Current Pressures

Many of you will be aware of the huge pressure we are currently under – not only do we have the usual increase in demand due to ‘Winter Pressure’ but the surge in poorly children has had a huge impact over the last week. All teams are working as hard as they can to manage this – dealing with this pressure is not easy.

We know that when we close triage early that this can be frustrating for patients and this decision is not taken lightly. We are aware of the knock-on impact on reception once this happens; having to tell patients we have no appointments, as well as the worry for patients that they can’t be seen that day. Closing triage early is done as we need to limit the number of patients that are expecting a call back and be honest with them so they know they may need to go elsewhere for advice or treatment and although this isn’t always as convenient as attending the surgery or speaking with one of our clinicians on the phone, we need to prioritise clinical care over convenience. We will absolutely always aim to contact anyone that calls with a medical emergency and this is why we ask you to let the receptionist know the reason you would like a call. We report our capacity daily to the ICB (on a scale of Green//Amber/Red/Black) – we usually report green or amber. For the last week we have reported red and this week for the first time we are reporting black. The definition for reporting black is: ‘attendance significantly higher than expected levels. Unable to meet all urgent demand. Pressure at a level that compromises service provision/patient safety’.

Patient safety is always our priority and our clinicians are working longer hours and seeing more patients in a day than they now deem safe or are comfortable with. Making decisions about someone’s health and treatment takes a great deal of consideration and is exhausting. We are not short-staffed, but the demand for our appointments is higher than it has ever been. We are constantly reviewing systems and processes to maximise our efficiency.

Please can we ask that we are all kind to each other and understand that we are all doing everything we can to see as many patients as possible. Closing triage is done for patient safety – good decisions cannot be made by exhausted team members.

We thank you for being understanding during this unprecedented demand.
Hanscombe House Surgery