Update to Patients – 25th May 2021

Firstly, thank you to everyone for supporting the Surgery over the past 15 months and helping us get this far through the pandemic. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of our patients.

As you are aware, our doors have remained open throughout and we have made changes to the way we are working to keep our patients and staff as safe as possible. We offer a blended approach to consultations. We continue to offer face to face, on line, telephone and video consultations. When contacting the Surgery you are required to give the Receptionist as much information as possible when you phone in – this allows the Receptionist to book the most appropriate appointment for you and to prioritise those who need the most urgent care. Please note Receptionists are following guidelines issued by the GPs which they must follow.

We have opened up more ‘book ahead/routine’ appointments and the waiting time is back to pre-pandemic waiting times of 2 – 3 weeks to see a GP of your choice, again you will need to outline why you need to see a GP. If you submit an online query, once triaged if you need a telephone appointment you will be booked into the first available routine appointment. A member of staff will be in contact with you to ascertain your requirements, to check details or in some cases to request a photograph. Please note, this does not ‘bypass the system’ and you will not be prioritised for an appointment over anyone phoning in. We are adapting our systems in line with the lifting of restrictions and Government guidance.

We do not see telephone consultations being replaced completely with face to face consultations, we feel we need a range of consultation styles for our patients. Our list size has grown and we continue to take on new patients so demand is higher – our list size is higher than it has ever been. We are currently reviewing our staffing levels and monitoring appointment availability. The Surgery is very busy but we continue to see those ‘on the day’ who need to be seen.

Our Dispensary has been open longer for collections to allow for reduced footfall and easier social distancing, the department continues to operate a ‘one in, one out’ policy. Thank you to our patients who have observed this.

Dispensary Opening times are:

For prescription queries only:

Phone lines are open from

    • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm and 4.00 pm to closing.

Please note you cannot order your medication over the phone, queries only

For prescription collections:

 

    • Mon – Thurs                8.30 am – 12.30 pm and 2.30 pm – 6.00 pm
    • Fri                              8.30 am – 12.30 pm and 2.30 pm – 5.00 pm

You can still order your repeat medication via your online account, by posting a paper request in the external mail box on the wall, in the red box in the foyer or via our website.

Our patients have been fantastic at social distancing and wearing a face mask/covering – thank you and we ask you to continue to behave in the same way when using the Surgery.

We have spaced the chairs out in the waiting area, please use your judgement and sit away from others. If you are uncomfortable using our main waiting area for any reason please speak with the Receptionist. We will keep the tables in front of Reception and Dispensary as it ensures 2 meter distance between patients and our staff – this is to protect everyone. The self-check-in screen is now operational, please remember to use the antibacterial hand gel before and after use.

As many will know, we moved the Phlebotomy and Healthcare Assistant appointments to a consultation room in the basement, this arrangement will remain in place. It reduces the footfall in the main waiting area and is easily accessed from outside. We are planning further moves in the Surgery and look to move another service permanently to the basement rooms. We will let you know when this happens.

We will retain a consultation room in the basement for those patients to be seen who have a temperature, cough or other contagious symptoms. The GP instructs the patient if they are to be seen in a different room to usual.

We encourage all our patients eligible for a Covid vaccination to have one and we have a dedicated telephone line to book patients in and answer their queries; by calling 01594-545329 between 11.00 am and 2.00 pm you will speak with a member of staff who can help you. All eligible patients with a mobile phone number on their patient record will get a text from us with a link to follow to book their Covid vaccination and our contact number if you need further assistance. Those patients without a mobile number on their record will be phoned by the Surgery. We have been following this process since December 2020 when booking first started. On the electronic patient system we can see some patients have been contacted by us many times, by phone and by letter. If you have not responded to us we have removed you from the list but if you would like your Covid vaccination please ring us on the number above and we will re-invite you. You must be in an eligible cohort (as set out by NHS England) to get the vaccination.

We will be using a similar system later this year for booking Flu vaccination – we will come back to you with more nearer the time with our plans for the Flu clinics. Given the success of holding them at the Surgery last year, we anticipate doing the same this year. There is no news yet on booster Covid jabs for the Autumn.

Finally, please continue to respect each other and our staff. Please wear a face mask/covering on our premises at all times and use the hand sanitiser available in the Surgery. Again, thank you all for your efforts in keeping us and other patients safe when you come in.

We have a Facebook page for Mitcheldean Surgery where we also post news which links to the Forest of Dean GP Surgeries Facebook page for Covid vaccination updates.