Latest News – 19th May 2015
Smallbrook, as with all GP surgeries, is required to invite patients to come in for an annual review if they have any of various chronic diseases, eg. Asthma, Kidney disease. In the past we may have called a patient in for one condition whilst also separately calling them in for another, which used to lead to multiple letters to the patient and multiple visits to the surgery by the patient. We are currently trying to make this process as efficient as possible by calling our patients to come-in for an Annual Review with our specialist Nurse so that one appointment will cover all the required annual checks.
As part of this I am trying to make all aspects of the process more efficient – one good way for me to do this is to communicate with as many patients as possible via their email addresses. I can ONLY do this if I have your express consent to do so, it is not enough for us simply to have an email address for you. Therefore I would ask that you respond to me by the end of May if you DO NOT wish to me/the surgery to communicate with you by email. You may wish to bear this in mind if you share an email address with anyone but, of course, this is entirely your own decision.
One of the many comments I hear regularly concerns the difficulty patients experience when trying to see the same GP for their appointments. In particular, when trying to book an ‘on the day’ appointment we will struggle to offer you your chosen GP. This is because we manage our urgent clinical needs via specific triage appointments within the Duty Doctors clinic of that day – some of you may have experienced this process. The duty doctor clinics, because they carry with them specific duties and responsibilities, are managed on a rota basis. For your routine appointments please do note that you can always request to see your chosen GP – this may not be the very first available routine appointment but we will let you decide who you wish to proceed – see chosen GP or first appointment if this is the case.
I know many of our patients are surprised, and a little dismayed, by the number of different GP faces they see in the surgery and this all adds to the feeling that there is no continuity of care. There are various reasons for this and I would like to outline two of them. Smallbrook is a GP training practice and we see it as a vital role we can play in helping to maintain the high standards and numbers of future clinicians to work in general practice. It is often the case that these trainees – or Registrars – will only have a 6month placement at the surgery – or ‘here one minute, gone the next’ as it may feel to you who visit the practice. This is not something I see changing in the near future.
There is also the issue of the absence of our own GPs. In the past this has been managed by our colleagues from Frome Medical Practice coming over to Smallbrook for a few sessions so that we are still able to offer appointments. This has undoubtedly also helped to increased the notion of ‘new faces all the time’. We are trying to prevent this from being a concern and from August we will be managing our GPs in a different fashion. Rather than our Frome colleagues crossing the border to Wiltshire our own GPs will be covering each others absences. This does mean that individual GP working weeks may alter slightly so that Dr. X may not for example, work each Tuesday afternoon on every Tuesday throughout the year but we feel that this flexibility will produce positive benefits for both our selves and our patients. I have no doubt that you will all be keen to offer me your thoughts!
My thanks to all those who offered me suggestions for suitable sites for our new surgery. No dramatic news to offer at this time other than to assure you all that both myself and Polly are working hard to make progress. News to follow as we have it.