Dear Milman Road and Kennet Patients,
This message is to remind our patients of our best working practices at a time when some patients have experienced longer waits on the telephone and for routine appointments than we would wish. We are working hard to maintain a high quality of patient service but the surgery has been impacted by staff absence and an increase in workload as we move to COVID recovery. In addition, we have been delivering the flu and COVID vaccination programmes.
We note the National Guidance changes relating to the relaxation of COVID precautions, however, we await updates from NHS England relating to healthcare settings – therefore no changes have been made currently. Please continue to wear a face mask (unless exempt) and socially distance.
By following this guidance, you can help us to help you and all our patients.
1. Use online services. For routine enquiries we offer the Ask Reception a Question form. We aim to respond on the same working day for queries received before 4pm. Using this service frees the telephone lines for urgent and ‘on the day appointments.’ If you still prefer to speak to a receptionist, please avoid our peak time (8am-10am). Should you require a blood test sooner than the next available appointment, you can book a hospital test using Blood Tests – Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.
2. Respond to flu and/or COVID vaccination invites. Should you do not want to be vaccination, let us know and you can be removed from the relevant invite list. You can respond to a text reminder, call outside of the peak time, or send a message via the website.
3. Be COVID aware. If you develop a new cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell, it could be COVID. Please carry out a COVID test before contacting the surgeries. If positive, do not attend the surgery, as this could infect vulnerable patients or staff and lead to the surgery having to close for deep cleaning.
4. Think ahead. Order repeat medications in advance; there is a 72-hour turnaround for prescription requests and an additional 48 hours for the pharmacy to prepare the medication. Repeat prescriptions can be requested via the website by using our Repeat Prescription Request form.
5. Be self-sufficient. If you or someone in your family has a minor rash, signs of a cold, or other minor symptoms, it is often more effective to get advice from www.nhs.uk or ask a pharmacist, than to seek a doctor’s appointment.
6. Be patient. All health services have been significantly affected by the pandemic leading to backlogs; the surgery staff cannot change this nor can we have an appointment or investigation brought forward unless there has been significant medical deterioration. Surgeries across the UK are seeing an increase in complaints and each complaint takes time from important patient care. Before complaining, please consider if it is to an error by the medical services that needs investigation or relates to reduced staff capacity and backlogs which cannot be remedied at the surgery level.
While we appreciate the frustrations that have been caused by the pandemic and its impact on health services, we ask that we all remain respectful and show kindness. Surgery staff work very hard to support your needs and being rude will not improve the outcome.
We recognise the support of our Patient Participation Group in the preparation of this message.
Thank-you for your ongoing help and support and should you have feedback to help us improve your experience, please contact us via our Ask Reception a Question form.