Service update: Access to appointments from 21st March – 29th April 2022

Following our patient newsletter and updates last week on pressures on our appointments, below is important information about how accessing our service from today (21st March) until the end of April.

Our surgeries are open and we help care for hundreds of people in our community every day.  Please note the detailed FAQs at the bottom of the page too.

Who we are seeing:
Patients with urgent medical need
Every week we have more than 2,200 enquiries through eConsult or our telephone lines. 55% of them are clinically assessed (triaged) as patients needing urgent medical care either on the same-day or within a week. These are patients with a new or worsened health condition that need medical attention. Children, elderly and vulnerable patients are prioritised as part of this too.
We have capacity to see all these patients and will continue to do so.

Patients with planned, regular, ongoing care (i.e. appointments you are called in for)
All our planned, routine treatments are going ahead – for patients with long-term conditions (such as asthma and diabetes), as well as any routine checks and clinics (like baby immunisations, smear tests etc.). Patients who need  routine blood tests, injections, dressing changes are also seen as normal.

Our pharmacy team is supporting patients with medication queries, repeat prescriptions and providing advice, as well as supporting our prescribing team, who process over 5,500 repeat prescriptions per week.

Who we cannot see for now:

Our GP appointments are full for non-urgent problems
(that are not included above)
Despite employing additional locum GPs, practice nurses, pharmacists and paramedics to help support our patients, and starting a pilot with Push Doctor (a video GP service) demand exceeds our capacity and our GP appointment book for non-urgent medical problems (i.e. routine) is fully booked until the end of April.

By routine appointments, we mean issues where you are not hurt or unwell but want advice for symptoms which do not stop you carrying on with daily activities but that won’t go away or for  ongoing conditions that have not changed or worsened etc.

The wait for these appointments is currently over 4 weeks and further bookings have to be paused, allowing us time to catch up and clear the growing waiting list rather than booking in patients further and further into the future.

In the meantime, please use our website or your NHS App to read about your condition/symptoms and use: Consult Online from Home – Sovereign Health Partnership (webgp.com) You can also contact your local pharmacy for more information.

However, if your medical problem changes or becomes more urgent, please contact us. If a GP assesses you to need to be seen the same day or within a week, you will be.

How to contact us
Please note change to eConsult access hours
If you need to urgently see a GP, as outlined above, please contact us:

eConsult:
Our new eConsult access hours are Monday-Friday between 8am and 10am and 1pm-3pm.
These access hours have been reviewed in light of the demand, prioritising urgent care following our trial last month. We will continue to review this.

Telephone:
Our telephone lines remain open Monday to Friday between 8am and 6.30pm. 
Please continue to kindly try to keep our telephone lines free for patients who are very unwell and need immediate care or those who do not have access to the internet.

In practice:
Anyone in need of urgent care can also come into our practices, filling in a short questionnaire (eConsult Lite), which will be triaged by a GP.

How long is this change to routine appointment access for?
We will continually monitor the impact of this change and update you about the next steps and our service from May onwards.

We’d like to stress our commitment to seeing patients with the highest priority medical problems in our community. The situation is difficult, and we ask you continue to work together with us to ensure those most in need, can continue to be seen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Please find a comprehensive list of questions and answers here.