We are open from 8.30am-6.30pm 5 days a week. We do not shut lunch times or afternoons. In addition we have extended hours until 7.30pm two evenings a week, plus alternate Saturday mornings for routine appointments.
Seeing patients with urgent problems:
We run an open surgery policy all day, everyone that has a medical problem (most commonly infections) who need to be seen that day will be seen. If the morning surgeries are full we will continue seeing any urgent cases that must be seen that day. In the afternoon if you call to be seen you will be put on the triage list for the duty GP to phone you back.
Being told there are ‘no appointments left today’ does not mean that we will not see you if you have an urgent need.
If you have a problem/question but feel it doesn’t need a face to face consultation you can call reception to leave a message for a doctor. The doctor will call you back between sessions that day if possible. You could also choose this as an option if you can not book an appointment with your preferred doctor at a time convenient to you.
Pressure on appointments
We are doing our best to offer all the services patients require, for example: offering a mix of routine and urgent appointments every day; checking and issuing prescriptions; answering phone calls; analysing and taking action with blood results and radiology reports; analysing hospital letters and taking appropriate action; looking after local nursing homes; and helping family/friends with social support for vulnerable people.
Unfortunately we are struggling against a national problem of both increasing demand and reduced investment in General Practice.
From 2005 to 2014 there was a national increase in GP appointments of 20% (ageing population, more complex needs, more medications, less hospital out-patient appointments, discharge earlier from hospital, ‘Ask your GP to do it!’). To compound this General practice funding reduced as a percentage of the health budget from 10.4% in 2006 to 7.4% in 2013.
This negative balance is leading to a crisis situation due to a shortage of GPs. Older GPs are opting to retire (30% say will retire in next 5 years). For the 3rd year 20% of GP training posts are not filled, and newly qualified GPs are not opting to go into partnership (family/lifestyle choice, pay level not worth the stress burden of being a GP and running a business). Many GPs are opting out of Partnership in General Practice due to burn out from the high stress level. We struggled to find a replacement for Dr Pugh but have now managed to employ a new partner, Dr Kanthi, who started in September 2015.
There is also a shortage of support in the primary care setting. Due to cuts ('efficiency savings') within the NHS there are reduced numbers of social workers, health visitors, district nurses and also places on NHS dentist lists.