Some patients are worried that general practice is ‘closed’ because you can’t enter the surgery without contacting us first. In truth, we are as busy as ever, in many ways more than before.
We face a dilemma in our work – our most vital care is with very vulnerable people who need to come to the surgery for treatment. This means we need to keep the surgery Covid-free so that it is safe for them to attend for treatment. At the same time, other patients also get ill and we need to help them too. The more patients who visit the surgery, the greater chance that Covid will find its way in and put those very vulnerable patients at risk. So, we have to treat as many patients as we can without bringing you to the surgery, keeping face-to-face appointments to only those patients who need to be examined to make a diagnosis.
There is an old medical saying: ‘90% of a diagnosis is in the story’. By switching to telephone consultations, we are putting this to the test, with a little help from video consulting and photographs. We don’t deny it, this has been a challenge, for patients as much as for us. We miss the social contact with patients just as we all are in other aspects of life. We also regret the need to ask you to wait outside and having to deal with so much at the surgery door. We are continually look at ways in which we can make this more tolerable for you. Overall though, we think that we are achieving the balance of good, safe care for everyone while keeping the surgery safe for our vulnerable patients.
We look forward to the day when our doors are open again for patients to enter freely. With news about a potential vaccine this is starting to feel like a real possibility. Until then though, thank you for adapting with us, so that we can look after everyone and protect our most vulnerable by keeping the surgery safe.