Dr Panesar responds to recent confusing media reports.
~ 2 months ago
17 May 2021
Our response to the recent confusing media coverage with regards to Covid-19 working and Primary Care to our patients.
Over the past few weeks there have been some confusing media reports which have caused a lot of anxiety for our patients and staff. We feel this negative reporting has caused unnecessary concern and distress and we wanted to clarify for you that your practice has been fully open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We have never closed our practice and our opening times have never been reduced at any stage including our evening appointments until 8pm on Mondays. We have always been open and treating our patients. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that we have needed to work differently to ensure you are safe and our staff are safe. This has included thinking carefully about the patients we call in to the surgery to limit risk and altering our consulting methods in order to ensure the safest provision of care to our community. Attending a health centre is different to a shopping centre as people attending a health centre are already unwell and the risk of meeting COVID-19 because of that is higher. We want to minimise that risk at all times.
As a clinical team we have been able to use telephone consultations, video consultations and imaging to consult safer during the pandemic. Our patients have been provided telephone triage as the first step with our most senior highly skilled clinicians for urgent problems. If a patient then needs a face-to-face review, they will always be booked from that triage call to a face-to-face slot safely. Routine telephone appointments have always been bookable in advance. Although our waiting rooms may appear quieter than they normally do, this is because we are working hard to deliver care in this safer way. We are ensuring social distancing in our buildings during the pandemic to reduce exposure risk to other patients and to our staff. Our appointments have also been more spaced out for this reason and to allow time for cleaning and changing PPE throughout the day.
In some situations, the changes in consulting have been very positive for patients. Some patients have told us that they really value the remote consulting to be able to receive high quality health care with a more convenient format. Reviewing of photographs of rashes or skin lesions has also provided excellent reviews of skin problems by allowing images to be zoomed and examined carefully. These changes in consulting methods have also allowed us to consult more patients during a normal day. Our clinical teams are now consulting with far more patients on a daily basis than before the pandemic.
The changes in the way we deliver care during the pandemic have been challenging for our clinical teams as well as for our patients. We all love seeing patients, consulting with patients is why we chose to be doctors and nurses and why we chose to work in Primary Care. We would like to reassure you that we will always book a face-to-face appointment to examine any patient when the clinical scenario deems that it is appropriate.
I have been a GP in this area for over 15 years and I have never worked with a more dedicated and committed team through hopefully a once in a lifetime event. Please be assured your teams are here and are working harder than ever in stressful times. Please be kind when contacting the practice to help our reception team to help you. The reception team do a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances. By working together, we can get through this difficult time.
We would all like to thank our patients for their understanding and support during this difficult time. We love working here and are passionate about improving the health of our communities and helping address all the health challenges caused by this difficult pandemic.
Dr Panesar and #teamIVY.