Message from NHS England

To all our patients at Dolphin House Surgery

The following is based on a message from NHS England about help and support available from GP practices – November 9th 2021:

  • All the healthcare staff working in general practice are facing a large increase in demand for their services, so your patience is really appreciated.
  • This message helps to explain to you the reasons for some of the recent changes you may have experienced at your local GP practice.

Here at Dolphin House,  we finding that we are busier than ever before, delivering more appointments but in a different way.

We are sorry to hear the experiences of people who are finding it difficult to get through on the telephone or who are unhappy with the types of appointment offered. If you need to see someone in person, you still can. Unfortunately, until the end of the Covid 19 pandemic, we need to ensure that our main surgery its staff and, of course, its patients, are exposed to as little Covid 19 as possible. This is why we are unable, as yet, to return to the old system where patients were able to book their own appointments. You may remember those days – often times when you had to wait a long time to easily get an appointment. The only waiting time you have now is trying to get through on the phone.

Why are things different from before the pandemic?

 Clearly high numbers of people in England and locally continue to catch COVID-19, so infection control remains a high priority, especially in healthcare settings where there are sick and vulnerable people. To keep patients and staff safe we need to avoid crowded waiting rooms, and wear masks and PPE plus carry out cleaning between and after patient consultations. It simply isn’t possible for us to see as many people in person as before the pandemic. If we can meet your needs by a telephone or video call this will be safer for you and others and can often be quicker and more convenient.

Having said that, currently around half of our consultations are face to face.  We work hard to ensure that you receive the same high standard of care whether this on the phone, via a video call or in person.

With practices now doing much more work over the phone and due to the increase in the number of patients seeking help from their GP, including vaccination queries (for Covid, flu and shingles); unfortunately, some patients are finding it harder to get through on the phone and are facing long waits. We know this is frustrating and can be disruptive for you. We are really sorry for this and are working hard to improve your experience when contacting our practice.

Please do continue trying to get through to the practice on the phone when you need to but please try to self treat if you can and perhaps temper your expectations as to what we can and can’t do. The country is facing a shortfall of general practitioners and our practice is finding it difficult to recruit extra help for busy times.

Helping you get the right appointment for your needs

Our reception staff are trained to support you to get the right appointment for your needs and sometimes you might be asked to give information that you would prefer not to share with someone other than a doctor or health professional. It really does help to have this information in order to arrange the best action for you. You may be offered an appointment with a trained professional who works at the practice rather than a , if this is the best person to help you. This might be a minor illness nurse, a practice nurse, a healthcare assistant or a physiotherapist. Seeing a GP is just not possible, nor even best, in every medical situation.

We know that most of you will continue to treat your practice staff with courtesy and kindness. This is really important for all the staff at our practice and they very much appreciate it.  They are trying as hard as they can to answer your calls as quickly as possible. Please remember that we are unable to take prescription requests over the phone – the best way to request medication is via this website. Please also take a while to view the self-help information which this site contains.

Thank you for your patience and support during these difficult times.