To the majority of patients, we thank you for your continued support, understanding and kindness during the Covid pandemic.
We continue to operate in a way that does the most to protect the lives of our patients and our staff.
In line with national guidance, over 90% of patients are currently safely managed by video or telephone consultations. For those who do need to be seen face to face, all staff wear PPE and clean areas between patients. This takes time and reduces capacity. We are applying strict decontamination and social distancing rules, therefore, we are not having patients in the waiting rooms. Patients attending for a face to face appointment will be given a mask and gloves to wear.
COVID is still present and we are still seeing cases in our community and we still need provision for seeing possible COVID cases as well as home visiting services for those that are housebound. Following telephone or video consultations, any patient requiring an examination will be seen within our settings.
This means, in terms of restarting routine services, we are a long way away from what used to be. It is not business as usual, it is a new business as usual. A second wave is a real possibility and we are making preparations for this. We are being guided by the Royal College of General Practice, our CCG and NHS England to ensure we prioritise the right services and groups going forward. This includes our large care home community, those who are end of life requiring palliative care and advance care planning, those with suspected or diagnosed cancers, and those with mental health, dementia and learning difficulties.
With courage, commitment and teamwork, our staff have risen to the challenge that COVID presented. Working more hours than ever before, covering colleagues too high risk to do work frontline and putting their own (and their family’s) health and wellbeing at risk daily. We have innovated and brought in new technologies. We implemented changes in a very short period of time that normally would have taken months or years.
We are here for you and we thank you for your understanding and patience during this time.