Wow! Our recent recruitment drive has been really successful; thank you to those of you who helped to spread the word. We will now have lots of people starting with us over the coming weeks and months.
However, please remember that they will need training when they start and to do that, properly takes time.
So, while that is going on I would like to ask for your help in order to minimise pressure on our existing staff, in particular the pressures on our phone lines and the incredible staff answering the calls. For those of you who have internet access, either via your PC, tablet or phone there is a wealth of information and advice available via our website or the NHS App. Please see if the help you need is available from these sources. If not, then use the eConsult option to put in your request. We know that it can sometimes seem repetitive and ask seemingly irrelevant questions but it is designed to be safe and pick up on potentially urgent and serious issues. By using these resource you will save yourselves having to wait for the phone to be answered and will make it slightly easier for others to get through. Those of you who absolutely have to phone please be polite, succinct and help our staff to help you by answering the questions they ask. The questions are designed to ensure you get the help you need in the safest and most efficient way.
I think it is also useful to understand that the problems we are facing are replicated across the country; it is not unique to Cranleigh, Waverley or Surrey. GP practices nationwide are facing the same problems of demand and expectation outstripping capacity and resources. We, at Cranleigh Medical Practice, are doing what we can by recruiting more staff but that is only part of the solution. We are often asked when things are going back to how they were but that is no longer possible. Some of you may remember the days before computers in doctors surgeries, when they used to write their notes by hand – their handwriting skills were legendary! Those days have gone and the benefits of computers are immense. In the same vein, the new ways of accessing our service are here to stay and bring numerous benefits.
Those of you who need to be seen urgently on the day will be seen. Our triage system via eConsult and the NHS App gets important information to our clinical team the fastest way so they can prioritise according to clinical need. Staff answering the phones need to gather the same information which is why they ask the questions of you that they do.
Throughout the pandemic we adapted to ensure we were able to continue to care for you, our patients. We introduced phone and video consultations for when it was appropriate but we never stopped seeing patients face to face when that was needed. These changes have had a knock on effect of reducing waiting times for routine appointments. There was a time when you might have to wait up to six weeks to see some of our doctors; those wait times are now down to about two weeks.
We introduced measures to keep patients and staff safe. These included the taking of temperatures on arrival for all staff and patients alike. All staff wear masks in the building and clinical staff wear additional PPE such as aprons and gloves. Covid has not gone away; we are seeing rising numbers of infections in our community. When the restrictions are lifted we will continue with all our precautions including the wearing of masks and social distancing within the building and we ask that you do too. Protecting yourselves and us from infections means that we can stay open and continue to care for you.