Over the last few months staff and patients at Caterham Valley Medical Practice have had to adapt to new ways of delivering and receiving healthcare in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. We feel that we have all managed to do this exceptionally well, with minimal disruption to services and we would like to thank our patients for their support and understanding during this testing time.
Sadly Covid-19 doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon and so we are looking at how we can continue to deliver high quality healthcare to our patients whilst also maintaining their safety, and the safety of our staff.
We are gradually reintroducing services that were temporarily stopped as a result of the pandemic, as well as implementing new ways of working. This is so that we can protect the most vulnerable patients at higher risk of developing complications from Covid-19, whilst still providing treatment and diagnostics for more common health issues. We are doing this in a number of ways.
Just prior to the pandemic we introduced a new website with the facility for patients to request help for their health problems digitally. We have found this system invaluable to help us assess and triage patient requests appropriately and we would thank our patients for adapting so well to this new system. We do appreciate that this access method is not appropriate for everyone and if that is the case our receptionists will complete the online request on behalf of patients over the phone although our GPs have noticed that if patients complete the online forms themselves then they get more information.
During the pandemic we have found that many health issues can be dealt with quite safely over the phone or by video which reduces the need for patients to attend surgery and allows us to implement social distancing more easily. Telephone and video consultations will be used more widely and will extend to not only GP appointments but also medication reviews with our clinical pharmacist, some annual reviews of certain long term conditions with our nursing team, and support from our Wellbeing Service. We would be grateful if you could be ready to take a call from us if you have requested help for your health problem so we can make the best use of our clinicians time.
However this doesn’t mean that face-to-face appointments will not be available. They certainly will, and in some circumstances are absolutely necessary. However these requests will still need to be triaged before an appointment is made. So please do not be offended if our Reception team ask that you complete the online form in the first instance.
To reduce the risk to patients and staff a Perspex screen has gone up in our waiting room and we have reduced the number of chairs available so that we can distance patients from one another. We would ask patients who do have appointments at the surgery to ensure they attend at their allotted time – if you attend early you may be asked to wait outside, if you attend late your appointment may be cancelled. This ensures we have enough room in the waiting room to ensure social distancing continues. If the waiting room becomes busy, we may have to ask patients to wait in their cars to be called in. We also ask that all patients use the hand sanitiser at the entrance and have introduced signage in the practice to help patients keep to the 2m distance rule. All patients will be required to wear a mask unless they have a health condition which makes them exempt which we know can be unpleasant but is necessary to help reduce the spread of infection.
These certainly are strange times that we are living in and we would ask you to please bear with us as we look to embed these new measures and adapt to this new way of working.