A GP practice is Derbyshire has written a very long letter to its patients explaining the challenges it faces caring for its patients – and its own staff – in the face of snowballing daily contacts. The problems they describe are common to primary care across the UK. Please click on the link.
To summarise our own requests to patients:
- Please use self-care options for minor and short-lived illness, such as NHS 111 online, the High Street pharmacy, or common sense.
- If you are low, anxious or stressed, please contact Lincolnshire’s Mental Health Helpline on 0800 001 4331.
- If you have a question about care provided by a hospital or another healthcare provider, please contact them first. If you have been advised – often wrongly – to seek an ‘expedite letter’ from your GP, please use one of our template letters.
- Understand that our trained Care Navigators will direct you to self-care, and services other than the duty GP or nurse, when it is appropriate to do so.
- When you do ask to speak to our duty clinician, please explain why! We often face well over 100 requests a day and need to be able to prioritise safely and effectively. ‘I am having an asthma attack and my usual treatment hasn’t worked’ is helpful. ‘Pain relief’, ‘Mental health’ or ‘I’ll only tell a GP’ aren’t.
- The duty nurse consultant or GP is unable to speak to every single caller in person. If its straightforward they will send you a message.
- The Surgery will normally respond to a request for same-day medical advice within 2 hours – often in a few minutes. In return we ask that you are available to take our call – by a landline, with mobile reception, not engaged and not unavailable at work. If we can’t contact you, you have effectively missed your appointment, and may not have the capacity to contact you again that day.
We need to work in partnership with you to manage call volumes to continue to provide safe, timely and effective healthcare for patients – you, your family and your community – when it is needed most. Please do your bit to give our hard-working team the necessary headspace. Thank you.