Telephone: 01462 818620
Open 8am – 6.30pm Monday to Friday

Letter to Patients, July 2022

Dr. Baxter and Partners,

 

Robert Lucas Drive, Telephone: 01462 818620

Hitchin Road,

Shefford, Beds.

SG17 5FS

05 July 2022

Dear Patients of Shefford Surgery,

The Partners and I wanted to touch base with you all to let you know we are aware of and understand your frustrations, and to keep you informed of what we are doing to improve on the areas that we recognise are difficult.

Most of what we read is around access. The Big One! In December last year, we changed telephone providers and installed a cloud-based system which has more than doubled the lines coming into the practice. Every line in, has a person answering it from 8am -9am and we have a monitoring system which allows us to see how many calls are waiting and how long you have waited for.

This still doesn’t seem to be keeping up with the demand. To ease the 8am rush, we have introduced more pre-bookable appointments that are released throughout the week so you shouldn’t need to call at 8.00am for an appointment, you can call at 11.00 when the lines are quieter and book for later in the week or the next week. For example, if you called me now, I could offer you a GP appointment for Thursday this week. We strive to offer routine appointments within 3 weeks as per the national average and keep a very close eye on this.

We have just had another successful round of non-clinical recruitment with a number of new receptionists and administrators joining the team, please be kind to them while they are training. I know its frustrating to be in a queue and then put on hold whilst they may go to check something, but the kinder you are to them, the more chance we have of retaining them and then not having to restart this entire process.

You will of course, also be aware that there is currently a national shortage of doctors wishing to join General Practice. We recently advertised for a salaried GP to join our team and were very lucky to recruit a great female doctor who will be joining us later this year and we will do our best to support her so that she enjoys her work and stays with us for many years in the future. We would love to be able to recruit more clinical staff but are at maximum capacity in the Health Centre and have no clinical rooms left. We are speaking to NHS Property Services from whom we lease part of this building, to try and negotiate more space so will keep you updated with any progress there.

Shefford and the surrounding villages that we look after have grown at a rate that is unsustainable. The development in this area is ongoing and we are never consulted about the new patients that we are contractually bound to register, nor can we deny registering them or close our practice list.

This supply and demand problem of course is not unique to us, but an issue facing all GP Practices up and down the country.

In essence, we wanted to reach out to thank you all for supporting us through this challenging time, to let you know we are sympathetic to your frustrations and we are working hard to improve the service you receive under what are sometimes, increasingly difficult circumstances.

Please if you feel that you have suggestions for improvement, email in constructively to kelly.houghton@nhs.net, so that we can work together to shape a service that you are all happy with.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Kelly Houghton

Practice Manager