A heartfelt plea to all our patients

Please do not shout or swear at any of our team. We are unfortunately seeing more behaviour that is unacceptable, and this will ultimately drive team members away and only make the service harder for us to deliver upon.

All our team members are doing their very best in difficult circumstances. To the majority of our patients who continue to be understanding and supportive, we thank you for your kindness, and appreciate your tolerance.

Demand for appointments has become significantly greater than capacity, and whichever way we try to manage our appointments to provide ‘same day’ demand or pre-bookable demand, there is simply not enough to be able to see everyone when they want it. We can assure you that we have recruited appropriate GPs and Minor Illness Nurses that would have been able to manage the increase in patients following the takeover of the Rothesay patient group, however this takeover together with an explosion in demand has made appointment availability scarcer than we would want.

We understand your frustrations at not being about to get through on the phone, at having to wait longer for an appointment, or not being seen on the day that you want.

We are due to implement a new phone system, but there have been delays with the team that are managing this for us which we continue to chase – however this system will introduce the ability to queue, rather than get the engaged tone when we are busy – so it will not make it faster to answer calls, as we still have the same number of staff picking calls up and helping patients. On the plus side, it will enable us to transfer calls between the two sites, which we cannot do at present, and so operationally that will be a significant improvement for us.

We also understand the desire to be seen in person, and we will facilitate this where possible and appropriate. Our pre-bookable appointments can be in-person, telephone or video – whichever mode of contact suits you best, as we understand that choice is important for you, and not everyone wants or needs to come in to the practice. Our ‘on the day’ appointments will be on the phone initially, and if the clinician feels that the consultation needs to be in person, then we will convert that appointment and invite you to attend one of our two sites.

It is frustrating, which we understand, but if you feel you need to talk to a clinician ‘on the day’ please call us at 8am that day or alternatively complete an eConsult which is on our website. We have GPs, very experienced prescribing Minor Illness Nurses, and a Paramedic working on our ‘on the day’ appointments – which is why the reception team will ask you for the reason for your appointment so that they can book you in with the right clinician for that day.

There are other services that are outside of the practice that are also sometimes better placed to manage your condition, for example the urgent eye service – and this is why the team will direct you to other services once they know why you are asking for an appointment that day.

Again, we thank you for your support and understanding.

Kind regards,

The Partners of Goldington Avenue Surgery