Meeting was by invitation only due to Covid restrictions on numbers
Alex opened this ‘briefing’ meeting and welcomed the participants and in particular thanked the practice manager Lisa Smith for re-engaging with the group after such a long break.
News from the Surgery
The following notes were provided by Lisa Smith, the Practice Manager
PPG update 14th July 2021
Today is our first gathering since the beginning of the pandemic and we have agreed to have a face to face meeting at the surgery in a socially distanced setting with a minimal number of people present.
How have we managed?
At the beginning of the Pandemic as a practice we decided to split the surgery into 2 teams; this was to ensure that we could continue to provide a service to our patients whilst keeping our staff safe.
Each team worked a week on week off basis which ensured that at least half the team were shielding at home safely and available to come in and cover should any of the other team members be unable to work.
This way of working appears to have worked really well as we had no staff with positive tests during the first wave.
In total we have only had 2 staff members test positive and both self-isolated in accordance with guidelines.
Gnosall surgery have remained open throughout the pandemic and implemented
Amber rooms and Red rooms to enable us to continue to see patients where appropriate
Amber rooms were set up for patients with no Covid symptoms.
Red Room for patients with Covid symptoms (these patients used a different entrance to the building)
Patients were offered face to face appointments following a telephone triage call with a clinician if appropriate.
We did have access to the central hot hub for patients with Covid symptoms but as a rural practice we decided to see a majority of patients on site.
As I am sure you can understand the guidelines were changing at a rapid pace across the country and we were being bombarded with information: we did encounter a problem with PPE shortages but were supported by local organisations where possible to help us out especially in regards to hand sanitiser, Scrubs and face shields which was really appreciated.
We ran a very successful Influenza campaign which incorporated 50-64 yearolds as well as the usual 65+ and under 65's at risk. We managed to vaccinate a large number of the patients in the aforementioned groups and we thank our patients for working with us to make it such a successful campaign.
We have continued to undertake home visits, Cervical Cytology testing, blood test and other nursing services throughout and made some changes to the layout of the building to allow socially distanced working for our staff and patients.
New offices were created on the upper floor for administrative staff and a new nurse consultation room was organised so that patients who needed to be seen were kept separate from the main waiting area.
We have also had some staff leaving during this time and have had to adapt and recruit to fill these gaps. We have promoted some internal staff and changed the structure of work-loads to facilitate the changes. We have had Maternity leave temporary staff covering and for a time lost our trainee GPs to secondary care, which had impacted the capacity that we had available. However, I have to say that the staff as a whole have been very dedicated to ensuring that the quality of services we provided were maintained, working extra hours and being more flexible with their work patterns.
Since the vaccination campaign has been very successful we have found that the demand on the practice (and all practices across Stafford) has increased significantly and at a much faster rate than we anticipated. We are finding that patients are now contacting the surgery and wanting problems and queries to be solved immediately and we envision that this will increase over the coming months with the ending of restrictions and winter months that will soon be upon us.
We are receiving many more complaints from patients regarding services, timescales and chasing referrals with secondary care etc. Patients wanting to change pre booked Covid vaccination appointments because they are going on holiday and asking if they should self- isolate, wondering why they have not been invited for a vaccination when their friend down the road has, all of which is very time consuming.
We are not out of the woods yet with the pandemic and I can only see increased positive cases and perhaps future lockdowns in the coming months once restrictions are lifted.
What we are doing:
Amending the telephone message to reflect the changes
Offer a wider variety of appointments which include Telephone, Video and face to face availability, some available to book on line.
Chronic disease clinics will be restarted with immediate effect this involves 50 clinical indicators with most appointment being face to face.
We are waiting for further guidance on the Covid booster vaccination which may or may not be given at the same time as the Flu vaccination; these clinics will start from the middle of September.
We are working closely with our Primary Care Network practices to provide services
We will be welcoming our new GP trainee Peter Thomas and two new foundation year doctors in August
Recruitment of more staff, Reception, clinical
We have new Community Psychiatric nurse starting in August employed by the Primary Care Network to work across the three practices
Re-starting travel advice and immunisations for some of the vaccines
Getting all staff back into the practice
Blood pressure and height and weight machine now up and running
Self- check in machine in reception active from 19th July
Front of house now open
Politely requesting that patients still wear a face covering for appointments; to be removed by mutual agreement with the clinician
Face to face appointments to be seen in clinicians’ own rooms.
Patients still to hand sanitise before entering the building.
All patient contacts will still be triaged in regards to Covid symptoms.
Restarting Group Consultations
We have now scanned all of our Lloyd George (paper records) onto every patient's computerised clinical record and no longer hold paper records in the practice.
Waiting for further guidance form NHS England on the data sharing program (General Practice Data for planning and research) as this has that has not been communicated to the public effectively) Patients can currently opt out if they wish either on line of by completing a form which is available in the reception.
Not taking any unnecessary risks for both our patients and staff in relation to Covid. We will constantly be reviewing our policies and procedures and follow government guidelines
What we are not doing:
Ear syringing (patients can be referred for Micro suction at an alternative location)
Spirometry (will be provided by a more central location
Undertaking non- standard travel vaccinations such as Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis. (Patients will be asked to organise these at a specialist clinic)
We have a new Finance Administrator - (replacement)
We have developed one of our reception team to undertake Phlebotomy and is doing very well
We have changed our management structure to include an operations manager who deals with day to day queries and organisation for the practice
We will soon be losing one of our receptionists who is going to University to study healthcare and are currently advertising to replace
Dr Nnamdi Anagor has now finished his training and as a newly qualified GP moved on
Dr Philip Nnadozie will be leaving us in August as he has also now qualified as a GP and moved on
Information resulting from questions / discussion following Lisa’s briefing
There have been 352 positive Covid tests among the 8100 patients.
The hot hubs have been at Cannock and Rugeley
The partner doctors have been working 3 days per week at the surgery plus one day at home to catch up with record keeping.
Dr Maccoll has been approached but is not available due to other work commitments.
There is no budget available at the moment to able to offer Dr Green a position.
There were no missed appointments during the lockdowns.
Lisa asked for suggestions for other services that we might like to available at the surgery. Examples might be Mental Health or a Scanning Service.
The micro suction service for ear wax may be provided at another surgery but is available as a private service from various pharmacies.
Alex thanked Lisa for her input and generally for the surgery’s performance during these difficult times not withstanding that some have sought to complain.
The meeting closed at 4:15
The date and conditions for the next meeting will be decided and communicated in due course.