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Face to face appointments

Patients  have been able to see a doctor face to face throughout the pandemic.

At times, when Covid risk has been at its highest, a face to face appointment has had to be agreed with the doctor before it can be booked.

This has required a single call to the surgery by the patient and an initial telephone call arranged to discuss the problem. The doctor then phones the patient and if the problem requires us to see the patient, the doctor will agree a time for this to take place, often the same day if needed.

This only requires the patient to call once to the surgery, which is the  same as if they are booking a face to face appointment directly.

This system allows us to monitor the capacity and safety of our small waiting rooms and keep sick vulnerable patients away from those with symptoms of possible Covid 19. It also helps to protect our staff and so maintain our services. Inevitably we cannot see as many patients face to face as we did before, especially as the many patients seeing our nursing staff every day also need a face to face appointment.

We recognise that our telephone lines are busy at certain times of the day. Whilst we have tried to improve this over the last few years with a new phone system and more lines, this pressure is due to a recognise increase in demand for care that can far exceed capacity at times. Pre-bookable appointments can be made in advance but we try to leave enough ”on the day” capacity to cope with the fluctuations in demand.

Now Covid levels are falling again, and the level of transmission is lower, we will once again allow direct booking of face to face appointments as we did before the latest rise associated with the Omicron variant.  Patients will be asked a few simple questions by our receptionists before booking. We hope to be able to do this early next month as levels are now falling again.