this soon. If any patients have particular interests or expertise in this field please contact us via the PPG.
NHS Digital are launching a new data collection programme called General Practice Data for Planning and Research, collecting information stored on family doctors’ IT systems on the treatment, referrals to hospital and appointments people have had over the last 10 years, as well as details of their mental health, drugs taken and diagnostic tests taken, unless patients opt out. Concerns have been raised due to the lack of information for patients on the implications of this prior to the original deadline for opting out in June.
More information is available on the BHG website, www.belvoirhealthgroup.co.uk, and at https://www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters. The date for opting out of this process has now been moved from June to the 1st of September. Please look out for any further information from the NHS before that date and then you can decide whether or not you wish to opt out. Any requests to opt out should be given to the surgeries by August 23rd so that they have time to process them before September 1st.
Everyone over the age of 18 is now invited to get a COVID vaccine. We strongly urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated and to make sure they receive both doses. Evidence shows that two doses of the vaccine give a very good degree of protection against severe illness from COVID 19. Sadly, the virus is still present in the community and as many people vaccinated as possible represents the best way for us to get back to normal. If you are still uncertain about having the vaccine, talk to a medical professional.
Dr Stratton is leaving the area for a new post in South Wales.
Dr Kelly becomes a new partner.
Dr Hall is back from maternity leave which also means that Dr Kennedy will be leaving. We thank him for his sterling service during a challenging time.
Next time you have an appointment at Cotgrave, look out for a wonderful piece of artwork, gifted to the surgery by Dr Stratton and done by his wife.