Health News headlines and Information

Bassetlaw practices continue to offer a high quality service for Bassetlaw residents

Bassetlaw CCG have applauded General Practice in Bassetlaw following a national independent Patient Survey that has shown satisfaction with local primary care services continues to improve across a range of areas.  In particular, patient satisfaction with local reception staff is one of the highest in the country. In addition, Bassetlaw GPs also recently won two National Awards in the category for safety and quality of consultations.

 

During the pandemic work to meet local primary care needs has continued whilst Bassetlaw practices have also continued to offer local COVID vaccination services.  By reducing the need for significant travel and engaging with local people directly, Bassetlaw’s network of primary care practices (called Primary Care Networks) have achieved very high levels of vaccination rates.  Anyone eligible and wishing to have a COVID jab can still access these local services.  A Bassetlaw CCG representative stated, “Both COVID and Flu vaccinations will continue to be offered as we move into winter and will be important to help individuals as well as our local community to remain safe and well.  Ask your local practice for more information or contact our dedicated email ‘helpline’ on covid vaccinations: bassetlawccg.COVIDVaccinationInformation@nhs.net 

 

While demand for local health and care services continues to rise across Bassetlaw, placing considerable strain on hard working staff, recent figures have shown that local practices offer substantially more appointments than the national average. Bassetlaw practices are seeing the equivalent of over half the population of the District every month.

 

In addition, the number of appointments provided the same day the patient contacted the surgery is also consistently high.  In September this was 240 per 1,000 population compared with a national average of 202.  The number of face-to-face appointments is also rising, increasing by 29% in September compared to August. 

 

Idris Griffiths, the CCG’s Chief Officer, stated “We recognise that some patients have struggled to access services in the way they did before the COVID pandemic.  We are working hard across all our partner organisations to improve access to services that will help us sustain being one of the highest performing areas in the country.  We believe we can do this more quickly with the support of our local community and local people.  We would encourage everyone to remain kind and considerate to our local health and care professionals who continue to work hard to maintain services. 

 

“Bassetlaw CCG applauds and wishes to express our thanks to General Practice staff for their ongoing dedication to support the needs of local people under such challenging times. We continue to be thankful for the commitment and hard work that goes into delivering high quality services for our Bassetlaw community.”

 

Further information about what alternative services are available locally to meet patient needs and the response to local queries on this topic can also be found via the Bassetlaw CCG website www.bassetlawccg.nhs.uk.

Busy Phonelines and Long Waits

Dear Newgate patients,

We want to apologise unreservedly for the very long waiting times on the phone when you ring the surgery.

There are many reasons for this, and I just want to help you understand why this is and what we are going to do about it.

The problem

1.)     The stress of working through the pandemic, the hugely increased workload, and the very busy phonelines have sadly taken a toll.

There are staff who have fallen ill (long term) and there are those who have left the practice due to the unrelenting work-stress. This has a direct impact on the availability of remaining staff to man the phones, deal with patients at the desk and sorting medical and nursing problems for patients.

2.)    Since the easing of lockdown, we have seen an enormous increase in patients contacting us for help. The pent-up demand of 16 months has led to patients bringing complex problems, some who are very sick. What is also clear is that many are bringing multiple problems all at once.

The sorting out of every individual person with multiple problems on the phone or face-to-face is taking a much longer time and this has also resulted in the longer waits.

To give you an example:

Newgate Medical group has over 30’000 patients to look after.

Previously the average duration of a receptionist phone call was 4 minutes. It is now 12 minutes. Therefore, you can understand that if > 20 – 30 people are calling at any one minute in the busy period and each one takes at least 12 minutes or longer, this inevitably creates longer waits

In the last year alone, the practice had 157,191 patient contacts - face to face and via telephone.

I can assure you all our staff are working our hardest to help our patients.

Certainly professionally, we have never worked harder or longer hours than at any time in our professional general practice life.

Improving the Situation

1.)     We are busy recruiting more staff to cope with the demand and workload.
Please give us some time to get them settled in and train them to do the best job possible.

 

2.) We also offer an online service for booking appointments, requesting prescriptions, and accessing your medical record – to sign up please follow the link

https://www.newgatemedicalgroup.co.uk/register-for-online-services

 3.) A new telephone system will be introduced at the end of September, which should reduce wait times.

4.) We have added dedicated prescription line, to help free up the phone lines for patients ringing for appointments and any other health enquiries.

I hope this communication helps to provide an insight to the challenges the practice is facing and what we are doing to improve our services.

Newgate Management Team