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Current situation at Ramsey Group Practice

November 2021

Good afternoon everyone, we hope you are having a lovely weekend. Thank you to all of you who sent us well wishes after our post on Friday regarding staff sickness. Its lovely to have your continued support.
As you have probably seen on both the UK and local news, GP practices have come under fire for "hiding away" "not seeing patients" and "being the cause for A&E being over run with patients". We can honestly say the last few months have been challenging. Not only have we seen a huge increase in demand but also sadly, a huge rise in patients taking their frustrations out on our staff.
The health service on the Isle of Man is undergoing significant change and we feel that some of our patients frustrations are because the changes haven't been communicated in the best way, therefore over the coming weeks we hope to address this by doing some "myth busters" and "frequently asked questions". We will be as open an honest as we can.
We thought we would start with:
"what is happening up there, you lot need sorting out as I can never get an appointment". We will do our best to explain.

We have remained open through the pandemic but the way we work has had to change as it has in the UK. Due to increased demand we have had to introduce some new ways of working along with new systems and policies. Our admin team have a set of instructions given to them from the GP's to assess the urgency of patients enquiries. Our admin team can book appointments for children, lumps, bumps, rashes, mental health issues, those that find it hard to communicate via the telephone, all nurses and health care assistant appointments. The GP's then triage their patients via the telephone and if they feel they need to see the patient, they book the appointment for them.
With Winter pressures and covid still being in the community, we are mindful that there are lots of viruses around and patients that need to be seen who have coughs, colds and temperatures. Our Jurby surgery is our designated surgery to see these patients during the Winter months. The afternoon surgeries at Jurby have been set aside for this purpose. If you are booked in to one of our "Winter planning" appointments at Jurby, we ask that you wait in the car and the clinician will come out and get you. This is so we can keep our patients and staff as safe as possible during this time. We have checked with Bus Vannin/connect villages and they will happily pick patients up and bring them to the Jurby surgery if they don't have transport and they are also happy to bring those patients who have any of the above symptoms. This is their telephone number: 01624 697440.
Lots of our patients like the new system, many don't. We are mindful that we still haven't got it quite right and some things need to be altered but we are working really hard to get the balance right for you all so please do try to understand.
We have recently been successful in recruiting three new extended role clinicians to our team. An Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) who I’m sure some of you have already met and a Paramedic who will be starting with us in December. This will give us more capacity for face to face appointments. We have also recruited a Pharmacy Technician to help us with our medicines management and also to help us get back on track with our prescription printing. We are currently issuing between 300-400 prescriptions a week. We have been over a week behind with these recently which we know has caused upset to our patients, but we are happy to announce we are now on top of these.
We thought we would share some statistics with you for the week commencing 08.11.21:
Patient contacts for all of our clinicians - 1,691 - this includes face to face appointments, telephone consultations and speaking to patients regarding test results, medications, medical certificates, letters and referrals.
Home visits - 48 - home visits can take each GP up to 2 hours per day per GP.
We had 34 patients who did not attend for their appointments in this week, depsite most to them being booked directly by the clinicain. They did not telephone or email us to inform us they were not going to attend so we could not offer these appointments to another patient sadly.
We also had 72 patients who did not answer their telephone when the clinician rang them back even though they were expecting the call. We know this is an area we need to work on and we are looking at trying to give a time that the clinician will ring back which we hope will be of benefit to the patients. The GP's do try two or three times if the patient doesn't answer the first time. Please remember these phone calls will come through as private or unknown numbers so please make sure your mobile phones are set up to receive these types of calls.
We do hope that this goes some way to answer the initial question of "what are you lot doing up there...."
We really are all trying our very best. We know at times we don't get it quite right, but there are lots of things we do get right which at times we forget especially when we receive such negative comments across social media platforms.
If we can do anything at all to help or you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our doors are always open and we welcome any feedback from you.
Please remember this page is normally only monitored out of hours so please don't be cross if your queries don't get an immediate response.
Take care everyone.


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.




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  

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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