Covid-19 – a different way of working…

What hasn’t changed?

Highfields Medical Centre is, and has been, throughout the Covid19 pandemic, open for your health and medical needs. Our priority is to continue to maintain a safe environment for patients and staff. Contrary to some regrettable misconceptions, please be assured that we are open for your health needs.

What has changed?

  • The pandemic has resulted in major changes in the way General Practice operates and functions. We have been working hard under NHSE and PHE guidance to provide remote triage and consultations.
  • Patients can no longer directly book appointments face to face at reception – this is to ensure social distancing requirements are maintained to ensure your safety, and that of other patients and our staff.
  • Patients with long-term conditions will have their reviews mostly conducted either via telephone or video consultation. Where there is a clinical need, they will be invited for a face to face review.
  • Phlebotomy appointments continue to run, but are on a strictly pre-booked basis.
  • Baby check clinics continue to run, as do our immunisation clinics.

Vaccinations remain an important part of Healthcare and Disease Management and we encourage ALL our patients to attend their scheduled Immunisations, and not to postpone them. If you have any concerns about having your (or your child’s) Immunisations, please get in touch for a chat and discussion with one of our healthcare professionals.

Remote triage and consultations – telephone, video, eConsult (coming soon)

  • In line with NHSE guidance, we now operate a remote triage first service, via a variety of ways including telephone consultations, video consultations and are working on implementing e-consultations.
  • Many conditions can be managed safely remotely, but a Clinician will still book you in for a face to face review if this is clinically indicated to help with the management of your problem.

Why can’t I just book a face to face appointment whenever I want?

  • This new way of working is not to deny you a face to face appointment – it is to ensure that your problem is dealt with safely, correctly and as swiftly as possible by the correct team member, the first time round.
  • It is also to ensure that we adhere to social distancing regulations, which restrict the number of people we can accommodate in the waiting room at any one time.
  • It is definitely not about reducing our team’s workload – we have found that we are offering far more appointments than we used to, because there are now generally more appointments being offered in a working day, so in fact we have been working harder than we did before the pandemic.
  • Telephone and remote consultations are also more challenging and stressful for our Team, due to the lack of non-verbal cues when seeing a patient face to face. This is why it may actually take longer to consult someone remotely compared to a traditional face to face consultation.
  • We will continue to work hard to make this new way of working as effective as possible for you. Most importantly, it minimises any potential Covid19 risk to you, your family and carers, and our staff by ensuring that you are asked to attend the surgery only when it is clinically appropriate.

Thank you!

We know that changes are never easy, so the team thanks you for your cooperation and understanding, by NOT attending any of our 2 sites in person, unless you have a pre-booked face to face appointment arranged by a Clinician, or without prior discussion with a member of The Practice Team.

**Please DO NOT attend the surgery if you do not have a face to face appointment – please contact the surgery via telephone.**

You can contact us by calling:

Highfields Medical Centre 0116 261 6234 

Our phone lines are open 8am – 6.30pm (Mon-Fri, excluding Bank Holidays)

Belgrave Medical Centre 0116 253 4919 

Our phone lines are open 9am – 5.30pm (Mon-Fri, excluding Bank Holidays)

  • Our telephone lines remain very busy daily. Please be kind to our reception staff who are doing their best to assist you. We will not tolerate any abusive or aggressive behaviour targeted at staff or other patients. Any patients or relatives doing so risk being removed from the premises, and deregistered from the practice. You can read more about our zero tolerance policy here.

Possible outcomes after you contact us:

Advice, treatment, or signposting to alternative treatment via sms

  • Providing we have enough information in requests made, we may be able to provide you with advice or a prescription for your condition, or signpost you to alternative management options. This saves you from needing a face to face appointment at the surgery.
  • We currently use a software tool called Accurx to send you a text message, sometimes with useful links and attachments, hence it is essential that we have your up to date mobile number.

Telephone Appointments with an appropriate clinician

  • Sometimes it may be more appropriate for you to speak to a specific professional for your query e.g. a physiotherapist or pharmacist or social prescriber, or it may be that your query is best managed by the Clinician that knows you best, but who may not be working on the day you call.
  • You will be informed of this telephone appointment booking, usually via sms or telephone (please make sure we have your most up to date details).
  • A member of our team of Patient Services Advisors will always try and contact you at a convenient time for you, but please bear in mind that it may not always be possible to specify an exact time as this depends on any other urgent or emergency calls that the Clinical Team has to deal with on the day.

Video Consultation

  • You will receive a link to your mobile phone when the clinician is ready to start the video consultation. We currently use a service called Accurx, it is not necessary for the patient to download an app. Just click on the link you receive, and the rest is simple and straightforward.

Face to Face consultation at the surgery

  • Face to face consultations will be offered if a telephone or video consultation is not possible or appropriate to meet your health needs or query.

If you have a pre-booked face to face consultation please ensure you:

  • Arrive wearing a face covering, this does not need to be a surgical mask.
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided BEFORE using the touch screen.
  • Try to maintain a 2 metre social distance from other patients.
  • Try to limit the amount of time you spend in the surgery by not arriving more than 5 minutes before you appointment.
  • Attend alone, or with only 1 carer/parent as necessary.

What to expect when you arrive:

  • Clinicians may be wearing scrubs, PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) such as Visor, Mask, Gloves and Apron. This is for the safety of you and our staff, please do not be alarmed by this.
  • To reduce the risk of cross contamination we have locked our public toilets. Please try to refrain from asking the receptionist to use the toilet unless absolutely necessary.

General Practice in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is in crisis and asks patients for their understanding and help

 

General practice is in crisis, and is asking patients to change the way they treat the service.

 

Before the pandemic general practice was already in decline due to decades of underinvestment.  The number of practices had fallen by 778 (10%) in the past 8 years leaving 2.5million patients having to find a new one.  The number of senior GPs had plummeted by 4,685 (22%) over just 5 years.

 

Dr Nainesh Chotai (GP, Senior partner at The Glenfield Surgery and Chair of LLRLMC) said “consecutive governments have raised expectations without the required investment. We are asking our patients to recognise this, and help us to ensure that our limited resources are used for those patients with the greatest need”.

 

Despite this general practice had risen to the task of providing a safe service throughout the pandemic, and in March 2021 provided 4.9 million more appointments than in February 2021, and 2.3million more appointments per month than before the pandemic (March 2019).

 

In addition, general practice has delivered the majority of the Covid Vaccination Programme.

 

Instead of praising general practices, some newspapers have castigated them, falsely accusing GPs of not pulling their weight, and practices of closing their doors.

 

Dr Fahreen Dhanji (GP Partner at Latham House Medical Centre, and LLRLMC Board Member) said “unfortunately many of our patients believe the false impression given by the tabloids, resulting in mistrust, abuse and unwarranted complaints”

 

As hospital departments restart their outpatient clinics these are often done remotely, and they frequently expect general practice to pick up their work (for example arranging blood tests and scans, prescribing medication, arranging follow up, issuing sick notes) in addition to their own workload.  This further reduces general practices’ ability to help our patients.

 

Dr Grant Ingrams (Managing GP Partner at Oakmeadow Surgery and LLRLMC Board member) said “We need hospitals and other services to recognise that general practice is at breaking point.  Every time someone expects general practice to carry out additional unfunded and uncontracted work, this reduces general practice’s ability to meet the health needs of our own patients.”

 

General practices are asking patients to:

Be respectful and kind

Be self sufficient

Be prepared

Be thoughtful

Be Covid aware

Be patient

Be cancer aware

 

Dr Grant Ingrams added “Be cancer aware is a crucial message. We are concerned that there has been a reduction in people presenting with symptoms of possible cancer or other serious conditions.  We want patients to use services responsibly so we can see those with worrying symptoms without delay.

 

Dr Nainesh Chotai concluded “general practitioners and our staff have been affected like other members of our communities.  Too many of our colleagues, family members, friends, and patients who we have known for many years, have died or otherwise suffered.  Today, we are asking for our patients to work with us, and for other services to recognise our current limitations.  Together we can ensure that we focus our resources on patients with the greatest health need and get through this pandemic and the recovery period minimising the long term damage to the health of our communities.”