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Dr Panesar's Update and Zero Tolerance Policy
~ 5 months ago
13 April 2022

Update letter from Dr Panesar and important information about the practice Zero Tolerance policy after recent unacceptable incidents.

Dear Patients, 

We have all weathered difficult times over the past two years and although we are hoping things may improve the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over. There has been a troubling degree of misinformation on social media and our classical media which has led to unnecessary stress for our patients. 

Contrary to some narratives, we would like to reassure you that your practice has continued to consult using telephone triage, video consultations and face to face consultations as well as home visits throughout the pandemic. All these methods of consulting are needed in order to be able to look after the number of contacts we are currently being asked to respond to. Our clinical team are now consulting record numbers of patients every day, far more than our consultations rates in previous years. Our on-call team is consulting with record numbers of emergency calls every day, again far more than previous years. 

As we come out of the pandemic there is a significant amount of work to do to look after patients who have not been able to consult during the very highest times of covid-19 risk. Our clinicians will always choose the best way to consult in order to provide the very best safe care and we ask for your co-operation in navigating these changes and using our system. 

The NHS continues to require all staff to wear protective equipment and visitors to our surgeries to wear face masks. This is vital to protect our vulnerable patients and to ensure our staff do not contract covid requiring absences from work and reduced service to our patients. The UK continues to see over 250,000 people testing positive per week and just under 2000 deaths per week from Covid-19. Admissions to hospital remain at over 15,000 per week. Although Covid-19 may be less prevalent in the news it remains a risk that we must be mindful of with our vulnerable loved ones. 

Not all problems need a GP review. We have now had our first contact physiotherapists and our clinical pharmacists working with us and their support has been greatly valued by our patients. Consulting for medication or muscular problems is now easier and more comprehensive and we would encourage our patients to use the full suite of facilities we are able to provide. 

We are building links with our community pharmacies in our villages to be able to better work together with minor ailments to allow patients to receive timely management of common conditions. 

As with all areas of the NHS our practice continues to struggle with colleagues who have needed to be off work with Covid-19 isolation requirements and due to ill health. This is on top of a vacant GP position for which we have not received any applications when advertising for over 12 months. We understand the frustrations patients experience when navigating through primary care and as staff we feel them too. Our priority is to provide the very best care, but we are doing so in an environment which makes that aim ever so much more challenging. We would ask you to bear this in mind when using the practice. 

It is with great sadness having been a GP in our beautiful area for over fifteen years that I have to tell you all that over the past week we have had to complete responses to four zero tolerance episodes where our staff have faced aggression both verbal and physical. Although we do everything we can to help our patients this is completely unacceptable, and no one should have to face this level of threat. It is our responsibility to keep our staff safe and as such we would ask for your help in working with our team to better help you with an approach you would want returned. The practice is applying for funding for security equipment, and we would remind our callers that all calls are recorded and any further episodes of zero tolerance will be met with the full sanctions available to us which includes warnings or removal from our list. The vast majority of patients use our service appropriately and we hope this need not apply. 

We will shortly be working through home visits for Covid-19 spring boosters and calling our patients in for long term conditions reviews to address unmet need caused by the pandemic. We are using a new approach whereby invitations will more commonly fall on birthday months. We are also helping our local hospital management patients in the community who face long waiting lists. We are also helping our emergency departments cope with their unprecedented demands. Please help our practice to help you. Together we shall get through. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Dr Panesar and your Practice Team.