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29/12/21: Reduced Service due to Covid

A few of our staff are absent from the Practice due to Covid symptoms.  There are currently no PCR tests available in England to enable them to test and return to work following a negative result.  As a result of this, we are operating on significantly reduced staff and telephone call queues may be longer than we would like.  Thank you for your understanding and bearing with us during this time.

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Reduced Routine Service

We are all concerned about the effect of the Omicron virus and are aware of the warnings from the Prime Minister. As per Government advice, we are currently prioritising the patients who are in most need of medical help. By only ringing the surgery when it is essential, we can respond to our patients with the highest need more efficiently. 

It is important that you continue to put your health first so please continue to seek urgent medical help when you need it.

The call to support delivery of the new booster campaign makes it impossible for us to maintain all normal services. If you need routine care and your condition is stable, we may need ask you to wait longer than usual to arrange an appointment.

 

If you already have an appointment, there are no changes at the current time so please attend as normal.

 

We realise that it is frustrating to have to wait longer than usual for routine appointments and reviews, but we ask for your patience and understanding when contacting the surgery.

Before contacting the practice, please do consider self-help and pharmacy options such as these

 

Covid-19 Boosters

If you want to book or need advice regarding your 1st, 2nd or booster Covid-19 vaccine.

Contact the National Booking Service via www.nhs.uk or ring 119

Please do not contact the surgery

We do not have access to the Covid-19 booster booking system

Help us to keep you all safe and well by keeping our phone lines free for those who need urgent medical help.

Thank you

Dr Brunskill and Partners

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Suspension of New Patients

The Pulteney Practice with the support of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (BSW CCG), has suspended the registration of new patients with effect from 14 December 2021.

We are experiencing overwhelming demand on our services and we have not been able to fill GP vacancies due to a national and local shortage of GPs. The temporary suspension of new patient registrations will enable us to maintain a quality and safe service to our existing patients.

The Practice will continue to register newborn babies of registered mothers or immediate relatives in the same household of patients already registered at the practice.

We hope this temporary suspension will be short term and last no more than six months. The practice website will be updated when we are ready to start accepting new patients again. 

The following GP surgeries in Bath continue to accept new patients who live within their practice boundary or you can check the website www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-GP to help you choose another practice to register with.

The Pulteney Practice

Batheaston Medical Centre

01225 858128

www.batheastonmedicalcentre.com

Fairfield Park Health Centre

01225 331616

www.fairfieldparkhc.co.uk

Widcombe Surgery

01225 310883

www.widcombesurgery.nhs.uk

Bath University Medical Centre

01225 789100

www.umcbath.co.uk

Heart of Bath Medical Partnership

01225 613100

www.heartofbath.com

Combe Down Surgery

01225 832226

www.combedownsurgery.co.uk

Newbridge Surgery

01225 425807

www.newbridgesurgerybath.co.uk

Rush Hill Surgery

01225 446087

www.rushhillandwestonsurgery.co.uk

St Michael's Surgery

01225 428277

www.stmichaelssurgery.co.uk

If you need some help and advice finding a GP practice, please contact the CCG at telephone number 0300 561 0250.

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Polite Notice

We write this as an informational update during these busy and challenging times.

Telephone Systems:

We are receiving feedback from patients that the telephone lines are very busy.  We want you to know that we are doing our best to rectify the situation.  We are also aware that calls are being ‘dropped’ and we are very sorry about that.  It seems that this is happening at times when our phone lines are at capacity.

To assist with this, we ask if patients would consider phoning us outside of peak times, which are at 8.15am, lunchtime and early afternoon.  Instead, if you call us at less busy times, we hope to be able to help.  We are also talking to suppliers about a new system which should help increase capacity and improve access to the practice.

COVID booster update:

We are currently receiving up to 100 enquiries per day regarding these boosters, and to some extent this adds to call waiting times at reception.  Boosters are only available to patients six months after the second dose.  To book a COVID vaccine booster when your time comes, please use the national booking service, or call 119.  The practice is not part of this booking service, and we cannot help you to book an appointment outside of the national service.

Minor ailments:

We do receive a lot of calls for issues such as tummy aches and runny noses that have begun only a few hours or even minutes ago.  Whilst it is right that we hear about symptoms early on when they are severe, we will offer signposting for minor ailments to other valuable community services such as pharmacies, but for each call, this does take time and can add delays to those waiting in the telephone queue.

The need for politeness:

Our receptionists are valued members of the primary care team and do a fantastic job in helping everyone get the service they need.  However, sadly, we have received feedback from them regarding abuse from patients.  Clearly, we must ask that respect is upheld in every contact.  It is well known that the NHS has a zero-tolerance policy towards abuse of any kind.  We ask that we work together and avoid conflict whenever we can.  Please be kind to our team. We really appreciate it.

Staffing and HR at the practice:

We have recently experienced a significant amount of staff absence in both clinical and non-clinical teams.  Some of this is due to COVID but other factors also play a part.  This will impact upon remaining members of the team and adds additional pressures to the service we provide.  We ask that you please be mindful of that.

We are trying to increase GP appointment availability by recruiting new GP’s.  However, GP’s are in very short supply and we are yet to receive any applications since our national adverts went out in June.  We have asked the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for help and support in this regard and asked for permission to close our list to new patient registrations.  This will enable us to focus on the service we provide to our existing patients.  This is being considered by the CCG currently.

Despite these difficulties, we are recruiting professionals allied to medicine to help us expand our team and we are welcoming onboard several highly valued additional team members who are due to start work with us soon.  Our skilled reception team will book you in with the clinician best suited to deal with your problem, and that may not always be a GP.  Please be prepared to have your consultation with our experienced pharmacist colleagues, paramedic practitioner, nurse practitioners, first contact physiotherapists and other allied health professionals.

Thank you for taking time to read this message and for your patience with us during this time of extreme high demand on our service.

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