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why are GP services different

Why are GP practices working differently?

The NHS has given the following information and guidance about what to expect from your GP practice.

In order to keep staff and visitors safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, GP practices have had to adapt how they work. Like the rest of the health service, practices have made use of technology by introducing additional telephone and video appointments.

As the Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing, practices are continuing to keep robust infection prevention measures in place, and telephone triage continues to be the first point of contact. However, face-to-face appointments are being offered and you can still visit in person should you need to.

If you need to you visit your GP practice, your temperature may be taken on arrival and you will also need to sanitise your hands. We would appreciate your co-operation in ensuring you observe social distancing while in your GP surgery. There is clear signage to help guide you and chairs in the waiting room are positioned apart from each other. You should wear a face covering (unless exempt) if you need to attend the surgery in person.

Please be mindful that at times, workforces may be affected by Covid-19, so teams may be smaller than usual. Whilst we appreciate that this can be a frustrating and unsettling time, please rest assured that practices are doing all they can to manage patient needs during a time of increased demand. Thank you for your patience.

Although it remains a challenging time for all NHS services, you should not put off getting the care you need. Your GP practice is open and is here for you and your family.

How you can access support

There are a number of ways to get the help you need in a way that suits your needs.

  • Go online to nhs.uk or call NHS 111
  • e-consult service on your practice’s website and get a reply within two working days. You can also request medication, sick notes and bloods results through this service
  • Call your practice to discuss the most appropriate appointment
  • Visit your GP practice website and complete a confidential online form
  • Download the NHS App to order repeat prescriptions, book appointments or check your symptoms
  • For life-threatening emergencies, please call 999 or go straight to A&E

For healthcare needs regarding children, urgent problems or for those patients who are unable to access our online services, we ask that you telephone your practice and your call will be answered as soon as possible.

What to expect when you contact your GP practice

Practice reception teams will conduct an initial assessment over the phone to make sure that those with the greatest need are seen first. The receptionist will ask you some questions so that they can get you the right care, in the right way, by the right professional. This may not necessarily be a GP.

They will consider:

  • Who is best to help you.
  • What type of appointment best suits your needs.
  • Whether help from another health service is more appropriate. For example, a pharmacy or urgent treatment centre.

Practice reception teams and are trained to know about the care and services available to you.

  • They will know whether self-referral is available for certain services.
  • They can make appointments for your care.
  • They can direct you to new services you may not be aware of.

They are skilled in assisting with triage and treat all information in confidence. All staff operate according to strict guidelines and work under clinical supervision. You can trust them to treat all information confidentially. They are a vital part of your practice team. Please treat them with respect. Any form of abuse towards staff will not be tolerated.

Who might you see at your GP practice?

GPs work as part of large multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) who all support the physical, psychological, emotional, social, spiritual, cultural and economic aspects of a person’s care. Although these will vary depending on your practice, some professionals you may see at your practice include:

  • GP: a highly skilled doctor who support patients throughout their lives.
  • GP registrar: a qualified doctor who is training to become a GP.
  • Locum/sessional doctor: a fully qualified GP who works at the practice on a temporary basis.
  • Practice nurse: a qualified and registered nurse who can help with health issues such as family planning, healthy living advice, blood pressure checks and dressings.
  • Nurse practitioners: a trained specialist nurse who has undertaken additional medical education in order to provide advanced nursing care and to prescribe medication. Nurse practitioners can provide treatment and advice for many problems for which you may have seen a doctor for in the past.
  • Healthcare assistant: supports the practice nurse with their daily work and helps to carry out tasks such as phlebotomy (drawing blood), blood pressure measurement and new patient checks.
  • Pharmacist: a highly qualified expert in medicines who can help carry out structured medication reviews for patients with ongoing health problems as well as a range of other treatments.
  • Mental health practitioner: a first point of contact to give patients guidance, advice and treatment for mental health symptoms such as low mood, anxiety and depression.
  • Health visitor: a registered nurse who has received training particularly related to babies, children and pregnant women.
  • Podiatrist: treats abnormal conditions of the feet and lower limbs.
  • Social prescribing link worker: connects people with local community activities and services that can help improve their health and wellbeing.
  • Practice managers: manage the business aspect of the practice.
  • Receptionists and administration staff: provide an important link for patients with the practice and are your initial contact point for general enquiries.
What else do GPs do?

GP services remain very busy, providing more appointments than ever before whilst also delivering the winter vaccination programme.

In addition to this, their work can include:

  • Reviewing and acting upon letters from hospital specialists and patients
  • Signing repeat prescriptions
  • Immunisations
  • Processing referrals
  • Medication reviews and pharmacy liaison
  • Learning Disability reviews
  • Mandatory training
  • Death certificates and coroner reports
  • End-of-life care
  • Statements of fitness for work
  • Home visiting
  • Care home ward rounds
  • Managing national and local targets
Other important information

Tell us your experiences of using GP services through the pandemic

Valens Medical Group PPG

Valens Medical Group – get involved

Valens Medical Group Patient Participation Group

Are you a patient or carer at one of the Brockwell, Lintonville or Wellway GP surgeries? The Valens Medical Partnership Patient Participation Group (PPG) is looking for new members to help make services even better.

Being part of the PPG means understanding what patients and carers experience, having ideas and being involved in decisions about the range, shape and quality of services at the practices.

PPG members are volunteers and meet regularly (virtually at the moment). There is lots to do and it’s an exciting time to get involved.

For an informal chat with the Valens Patient Engagement Officer, Pat Rigg, email: pat.rigg@nhs.net. Pat can also put you in touch with an existing member of the PPG to hear first hand about what a great opportunity this is.

Find out more at the website.

 

Our Review of the Year and AGM

Our Review of the year and AGM will take place online on Wednesday 21 October, from 2.00pm and 4.00pm. Find out about our work and how we made a difference to people in Northumberland over the last 12 months.

As the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care says ‘People should have phone or video consultations with their doctors unless there is a clinical reason not to’, and that there had been a ‘hugely positive’ response to virtual appointments during the coronavirus pandemic, we will also have guest presenters talking about technology in NHS and social care services. We’ll explore how the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the move to online appointments and consultations, what has worked well and not so well, and what we can expect in the future.

You can ask a question in advance or at the Q&A session in our webinar.

Join us if you can!

Register for the Healthwatch Northumberland Review of the Year

Quarterly Report October – December 2019

Introduction

As a listening organisation working across Northumberland, Healthwatch Northumberland wants to hear what people like about health and social care services and what can be improved. We act on what people are saying, sharing their views with those who have the power to make change happen. We also help people find the information they need about services in their area and record this as ‘signposting’.

We receive feedback from people living in Northumberland about their experiences throughout the year. This report shares a summary of the feedback collected from October to December 2019.  The next report will cover January – March 2020.

 

This quarter we received feedback and enquiries from:

  • Telephone calls, emails and social media (31%)
  • Postal surveys and feedback forms (12%)
  • Talking to people at local engagement events (27%)
  • Through a meeting (27%)
  • Through a third party (4%)

Areas of Focus

We are open to all feedback about health and social care services. Responses to our Annual Survey helped us to identify three specific Areas of Focus which we are prioritising in 2019/20:

  1. General Practitioner Services (GP Services)
  2. Mental Health Services, including dementia care
  3. Access to Services

Aims

The report aims to increase understanding of:

  • Who Healthwatch Northumberland is hearing from
  • What people are saying
    • The general sentiment of comments
  • What people are experiencing
    • What is working well?
    • Where there are areas for improvement?

Feedback

Between October and December 2019, we received 26 pieces of feedback through talking to people at local engagement events, telephone calls, emails, our website, surveys and feedback forms and other sources. Alongside this, we signposted 17 people to services. Altogether we had 39 different recordable interactions this quarter.

This report explores who Healthwatch Northumberland is hearing from across the county, presenting a summary demographic information of those who got in touch. Demographic information includes location, gender, age, and whether the respondent is sharing their own health and social care experience or speaking on behalf of a friend or relative.

We also look at whether the feedback is negative or positive, with specific reference to the service type (e.g. primary care, secondary care, mental health, social care), as well as whether the feedback relates specifically to quality of care or access to services.

Read the Quarterly Report for October to December 2019

Quarterly Report – July to September 2019

As independent champion for people who use health and social care services, we receive feedback about what is working well for people and what could be improved, and share these views with those who have the power to make change happen. We also help people find the information they need about services in their area and record this as ‘signposting’.

The report below shares a summary of the feedback collected from July to September 2019.
This quarter we received feedback and enquiries from:
• Telephone calls, emails and social media (52%)
• Postal surveys and feedback forms (5%)
• Talking to people at local engagement events (43%)

 

Summary for feedback received between July and September 2019.

  • The average person feeding back to Healthwatch Northumberland is a woman aged between 65-79 from the Tynedale area. They are most likely to be feeding back about their own experiences.
  • They are most likely to get in touch with us by the telephone, email, or social media, or through engagement events we run in their local area.
  • Most people fed back to us with concerns or complaints about health services.
  • Most of our feedback is about primary care services. This quarter pharmacies and GP surgeries dominated the negative feedback we got about primary care.
  • Secondary care services also make up a large proportion of our feedback. This quarter feedback about a physiotherapy service dominated the negative feedback about secondary care.
  • We also continued to hear back about the loss of the Hear to Help Service, which was provided by Action on Hearing Loss.
  • Consistent with last quarter, most feedback was about people finding it hard to access services, rather than quality of care.
  • Healthwatch Northumberland had a total of 80 recordable interactions with people. 58 of these gave us feedback, 38 were signposted and 3 exchanged information with us.
  • We signposted to Independent Complaints Advocacy Northumberland, Carers Northumberland, North of Tyne Patient Advice and Liaison Service, and Northumberland County Council more than once this quarter, and at least once last quarter.
  • Almost half of the organisations we signposted to this quarter were voluntary sector organisations.

Read the full report for July to September 2019

Events

Listening Event: Annual Survey Blyth Sports Centre

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home. You can feed back as a patient or carer.

By telling us about the care you received you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what’s important to you, what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Blyth Library

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home. You can feed back as a patient or carer.

By telling us about the care you received you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what’s important to you, what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Hexham Hospital

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Morpeth Riverside

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Wooler

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

This event is being held in conjunction with Wooler patient participation group.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Morpeth Library

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved, and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event – Annual Survey Haltwhistle Leisure Centre

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

This event is the Bridge Project Employability Hub so if you’re there it would be great if you have a couple of minutes to talk to us.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Village Surgery

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Forum Practice

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

Listening Event – Annual Survey 2020 NSECH

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.