Medicine in an age of social distancing
Life has changed dramatically in the last few weeks in every walk of life. We at The Stennack Surgery have made significant changes to how we deliver healthcare whilst trying to keep our patients and staff safe and protected from Coronavirus/COVID 19.
We remain open for business. We can address your healthcare need, but rather than the traditional face to face consultation, they will happen by telephone or video link in the first instance.
We have all been instructed to socially distance. Although you are allowed to travel for healthcare, if we can manage your problem over the phone, or in another way, we can further reduce the spread of Coronavirus. The term used is "Total Triage", and NHS England has confirmed that this is how they want General Practice to operate during this time.
Let us explain a little more of how it will work in practice below.
How to "see the doctor"
Initially you will telephone reception as normal on 01736 793333. If a doctor or nurse consultation is needed you will be added to the same day's telephone call list. You will get a phone call back by a doctor (in time we may use our nurse practitioners). We aim for this to be your registered or usual doctor. If they are not working that day, it will be another member of the team.
The doctor may ask to perform a video consultation. To do this you will need a smart phone. You will then receive a text message with a link on it. Click on this link and it will load the consultation. It may ask you to download an app - "Whereby". We are using NHS approved software to do this and it is safe and secure.
- If we can address the issue with a phone call or video consultation then this will complete the consultation.
- If together we decide we can't complete the consultation without physical examination we will invite you into surgery or visit your home if you are housebound.
If you are asked into the surgery, Doctors and Nurses are likely to be wearing protective equipment (masks, aprons and gloves). We know that people can transmit Coronavirus with very limited symptoms. If our staff become unwell we will struggle to provide a good level of care to our patients.
You will not be able to pre-book appointments for another day. Everything will happen that day. If your doctor wants to follow up a problem they will ask you to call back in a specific time period (for example - in 1 week).
We know this is quite a change to how appointments have been run for many years. We have been very grateful for how understanding all our patients have been during this period of change. We do see real positive changes coming from this model too.
Tips to get the best out of telephone first consultations
- To maintain continuity with your doctor, know what day they work and call up on those days. See the staff page of this website for Doctors usual working days.
- Download the "whereby" app. We are using this app to do video consultations using your smart phone. Video consultation has been shown to be as effective as face to face consultation.
- Monday is our busiest day, we are quieter later in the week, please consider this if your problem is not urgent.
- If your hearing is not great it is ok for someone else to talk for you on the phone.
- As with all consultations, think about what you would like from the consultation and be clear about telling us what that is.