Statement from the Partners

A statement from the Partners of Poplar Grove Practice, March 2022

The Partners, Management and Staff at Poplar Grove practice are committed to providing accessible, high quality care, but know we need to do more to meet the demands facing the surgery.

As with other parts of the NHS, current workload pressures in general practice are intense. We are still coping with the additional demand and constraints of the pandemic. GP surgeries, through primary care networks (PCNs), have shouldered the lion’s share of the COVID-19 vaccination programme alongside their existing workload.

General practice teams have never been busier than we are now, but we know that our socially distanced waiting rooms may not always reflect this. Practices have been able to adapt and innovate during the pandemic, maintaining and improving access, including using remote appointments. For many patients, remote consultations can be more convenient so they do not have to take time out of their day to attend the surgery.

We are working hard to improve access at Polar Grove and continue to listen and react to feedback from our patients…we will do this by:

  • Upgrading our phone system in early April: we understand many patients are either getting a constant engaged tone or hang on in a loop waiting to be answered. Our new system will improve telephone access into the surgery.
  • Offering a new online consultation option: We are working with “Ask First” to provide patients with an online option to access the surgery.
  • An active campaign to recruit more GPs: We know we need more GP appointments. We are actively recruiting for more GPs to join our team. Poplar Grove is a training practice and many of our GP trainees choose to stay with us after qualifying.
  • Creating more clinical rooms: We are making internal changes in the practice to create more clinical space for our growing team.
  • Introducing new roles to the team: From April we will have our Mental Health Practitioner and Physio join the practice. We have also successfully recruited 2 practice nurses who join us shortly.
  • Face to Face Appointments: Yes, we do offer F2F appointments but it will be a telephone appointment in the first instance. Even before the pandemic, thousands of patients were being assessed effectively and safely in general practice every day via remote consultations, whether over the telephone or online. A F2F appointment will be offered if clinically appropriate after telephone triage by the GP. This may be a F2F appointment with a member of our wider team e.g. paramedic, nurse, clinical pharmacist.
  • Working within safe limits: There are days when demand is so high that we have to divert to NHS111 to remain within a safe working limit. This is not something we like to do, but we must ensure we provide safe and quality care and work within our means.
  • We are open: Our front doors are open and will continue to remain open… we are not closed!

We understand the frustration of patients who were not able to access appropriate care when they needed it, but we are clear that is never an excuse for abuse or violence against staff. The majority of people who need support from NHS staff do so in a respectful way that helps us create a safe environment for all. Sadly, there are a very small number of people who can be abusive towards our staff… abuse is not in a day’s work.

We feel many of the frustrations as our patients do, and like all neighbouring GP surgeries, we will continue to work hard to meet the demands on primary care services.

Thank you for your continued support.

The GP Partners