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22 September 2021: An update on appointments at The Calverton Surgery

It has become clear that there is a misunderstanding in the community regarding appointments in the practice. We understand that it can be challenging to negotiate any GP appointment system, and assure you that we are doing our best to make things as efficient as possible for both patients and staff. Unfortunately the wider media continues to disperse inaccurate information about GP practices and this is causing significant distress for us all.

Please be assured that The Calverton Practice continues to consult patients both on the telephone and in person (including home visits), as has been the case throughout the pandemic. We still need to have a weighting towards remote consultations however, for reasons detailed below. In the past week (15th September – 22nd September) 1481 appointments were carried out, 619 of which took place in person.

In August there was a significant relaxation in the national rules around self-isolation and social distancing in wider society; however these issues have not changed in healthcare settings.  Public Health England still require anyone working in healthcare to work from home should a household member have a positive COVID test, regardless as to whether the staff member themselves has a negative COVID test. At present we have several members of staff working from home due to these COVID-related infection control regulations. We are also required to operate under more stringent infection control conditions than prior to the pandemic, including maintaining social distancing in the waiting rooms and more thoroughly cleaning rooms and equipment between patients.

We have routine pre-bookable appointments available, but our largest workload continues to be on-the-day urgent appointments. In order to deal with all patients safely the most appropriate member of staff will telephone a patient in the first instance.  A doctor is often not best placed to deal with many queries – pharmacists; paramedics and nurses have different skills and knowledge and are often better placed to help patients than the GP.

Thank you for all your on-going support and understanding for which we are ever grateful.

Dr Caroline Wight

Routine Appointments

As per our previous post, we have now reverted to our pre-COVID appointment system, whereby routine matters are dealt with in prebookable appointments and emergencies are dealt with on the day.

This is a positive move, and is essential for optimising and prioritising patient care. However, this will mean that there may be a delay to speak to a clinician about routine matters.  There is an unprecedented demand for appointments throughout the NHS at the present time, as we all deal with the backlog triggered by the changes necessitated during the pandemic.

All members of staff in the practice are working exceptionally hard. Unfortunately, it has become necessary to remind patients that our receptionists must be treated politely and with respect: they have endured several distressing encounters already this week. The availability of clinician appointments is not within their control, and whilst we understand that accessing healthcare can be frustrating it is not acceptable to treat our staff with anything other than courtesy.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

19 July 2021: Mask Wearing and Social Distancing Measures

Mask wearing guidance and social distancing measures will change from 19th July 2021 as per government guidelines announced recently. We must stress however that the same guidance suggests caution and recommends ongoing wearing of masks in closed spaces, small and crowded areas and where vulnerable people will be present.

National guidance also outlines NHS patients, staff and visitors must continue to wear face coverings in healthcare settings. As you will often be in close proximity to our clinicians and potentially other vulnerable patients when you come to us, we will continue to ask patients to wear masks on our premises and practice social distancing until further notice. This is to minimise disruption to our service and ensure those most vulnerable are still protected when accessing care.

Thank you for your understanding.

Appointment System

We are delighted that from Monday 21st June we will be restoring our appointment system.

Just over a year ago we moved to predominantly on-the-day doctors’ consultations, due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now in a position to revert to a standard appointment system whereby pre-bookable appointments will be available for any routine requirements (for example assessment of symptoms which have been present for some time, reviewing longer term conditions, discussing test results).  Same day appointments will be reserved for emergencies only.

At this stage pre-bookable appointments will all be for telephone consultations. The doctor will then arrange a face-to-face appointment if an examination is required. We may be able to open up pre-bookable face-to-face consultations at a later date, depending on the stage of the pandemic and the associated infection control requirements. Please telephone after 11am to arrange routine appointments, in order to keep the telephone lines available earlier in the morning for those requiring emergency care.

For urgent (same day) appointments the initial telephone consultation will be carried out by the most appropriate member of the healthcare team, as we strive to ensure that the “Right person first time” deals with your symptoms or queries.

We would urge patients to be patient with our reception staff as they help us all to adapt to the new system.

Thank you for your ongoing support. 

How to demonstrate your vaccination status for travel

From 17 May 2021, people in England who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can demonstrate their vaccination status for international travel. A full course is currently two doses of the Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccine, or one dose of the Janssen single-dose vaccine. Vaccine status will be available through the NHS COVID Pass service from: 

  • the NHS App which you can download from app stores 

  • the NHS website 

  • 119 - by requesting a paper letter

You will need to register to use the online services, if you have not already. It may take more than a week for your identity to be checked and verified.

If you cannot access the online services, and you have had both doses of the vaccine, you can request a paper letter from the NHS by calling 119. Only call 119 if you are due to travel outside the UK in the near future and have had your second dose (or one dose of the Janssen single-dose vaccine) more than 5 working days ago. It may take up to 7 working days for the letter to arrive.

This practice is not able to provide you with a letter that shows your COVID-19 vaccination status. Please do not contact the practice about your COVID-19 vaccination status unless you have been advised to by the 119 service.

When you're planning your travel, you should check the latest information on demonstrating your COVID-19 status when travelling abroad on the gov.uk website. Make sure there is enough time to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status before you are due to travel.

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NHS Friends and Family

If you would like to get more active, eat healthier, manage your weight, drink less alcohol or stop smoking, contact Your Health, Your Way (Nottinghamshire’s new Integrated Wellbeing Service) on 0115 772 2515.

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Access to NHS Dentistry

Access to NHS Dentistry is currently limited during the pandemic as all dentists have been asked to stop all routine “face-to-face” dental care.

However, if you need urgent dental care, help is at hand:

CALL your dental practice:

They will give you advice over the telephone and make arrangements for you if you need to be seen.

If you don’t have a dentist, find your nearest dentist and CALL them. You can search for your nearest dentist at: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist

You can also contact NHS 111:

You can ask for a translator if you need one.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 

If you’re deaf, you can:

Do not worry if you have COVID-19 symptoms, appropriate arrangements can be made to see you if you need urgent dental care.