20/05/22: New Appointments System
We have been working closely with our staff and patients to identify some generic patient (and clinician) frustrations and have received some useful feedback. This, along with the feedback from our recent survey (which we still welcome you to complete), has enabled us to re-imagine our appointments system.
From Monday 13th June, we will be offering both telephone and face-to-face appointments. The general feedback from our patients is that they would benefit from a mix of pre-bookable telephone and face-to-face consultations. These appointments will be available to book by telephone, in-person or online. Click here for further information.
18/05/22: Patient feedback on Appointments
We have recently been receiving quite a bit of informal feedback regarding our appointments system, including some complaints that it is too difficult these days to gain a face to face appointment with a GP. We are of course both saddened and disappointed by this, as we at Pulteney have always strived to provide the best possible access for our patients, maximising the resources we have under the constraints of the NHS as a whole.
We are therefore keen to work with you to come up with a pragmatic solution, that will enable you to access us quickly and easily when you need to while recognising the limitations of our workforce. Please do help us by taking two minutes to complete this online questionnaire to help design the appointment changes that you desire.
Following your feedback, we aim to implement changes from Monday 13th June, and assess how successful these changes have been three months later on Monday 12th September, so please expect a second questionnaire to come out in mid-August to canvas your views.
Please stick with us during this time of change. We are committed to serving you the best that we can, and your co-operation to be able to do so.
With appreciation of your time and effort on this quality improvement project,
29/04/22: Important Service Update
The Pandemic has been a tough challenge for the NHS. It is not just hospital services that have been affected but also community NHS services such as GP practices. During this time, we have endeavoured to provide the best possible service to our patients despite unprecedented levels of staff sickness and departures. We feel that this is now a good opportunity to let service users know how we are attempting to strengthen the practice and redesign the service.
You may be aware that we currently have a ‘closed list’. This means that our Practice is not currently accepting new patients. This was approved by the Primary Care Commissioning Committee and the Clinical Commissioning Group in December. The purpose of the temporary closure was to help us focus on providing safe levels of care to our existing patient base whilst we work our way through recruitment process and business operational changes.
In the past few months, we have made progress with employee recruitment and retention including a Paramedic Practitioner and an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. We are also expecting a new GP to join us in October. With these additional roles, we hope to be able to reopen our list and start to welcome new patients once again.
Two of our experienced Practice Nurses have retired and we are actively recruiting into those vacancies. We are utilising locum agency nurses in the meantime, pending successful appointments.
You many have read our October ‘Polite Notice’ (below) which highlighted an issue around abuse to our reception team. We are pleased to report that abuse cases have reduced, and we are now seeing less of a turnover in reception staff, allowing us to complete their training programmes so they can deliver a high-quality front of house service. People often mistake reception signposting with “gatekeeping”. Please be assured that our reception team are not being difficult, they are trying to assist and signpost patients to the right person, first time. This is a work in progress, but we are making strides.
We have introduced a new service, the Prescription Ordering Service, a telephone medication requesting service. This went live at the end of March. Click here for more information.
A new telephone system is scheduled for delivery around June. This should make our telephone service more streamlined and fix some bugs regarding the dropping of some calls during busy times. Calls will be recorded so we can monitor quality and call queues can be managed and monitored better.
In addition to this, we are in the advanced stages of planning a new appointments system which will allow patients to choose if they wish to be consulted with by telephone or face to face. These appointments will be available to book by phone, online or in person. We are hoping to launch this early Summer.
04/04/22: Reduced Service due to Covid
We have had a huge influx of clinical and support staff having contracted Covid-19 this week. As with all healthcare settings, we can not allow these staff to attend the Practice to protect our patients and staff. For those staff affected, if they are well enough, they are working remotely wherever possible. You may find that we have a much reduced face to face offering this week as a result. We are trying to deal with this situation as best we can, so we ask that you are please patient with us during this difficult. Thank you.
21/03/22: Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) service
The POD service is going live on 29th March. Click here for information.
23/02/22: New Medication Requesting Service coming in March
We have partnered with Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon & Wiltshire (BSW) Clinical Commissioning Group's Medicines Optimisation Team's Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) service which will be going live at the end of March. This service will enable patients to call a specific number to request medication or to order via an email service or use an online form. This will be in addition to the existing service of being able to order via the NHS App or via TPP SystmOnline (if you are registered for online services). More details to follow in the coming weeks.
29/12/21: Reduced Service due to Covid
A few of our staff are absent from the Practice due to Covid symptoms. There are currently no PCR tests available in England to enable them to test and return to work following a negative result. As a result of this, we are operating on significantly reduced staff and telephone call queues may be longer than we would like. Thank you for your understanding and bearing with us during this time.
14/12/21: Suspension of New Patients
The Pulteney Practice with the support of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (BSW CCG), has suspended the registration of new patients with effect from 14 December 2021.
We are experiencing overwhelming demand on our services and we have not been able to fill GP vacancies due to a national and local shortage of GPs. The temporary suspension of new patient registrations will enable us to maintain a quality and safe service to our existing patients.
The Practice will continue to register newborn babies of registered mothers or immediate relatives in the same household of patients already registered at the practice.
We hope this temporary suspension will be short term and last no more than six months. The practice website will be updated when we are ready to start accepting new patients again.
The following GP surgeries in Bath continue to accept new patients who live within their practice boundary or you can check the website www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-GP to help you choose another practice to register with.
The Pulteney Practice
If you need some help and advice finding a GP practice, please contact the CCG at telephone number 0300 561 0250.
28/10/21: Polite Notice
We write this as an informational update during these busy and challenging times.
We are receiving feedback from patients that the telephone lines are very busy. We want you to know that we are doing our best to rectify the situation. We are also aware that calls are being ‘dropped’ and we are very sorry about that. It seems that this is happening at times when our phone lines are at capacity.
To assist with this, we ask if patients would consider phoning us outside of peak times, which are at 8.15am, lunchtime and early afternoon. Instead, if you call us at less busy times, we hope to be able to help. We are also talking to suppliers about a new system which should help increase capacity and improve access to the practice.
COVID booster update:
We are currently receiving up to 100 enquiries per day regarding these boosters, and to some extent this adds to call waiting times at reception. Boosters are only available to patients six months after the second dose. To book a COVID vaccine booster when your time comes, please use the national booking service, or call 119. The practice is not part of this booking service, and we cannot help you to book an appointment outside of the national service.
We do receive a lot of calls for issues such as tummy aches and runny noses that have begun only a few hours or even minutes ago. Whilst it is right that we hear about symptoms early on when they are severe, we will offer signposting for minor ailments to other valuable community services such as pharmacies, but for each call, this does take time and can add delays to those waiting in the telephone queue.
The need for politeness:
Our receptionists are valued members of the primary care team and do a fantastic job in helping everyone get the service they need. However, sadly, we have received feedback from them regarding abuse from patients. Clearly, we must ask that respect is upheld in every contact. It is well known that the NHS has a zero-tolerance policy towards abuse of any kind. We ask that we work together and avoid conflict whenever we can. Please be kind to our team. We really appreciate it.
Staffing and HR at the practice:
We have recently experienced a significant amount of staff absence in both clinical and non-clinical teams. Some of this is due to COVID but other factors also play a part. This will impact upon remaining members of the team and adds additional pressures to the service we provide. We ask that you please be mindful of that.
We are trying to increase GP appointment availability by recruiting new GP’s. However, GP’s are in very short supply and we are yet to receive any applications since our national adverts went out in June. We have asked the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for help and support in this regard and asked for permission to close our list to new patient registrations. This will enable us to focus on the service we provide to our existing patients. This is being considered by the CCG currently.
Despite these difficulties, we are recruiting professionals allied to medicine to help us expand our team and we are welcoming onboard several highly valued additional team members who are due to start work with us soon. Our skilled reception team will book you in with the clinician best suited to deal with your problem, and that may not always be a GP. Please be prepared to have your consultation with our experienced pharmacist colleagues, paramedic practitioner, nurse practitioners, first contact physiotherapists and other allied health professionals.
Thank you for taking time to read this message and for your patience with us during this time of extreme high demand on our service.