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Surgery News Spring 2023 Posted or Updated on 29 Mar 2023

It is now 3 years since NHS England overnight told GPs to revert to an entirely ‘digital/phone first’ system to try to ‘save lives’ and avoid the spread of Covid. Since then so much has changed. It has been tough for many people in our community from our young people forced to stay at home rather than being in school, learning and socializing to our shielding vulnerable patients suffering with severe isolation and the fear of catching a lethal infection.

We are so relieved to have been able to return to a near normal, predominantly face to face booking service again, thanks in the main to vaccines and growing population immunity.

We are very grateful to Dr Watts who came out of retirement and did nearly 3000 vaccines and to all the wonderful volunteers who helped us vaccinate so many patients. Our Rural Primary Care Network (Balsall Common, Meriden, Dorridge, Hampton in Arden and Arden Surgeries) had some of the highest vaccination figures for the whole of Birmingham and Solihull.

Keeping you up to date

We want to wish Dr John Davenport a happy, healthy and long retirement. He has been a GP at Dorridge since 1989 and has provided amazing care for our patients over this time. He has been a GP Trainer and has also been the Lead GP for Solihull Locality on the Birmingham and Solihull Governing Board. A few years ago, he was awarded the ‘Fellowship of the Royal College of GPs’ for his excellent service to General Practice. He will continue to do some leadership work for our Primary Care Network and may be helping us out at times in a locum GP Capacity to cover GP annual leave.        

We are very happy to have welcomed Dr Farhat Mahmood and Dr Arjun Keshri as GP Partners at the Surgery during the last 15 months. They have both trained and worked at the surgery for a number of years.

We are very pleased to have recruited a new GP to our team since September 2022, Dr Amy Tooze.

We have also welcomed Dr Page back from Maternity leave and we are grateful to Dr Usmani for covering Dr Page’s Maternity locum.

The rest of our GP team composes of Dr Reid, Dr Markham, Dr Wevill and Dr Lim, all who have been at Dorridge for many years. We are very lucky to have such a stable GP work force as in many parts of the country it is very difficult to replace retired GPs. We are grateful to Dr Zahid Mashedi for his continued support in providing consistent locum cover. 

This year we have 2 excellent experienced Senior GP Registrars training in the practice Dr Ify Okoronkwo and Dr Maryam Dar. Within the next 12 months they will both be fully trained GPs.

We have a very strong nursing team currently comprising of Rebecca Beckett, Samantha Breeze, Louise Dunnion, Sharon Peacey (Senior Nurses), Abigail Jones (Nurse Associate), Tracey Perks (Health care Assistant) and Mary Fraser (Phlebotomist). This team do an immense amount of work to keep our patients as well as possible through their management of chronic diseases such as Diabetes, Severe mental health conditions, Heart disease, Cancer, COPD and Asthma. They are also doing a lot of work to get our patients up to date with the many vaccines they are eligible for such as Pneumonia, Shingles, Covid and Flu. They are currently rolling out NHS 5-yearly health checks to our eligible patients. They have achieved very high percentages for our child hood vaccines and smear targets.

GPs across the country are struggling to recruit and retain their staff. There has been a significant drop in GP numbers whilst the population grows in number, age and medical complexity. There are terrible backlogs in the hospital system with many of our patients waiting months and years for routine outpatient appointments and hospital treatment.

The local hospitals are not yet back to their pre pandemic workload.

It is very frustrating for everyone.

As a direct consequence in General Practice we have seen an increase in our workload.  We are now managing many conditions that previously were managed in hospital clinics.

On a more positive note at Dorridge we now have a Physiotherapist who can assess joint problems. We have a Paramedic who is able to assess minor illness cases and a Pharmacist to do complex medication reviews. We also have a Social Prescriber who can help patients access extra support where needed.

Trying to provide enough appointments in spite of filling our building to capacity with staff is always a challenge.  Every room is occupied!

We are trying to use our appointments appropriately, which is why you are asked by our Reception team for brief details of why you need an appointment. This is so that you are booked in with the most appropriate member of our team at the time to save wasting any precious appointments. 

We always keep a significant number of appointments to be released at 8am as we find many patients want an ‘on the day’ appointment.  

There is a variety of pre-bookable appointments here at Dorridge & elsewhere. You may already have been offered HUB appointments. We have an extended hours HUB running out of Dorridge currently 6.30-8pm weekdays and 9-5pm Saturdays. These are pre-bookable and staffed by BADGER (the local out of hours provider).

We also have access to appointments at the Monkspath HUB, which we book when we have filled our Dorridge appointments.

With such a large multi-disciplinary team and so many hours, now covered (8-8pm Monday to Friday and 9-5pm on Saturday) it is very difficult to provide you an appointment with the doctor of your choice on the day of your choosing.  Please try to be flexible & accept appointments that are offered to you, as every Clinician has access to your full clinical record.

We are still able to provide home visits where they are necessary for terminally ill patients and for those who are truly housebound but these requests are always triaged first.

When all the available appointments have been used on the day, any urgent requests to be seen will be triaged on the ‘phone by the duty doctor.

Please be aware we are not a walk in service or minor injuries unit.

Continuity of care is very important to us, but is not possible to always offer you the Clinician of your choice, in the current way we are being asked to work by NHS England and our government.

Please be kind and polite to our staff. It is not their fault if you cannot get an appointment with the GP of your choice.

Our staff very sadly have reported many occasions where they have been spoken to in a disrespectful & unkind manner.  All calls into reception are recorded & we will actively take up any complaints from our staff that we receive.

In line with the rest of the NHS we have instigated a Dignity at Work and Zero Tolerance policy, whereby the above behaviour and/or any aggressive or violent behaviour towards our staff will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Anyone who verbally abuses a member of practice staff will be sent a letter from the Practice Manager confirming that this behaviour will not be tolerated. Any future violation of this policy may result in removal from the Practice patient list.

We are proud at Dorridge to have retained our independence and not gone down the route of joining a big group of practices. We will be clinging onto our independence for as long as possible. We work as a very cohesive team and keep our shared notes up to date so you can be assured of receiving good care whichever member of our team you see.

Mask wearing is optional however; it is probably a good idea to wear one in the waiting room as we see many people with acute infections. Please let us know if you are Covid positive before you come into the surgery so we can arrange the safest place to see you to avoid putting other vulnerable patients and staff at unnecessary risk.

Spring Covid Boosters are about to start for the eligible cohorts-predominantly over 75 years. These will be done at Dorridge.

Wishing all of our patients a happy and healthy Spring 2023.

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