We are very aware of the significant difficulties in obtaining both routine and same day appointments, and telephone consultations.
There are a number of reasons for this and we hope that the following information will give you some understanding of the pressures, and how we hope to address these in the coming months.
We have a list size of 10,000 patients. We are unable to close our list as NHS England do not consider our difficulties to be any worse than our neighbouring practices.
Therefore, we have no effective control over the workload that can be potentially placed before us.
This is exacerbated by a transfer, without appropriate additional resources, of work from hospital to community services. This is getting worse.
As you will be aware there is a national shortage of GPs and the practice has been unable to recruit new GPs. We have however recruited 2 excellent Nurse Practitioners and now employ a Practice Pharmacist. Whilst we can delegate some of our work to other members of the team there are still significant pressures on doctor time.
We have gone from a situation of 5.25 full time equivalent doctors for 9,000 patients to 3.75 FTE doctors for 10,000 patients.
The home visiting load remains high, and the administrative burden of results, correspondence and NHS management is now divided among a smaller number of doctors.
Between 5-6 hours, out of an 11-12 hour day, is devoted to activities such as dealing with results, prescription queries, correspondence and other, non -patient facing, health related activities. This has an inevitable adverse effect on our ability to offer appointments.
We are planning to employ more office staff to help streamline our administrative processes and are looking to either recruit another GP, or, failing this, an additional nurse practitioner.
This will take some months and we hope that you will be patient and understanding of the pressures that are making General Practice an increasingly difficult place in which to work.
We are very grateful for your continued support and help.