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Current situation at Ramsey Group Practice


NEWS RELEASE



22 December 2020

GP appointments to suit individual patient needs

GPs across the Island continue to offer a mix of in-person and telephone appointments in line with an agreed approach to keep patients, staff and the wider public healthy and safe. 

 

Practices currently follow a standard operating procedure which has been jointly developed by the GPs and the Department of Health and Social Care. Patients are asked a number of questions when they call, to determine if they are high or low risk and thus whether any measures need to be put in place if they are invited to the surgery. The GP will then speak with the patient on the phone, to decide if they need to be seen in person or whether a telephone consultation is the best option.

 

This approach was established during the pandemic and is now embedded across practices, to maintain vigilance against the risk of coronavirus. Additionally, the mix of appointments has resulted in patients who need to be seen in person being seen more quickly than previously.

 

Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford said: ‘By making a decision about whether a patient needs to be seen or should have a phone consultation, GPs are doing what we have asked of them. It is not about minimising the numbers coming to the surgery, it is about allocating each patient the most appropriate appointment and protecting those who may not be in the best of health. And it helps ensure that patients who need to be seen by a GP can do so.

 

He added: ‘The effect of this in some practices has been impressive. Ramsey Group Practice for example has moved from a position where a patient might have to wait several weeks for a routine appointment to the current position where one is normally provided within four days. I know there is variation between practices in the proportion of patients seen face-to-face, but I am satisfied that all our practices are operating within agreed guidelines. I can also offer an assurance that where there is any doubt, the patient will be invited to come in.’

 

‘We want to keep our patients safe and well during the winter months when there are more colds, coughs and cases of flu about – so with seasonal illnesses an added factor, it makes sense to reduce the chances of infection of any kind being passed on at surgeries.’

 

Discussions have taken place with each GP practice on the Island and the department continues to monitor patient access across all practices. Recently, the department were present at a forum with partners from Ramsey Group Practice, local MHKs, Mr Allan Bell and members of the community, to discuss concerns raised about patients not seeing their doctor in person.

 

The practice confirmed that as a result of changes made to their system during the Covid period, the practice now has more daily contacts with patients than before. As well as offering longer face-to-face appointments than most other practices, the GPs continue to make a significant number of home visits, including seeing patients who are self-isolating. Phone consultations with those who don’t need to be seen in person are available on the day or can be pre-booked at a time to suit the patient.

 

Dr May Shiu Chan, Senior Partner of Ramsey Group Practice confirmed: ‘This has been a difficult time for us. The majority of patients have been incredibly supportive and appreciate that the practice has made changes both to prevent the spread of disease during the winter period, and to ensure those patients who need to be seen can be. However, a small number of patients have taken their frustrations out on staff at the practice and some of their family members, causing much distress, as our team puts in maximum effort to ensure optimum care of our patients.  

 

She added: ‘We are concerned that inaccurate social media posts have given the impression that the practice is not seeing patients. This has been very damaging for our practice, our staff and our patients. That is not the case, and has never been the case. It is really important that our patients know we are here for them.  If they have a medical problem that they wish to talk to a clinician about, they should call us and we will ensure an appropriate appointment is booked. Hopefully, following the recent meeting with the department, MHKs and Mr Bell, we have quashed the social media inaccuracies, and can concentrate all our efforts on looking after our patients.’  

 

In addition, Ramsey Group Practice assures patients it will continue to seek a solution to ongoing difficulties with its telephone system, which can affect patients calling at busy times. The surgery is part of the Government phone system, and the department is working with the practice to help resolve the problem. In the meantime patients are asked to be aware of the difficulties and that phones will be answered as soon as they can.

 

ENDS

 

Contact for more information / interview:

Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford MHK - 651527 

 

Notes for editors:

  • For further information regarding the Department of Health and Social Care click here
  • Follow the Department of Health and Social Care on Twitter @iomdhsc

 

Media contact: Marian Kenny, Communications Executive – 686243

Please see the current guidance set out in the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) sent out by the Department of Health at the beginning of October 2020.  The team at Ramsey Group Practice are following Government advice in order to keep our patients and staff safe during this current phase of the COVID pandemic. Appointments will be made by the admin team for the following:

Lumps, bumps, rashes, children under 14, medicals and all Practice Nurse appointments unless this can be dealt with on the telephone via Nurses triage calls. The admin team will also continue to make appointments for the Health Care Assistants.  All GP appointments will follow the SOP below.

Guidance for GP Practices on the Isle of Man –12th October 2020

GP Practices have remained open for patients during the covid 19 emergency period.  This guidance updates previous guidance and sets out the processes GP Practices should follow during this phase of the covid 19 emergency.

During this phase:

  • GP Practices should continue to be vigilant for potential cases of covid 19
  • Ensure that they work to the current SOP  which details the specific ways in which Practices should work
  • Consistently comply with the PPE guidance provided by the DHSC – set out in the appendix below
  • Providing treatment to patients
  • Every patient will need to be triaged and the most appropriate treatment provided. Face to face treatment should be provided where necessary and clinically indicated and safe to do so. 

Covid preparations for the first phase of COVID:

During the last 16 weeks we have telephoned over 1,000 of our vulnerable patients just to check to see that they have been coping and have everything they need.

The face of general practice is changing daily and we have to embrace change.  The surgery looks a little different now.  We have perspex screens across our reception area, this is to protect our patients and our staff.  These will now remain. You will notice some signs as you come in to reception, please take time to read them as these will guide you as to what to do next.  If you cant see anyone in Reception, please press the buzzer on the perspex screen and we will come to the front and help you.  You can now drop your prescription requests in to two post boxes, one in the porch and one in reception.  These are emptied throughout the day so please don't worry. If you have a sample to drop off, please leave this in the sample box in the porch and the Practice Nurses will come and collect them up to 10 am each work day morning.

In order for our admin team to answer the vast amount of telephone calls that now come in to the practice we have rearranged our office so each member of staff has a telephone on their desk which enables us to try and answer as many calls as possible.  We do have over 500 telephone calls a day coming in to the Practice, so if you can avoid peak times this would be appreciated. 

If you need to see your GP or Practice Nurse, please ring the surgery and we will take your details and they will call you back.  If they feel you need to be seen, they will book the appointment themselves and give you a time to come up to the surgery.  The telephone triage system seems to be working well at present, but as all new things, we will keep this under review.  

Please remember you can order your medication via this website or by emailing RGP.General@gov.im.  

Many thanks for you continued support and thank you from us all for being so understanding during recent months.  If you have access to Facebook, please join our page as we also post regular updates on there.



 
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