During the past three months West Timperley Medical Centre has had to radically change the way in which we provide service to our patients. These changes have been implemented following review of government guidelines and to keep our staff and our patients as safe as possible whilst ensuring we can continue to provide General Practitioner Services. We would like to sincerely thank all our patients for being accommodating and accepting of all the changes we have had to rapidly implement.
NHS England published a standard operating procedure which Primary Care must comply with. A vital part of this procedure is to minimise footfall through the practice and to operate a “remote management” appointment system. Therefore, at the end of March we moved very swiftly to a total triage model, cancelling a lot of face-to-face appointments and replacing them with telephone and/or video consultations. At this time we took the decision to implement askmygp an e-consultation system to ensure that there was a way for our patients to request assistance when needed.
We are still being advised to minimise footfall to the practice. This means that prior to being seen by a Clinician you will continue to be assessed remotely. This is best done by submitting an askmygp request to which a Clinician will either respond to via email or telephone. If the Clinician, after speaking to you, decides they would like to see you, they will either arrange a video consultation or ask you to come to an appointment. Please submit your request on a day that you are available to speak to the GP or Nurse Practitioner. We presently are NOT booking routine GP appointments. At this stage we cannot confirm when or even if we will return to pre-bookable routine appointments.
Services such as contraception services and cervical screening are returning to normal recall. Baby/child immunisations and baby 8 week checks will continue, as they have done throughout the pandemic. We are also encouraging patients to attend the practice for their routine blood tests and health checks, if they receive an invitation. The Clinical team is constantly reviewing guidelines and recommended recalls and should you receive an invitation then it has been assessed as in your best interest to do so.
We can assure you that we are cleaning all surfaces and equipment throughout the day, wearing appropriate PPE and taking all precautions so that we can protect both patients and staff.
We are also now asking patients to wear a face covering when they attend the Practice (since 15th of June). We have installed a screen around our reception desk as well, as a further level of protection between our staff and patients.
Where possible when attending for an appointment please attend alone, use toilet facilities prior to coming to the practice. You may wish to wait in your car rather than inside the waiting room. However, patients can wait inside, providing social distancing is adhered too. We have reviewed our clinic diaries to restrict the number of people attending at any one time. We have also implemented a one way system through the building. Entry is via our ‘normal’ entrance but we will ask you to leave via a side exit.
It has been a challenging time for all of us and we are so proud of our team here who have continued to work through every day of this pandemic. We would like to ask you all to respect this and hold onto this thought. Some practices have had to close, some have had to centralise some of their services, but we have done everything in our power to continue to run and deliver a local service by staff that you know. The team at West Timperley Medical Centre are doing everything they can to keep us all safe. Every decision made is in the best interest of our patients, staff and our community. If you do have any suggestions, comments or concerns, do please feedback to the Practice. We are always grateful when patients take the time to do so.
Tanya Burton, Practice Manager
Below is some further information on online consulting that we thought you may find interesting.
As well as helping to prevent the potential spread of Coronavirus, online consultations provide several additional benefits for patients.
Online consultations allow you to access a range of healthcare GP services through your smartphone, tablet or computer. This gives you a quick, convenient and simple alternative to visiting your surgery.
Online consultation involves clicking the askmygp link on our website https://my.askmygp.uk/?c=P91016#/. You will need to register your details the first time but there is no paper work to complete. You can log a request on the behalf of someone else but please ensure this request is in the patient’s account (not your own account). There is a link to NHS self help so this is a good avenue for queries such as how and when to get help for minor accidents and illnesses, bites and stings etc. Please consider reviewing this guidance prior to contacting the GP.
You’ll be asked to answer some simple questions and add details about an existing condition or new symptoms.
You can also ask any administrative questions or queries and get information about how to treat yourself.
Once you’ve submitted the form, you’ll usually get a reply within 24 hours. This might be treatment advice, a phone consultation with the GP or to ask you to arrange a face-to-face appointment.
Five ways online consultations can make your life easier
Online consultations offer a convenient alternative to visiting the GP practice and are rapidly increasing in popularity.
1. Save time
By consulting online, you don’t have to queue on the phone to make an appointment, and, because you get a response by the end of the next working day, you’ll quickly find out what care you need.
2. Avoid disruptions to your day
Many medical enquiries can be resolved without a face-to-face appointment. By consulting online, you’ll avoid these unnecessary disruptions to your day. That’s good news if you:
· Struggle to get time off work
· Care for others and can’t leave them alone
· Are housebound.
3. Use it any time
Online consultation forms can normally be filled out Monday to Friday – the service is switched off over the weekend. You can also complete them wherever you are – whether it’s your lunch break at work, on the train or in the comfort of your own home. If you have a health concern while you’re away, you can fill out a form rather than waiting until you come home.
Once you’ve submitted the form, your surgery will normally let you know the next step by within 24 hours (excluding weekends and bank holidays). This might be advice on what to do next or your surgery may decide you need a face-to-face appointment.
4. You’re in control
Online consultations help if you find it difficult talking about your symptoms face-to-face. This means you’re in control and don’t have to tell anyone else where you’re going.
Aside from the benefits they provide you, online consultations also allow us to make better use of GPs’ time and to prioritise the care of patients who need it most.
You can use it to:
· Ask about an existing condition or new symptoms (it’s important to include as much information about your symptoms as possible as this helps the clinician decide the next step)
· Get information about your condition and how to treat yourself
· Discuss a test result and request sick notes.
· Any administrative queries