A Message for our Patients – From all the Doctors and Staff at Kensington Park Medical Centre

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Thank you for visiting this page

  • IT IS IMPORTANT TO US THAT YOU TAKE TIME TO READ THIS MESSAGE.
  • It may be a little long but it will help you to understand the significant pressures we are under and how you can help us, to help you.
  • It also contains helpful information on accessing our services.
  • This includes changes to our appointment system from 2 August 2021.

General Information about the challenges being faced

It is safe to say that the last 16 months have probably been some of the most challenging times that most of us have  experienced in our personal and professional lives.

We have come across many unexpected challenges, sadness, feelings of despair and hopelessness knowing that so many things are outside of our control.

Accessing the Practice Safely

Access to the Practice will be permitted after you have been screened via the video door entry system. This is to ensure a safe environment for other patients, visitors and our staff. We also need to limit the numbers of people in the waiting room to reduce congestion and infection risk to vulnerable patients.

As a practice we felt it was important to reach out to all our patients following our reflection on this time and how we are moving forward at this practice to provide care to our patients.

We chose to work in the NHS and General Practice to help our patients.  Sadly, this has been severely hindered by the pandemic and the ongoing impact it is having on the NHS and General Practice.

We are incredibly proud of the efforts made by all  our staff in adapting to new ways of working at very short notice, continuing to come into work  every day to support our patients, at significant risk, not only to themselves but also their families.

Our Practice was instrumental in the early roll out of the COVID vaccination programme, much of this work having been carried out in the doctors’ personal time.  As a Practice we feel honoured to have been involved in such a massive undertaking to start the ball rolling on the path toward a return to some sort of normality.

As restrictions ease and life starts returning to normal for most people, the demand on healthcare and primary care has increased significantly. Aside from responding to the rise in COVID cases and the vaccine rollout we are now tackling a backlog of other health conditions both acute and chronic that have accumulated in the last 16 months in addition to the significant number of patients with Long COVID.

We continue to be guided by our colleagues in NHS / Public Health England.  Currently their advice for all NHS environments is the continuation of mandatory wearing of face masks / coverings and social distancing.

The guidance also allows GP surgeries and hospitals to continue with virtual appointments beyond the 19 July unlocking date stating – “Where possible and clinically appropriate remote consultations rather than face to face should be offered to patients/individuals”.  This is essential to safeguard the health and wellbeing of both vulnerable patients being seen and our staff.

We understand that there are many factors you are facing in your daily lives that are causing you frustration, including your healthcare.  We want to provide an honest account of the situation we find ourselves in.

Many patients have been very vocal about their frustrations in accessing NHS services or long waiting lists for a hospital appointment. As a result much anger has been vented towards members of our staff despite the fact that these matters are often outside our control. We believe it is important that we explain some of the important issues we are facing daily with our work and how you can help us to help you.  This is also in part, a plea, to some of our patients who we do not feel are respecting normal policies.

Aggressive, Rude & Abusive behaviour

Disappointingly, there has been a substantial increase in the number of patients who are being rude and abusive to members of the practice team.  We have sadly seen a big surge in abuse and threats to personal safety towards all staff in the past year, particularly toward reception staff but also our practice manager, pharmacist, physiotherapist, Health Care assistants & doctors.

This has taken various forms, including verbal abuse and shouting in person, on the phones, text messages, online-consultation, and written forms. Staff have also been abused when simply trying to do their job in inviting patients for Covid vaccinations. This has led to staff often feeling demoralised and some are at breaking point. This has resulted in a high turnover of staff and  difficulty in recruiting.

We come to work to do our jobs despite feeling tired, and despite feeling demoralised by all of the above.

We come to work to help you despite the constraints that we are placed in and the limited resources we have.

So, if it takes a few extra hours or days or weeks to complete routine tasks, please bear with us. We assure you we are working harder than ever to keep up with demand.

We would also like to remind patients that we operate a zero-tolerance policy and have a duty to also look after the health and wellbeing of our staff. Patients who do not follow this policy risk being removed from our practice list. We appreciate this is a minority, and the majority of patients continue to co-operate effectively and respectfully with us but aggressive behaviour is having a significant impact on the Practice.

Taking responsibility and management of minor ailments

We understand how patients are feeling (of course we are patients too) and have tried to provide various ways of accessing health care such as online e-Consultations.  However, we are finding that this immediate access has led to a number of patients contacting us at the very earliest stages of their condition, with the expectation that they need to see a doctor to immediately resolve all medical conditions, without taking some time to try any form of self-care or get advice from more appropriate sources, such as the local pharmacist.

With some simple self-care and attention, many cases of minor illness such as sore throat,  resolve themselves without needing attention from a doctor.  Self-help is not the same as “fobbing off”.

There is a vast source of information available to all our patients via the NHS website, e-consult resources.  Your local pharmacists are trained to deal with minor illness and many now have consulting rooms to manage these conditions.

We will always endeavour to provide the best care to our patients, but we also hope that our patients accept some responsibility for their own health, including following up on their results, allowing time for referrals or following management advice or attending / answering calls for booked appointments.

This is important because using appointments for minor ailments which can be self-managed, or dealt with by a pharmacist, means that there are less available appointments for patients who have more serious clinical needs, for example chronic diseases, heart disease, cancers, or for those patients who are vulnerable and at risk of serious illness.

Please note that we are not referring to serious illness or disease, and if you are seriously ill or are uncertain of what to do, then we encourage you to contact us or 111, or the emergency services if appropriate, as you would normally do.

We would like to remind you that we are providing a needs-based service. This means that we will endeavour to provide the best clinical care according to your personal medical needs.  It is not appropriate to provide investigations / medications / referrals simply because these are being demanded, unless of course there is a medical reason for doing so.

Covid Passports – Pressure on practices but we do not control the transfer of information

We are receiving a significant number of enquiries about difficulties with the NHS App and accessing COVID Passports and anger is being unreasonably expressed at our staff when the cause of most errors is not under the practice’s control.

Following vaccination, it is the responsibility of the vaccination centre to send details electronically to your GP record and this should then appear in the NHS App. We DO NOT have any control or responsibility for this. It is important to appreciate that practices are NOT responsible for providing your COVID passport, nor can we provide ‘evidence’ that you have had your vaccinations as you need the digital proof from the App.  These are available on the NHS App OR a paper document can be provided by calling 119 OR go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-pass/get-your-covid-pass-letter/

If you have had your COVID Vaccine in the UK and it is NOT appearing in your NHS App then you need to return to the vaccination site where you had the vaccination and ask them to check the recording of your vaccination.  This should be your 1st action and NOT calling the Practice. We appreciate this is frustrating, but it is not our fault and, in most cases, arises from a failure of the vaccination centre to correctly record your vaccination.

If you have had your vaccine abroad, you need to provide official evidence with full details of the vaccinations.  Please note this information MUST be translated to English for us to update your record.  Expecting this to be updated “immediately” is not reasonable as checks need to be made and we have so many other time pressures but will deal with this as soon as we can – usually within a week.

Changes being made to help manage demand

In order to try and manage the increasing demands on the practice, we have reviewed our working practices and would also like to remind you of the appropriate use of the services available to you, our patients. Please see the help sheets below.

Stay safe and well – from all the staff at Kensington Park Medical Centre

USEFUL INFORMATION FOR OUR PATIENTS

Booking Appointments will change from 2nd August 2021

You will be able to book routine appointments up to 2 weeks in advance with your usual GP. There will also be a small number of routine same day telephone appointments available for booking and these are released at 8.00 am and 1.00 pm daily ( except on Friday when they are released at 8.00am and 4.00pm).

Consultations

It is important to appreciate we have always offered telephone and face to face consultations, when necessary, from the earliest days of the pandemic.  hours

However, in order to follow infection control measures post Covid 19, most first appointments are telephone consultations. After discussion with your doctor you can still be seen for a face to face appointment when this is felt to be necessary.  Please remember to have your telephone with you when waiting for your call.

You will be given an appointment time and your doctor will call you between 2 hours before and up to 2 hours after this appointment time. However in most cases the call back is much quicker than this.

During your telephone consultation the doctor will be able to offer a video consultation or a Face-to-Face consultation when necessary.

If you miss your call, the doctor will call you one further time a little later on.  If you do not answer either call, you will need to rebook your appointment. So PLEASE make sure you have your phone with you to receive the call.

Urgent problems

If you believe you have an urgent problem (a problem that cannot wait 2-3 days or be dealt with via an e-Consultation), you can discuss this with our duty Doctor who will be triaging patients between 8.00 am – 09.30 am and 4.00 pm – 4.30 pm.  This is NOT A CONSULTATION; but is an assessment of your problem by the duty doctor who will advise on what you can do or who you can see to best help you.

One appointment/One problem

Please remember that for all access points to the practice, we still operate a one appointment / one problem (one e-consultation / one problem) policy.

We are limited to 10-minute appointments in which to discuss and advise and arrange further management and so need to use this time for one problem!

We understand that the past year has been tough and many patients are desperate to see or speak to their doctor for several medical issues. However, trying to deal with multiple issues in limited time can lead to rushing (which risks potentially missing important things) and an unsatisfactory consultation. In addition, It is unfair on other patients if our doctors run significantly late due to a patient expecting their doctor to deal with multiple problems in one consultation.

We have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic and remain here for you. If you do have multiple concerns or are unsure, please always start with your most troubling concern so that we can help prioritise your care. It is usually best to make additional appointments over a period of time if you have several issues to deal with.

Appointments running late

Please help us by making sure you are ready for your appointment on time. Unfortunately, delays can sometimes be unavoidable due to unwell patients who need additional time, or sometimes because patients attend late for their appointment.

Given that our clinics are usually full, if you cannot be contacted for a booked telephone appointment or attend late for a face to face appointments, then you may be asked to re-schedule your appointment.

We have and are still experiencing an exponential increase in the demand for GP appointments; however, the doctor is not always the most appropriate person to deal with your problem or, a telephone appointment may not always be necessary.  We have a range of other services available to meet your needs and deal with your problem in a more efficient and expert way.

SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR PATIENTS

Help from a Pharmacist

Did you know All pharmacists train for 5 years in the use of medicines & are also trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice?

You can get treatment advice about a range of common conditions and minor injuries, such as:

  • aches and pains
  • sore throat
  • coughs
  • colds
  • flu
  • earache
  • cystitis
  • skin rashes
  • teething
  • red eye

See this site for more information

https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/prescriptions-and-pharmacies/pharmacies/how-your-pharmacy-can-help/

Use this link to a pdf document giving more information

https://assets.nhs.uk/prod/documents/Pharmacy_LargePrint_InfoCard_WebAcc_2019.pdf

Submitting an Online e-Consultation

Via our website – www.kensingtonpark.co.uk.

Online consultations provide administrative assistance and medical help for NON-urgent problems. Please ensure you use the correct link for your submission (reception can help you with this) and please be mindful that providing sensible and detailed responses to all the questions as best as you are able, will help staff/GPs to help you more effectively. There are a variety of forms for specific medical problems, e.g. anxiety, cystits, headache, contraception and it is helpful to choose one that is most relevant to your query whenever possible. The questions can seem lengthy but cover important safety questions and in most cases are those that your doctor will need to ask. Taking the time to accurately answer the questions will assist the doctor in reaching a decision.

Please note that although you will receive a response within 48 hours you may be asked to provide further information as some medical conditions will need more time to be dealt with. Sadly, some patients have submitted abuse in these forms, which are saved to the clinical record, and this is not acceptable.

Repeat Prescription / Medication Queries

The most efficient and effective way to order your Repeat Prescription is via online access using Systmonline (from our website) or the NHSApp SystmOnline https://www.kensingtonpark.co.uk/online-services/register-for-online-services/

NHS App https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-app/

These requests are dealt with by our experienced Clinical Pharmacist.

The Clinical Pharmacist is also your first contact for ANY medication queries you may have.  The most efficient way to raise any such queries is by submitting an e-Consultation to the practice:

https://kensingtonparkmedical.webgp.com/react-consult-administrative-help?codeName=GEC_ADM

We encourage ALL our patients to sign up for one of the digital services for ordering your medication.  Please visit our website for more information or our practice staff can help you in doing this.

We do not accept requests for medication over the telephone as this can lead to serious clinical errors.

We do not accept requests for medication from your pharmacy as this has resulted in clinical issues and requests for inappropriate medication and led to wastage. NHS England have advised pharmacists not to do this but for patients to make their own requests.

Obtaining Results

Reception staff are not medically trained to give results or comment on these. Instead requests for results need to be submitted using an online form on e-consult which also avoids errors by ensuring the correct results are released. Use this link :

https://kensingtonparkmedical.webgp.com/react-consult-administrative-help?codeName=GEC_ADM#EC

This will also provide the facility to obtain copies of results, if needed. This is an efficient system and you are able to see the comments your GP has made on your result and whether any further action is needed. Please be reassured that if there is any urgent need for action to be taken then your doctor will contact you directly.

Requesting results at the reception counter also requires an online form to be submitted and to allow 48 hours for the response.

Muscle / Joint Problems

If your problem is related to your joints or muscles, or think you need am x-ray or scan, you should book an appointment with Kate, our very experienced musculoskeletal practitioner (First Contact Therapist). The doctors rely on Kate to make the initial assessment and of course Kate can refer on to other agencies, physiotherapy or your doctor if this felt to be necessary.

If you inadvertently book a GP appointment for this type of problem, the GP will simply refer you to our First Contact Physiotherapist for assessment.

Self-referral to Physiotherapy

Did you know that if you feel you would benefit from seeing a physiotherapist, that you can self-refer for treatment without seeing a doctor.

Go to the following website for arranging a referral

Counselling / Talking Therapy and Wellbeing Services

If you feel that need some help with your social wellbeing or mental health you can refer yourself to “Community Living well” which provides a range of services for our patients, including counselling, talking therapy but also help with Employment, seeing  navigators and for self-care. There is no need to speak to your GP, you can simply self-refer to:

Local Pharmacy

Your local pharmacy has trained, skilled staff are trained to help you manage minor ailments such as sore throats, earache, etc. – see above

111

111 online can help if you have a medical problem and you are not sure what to do.

Get medical help:

https://111.nhs.uk/?utm_source=nhsuk&utm_campaign=nhs_services&utm_content=nhs_111

When to use 111:

https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care-services/when-to-use-111/

Dental Problems

Please remember that we are not able to help with any dental issues.

Please go to your local dentist for any dental related problems.

Call 111 to check if you need urgent dental help

https://111.nhs.uk/

If you do not have a dentist call 111 or visit 111 online to get help in finding a dentist

https://111.nhs.uk/

Thank you for taking the time to read this important information. We hope this may make some positive changes and allow us to continue looking after you as effectively as possible.