An update from General Practice

Published on Sep 23, 2021

During these difficult times, our North Lincolnshire General Practice teams are working non-stop, this is despite all the workforce shortages we are facing.  Practices across North Lincolnshire recorded nearly 95,000 appointments during June this year, almost twenty percent higher than the same time two years ago.  Over two-thirds of these appointments were face-to-face.  Our General Practice teams have also spearheaded a hugely successfully coronavirus vaccination programme which has meant we have all been able to return to some normality, and most importantly, many lives have been saved.  Our General Practice teams have not only continued to provide face-to-face consultations within practices but have also staffed other important services.  These include a Community Response Team providing Care Homes and Ambulance services with a rapid response, our local Urgent Treatment Centre and our GP Out of Hours Unit.

Are GP practices open?

GP practices across North Lincolnshire are open and have been throughout the pandemic. GP practices have worked hard to provide a service throughout lockdown and continue to do so. The pandemic is not over. To protect everyone, especially the most vulnerable, we must maintain safe infection control and minimise unnecessary physical contact within practices and that is why the physical environment will seem different to years gone by.

How are practices working now?

Most appointments are being triaged.  This helps keep people safe and makes sure that people are directed to the most appropriate healthcare professional, who may not always be a GP.  Everyone who needs to be seen will be seen, with the most urgent medical needs being addressed as a priority.

What is triage?

You will be assessed to ascertain the next step e.g. you may need:

  • to be seen in person
  • a phone consultation
  • a video consultation
  • help from a community pharmacy or another local healthcare team

Why do receptionists ask personal questions?

General Practice reception staff are a vital part of the healthcare team and ask questions in order to direct you to the most appropriate support.  They are skilled in assisting with triage and treat all information confidentially.

I wanted to see my GP, so why am I seeing someone else?

Many GP practices now include a range of professionals (e.g. advanced nurse practitioners) who can diagnose and treat health conditions and consulting them may be more appropriate for you. We want you to speak with the right person as quickly as possible and this may not always be via your usual GP practice.

Where else can I get help?

Visit www.nhs.uk for advice on common symptoms and a list of local services or speak to your community pharmacist first for advice on minor illnesses.  Finding your nearest pharmacy: www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-pharmacy/

What about emergencies?

Always dial 999 in a life-threatening emergency. If you need help with minor injuries at any time or urgent care when your GP practice or community pharmacy is closed, visit www.111.nhs.uk or dial 111 if you do not have internet access.

Please be patient

All our healthcare services are under enormous pressure, but we are open and here for you if needed. You can help us and help yourself by making sure you get the right care, in the right place, at the right time, appropriate for your needs.  Your GP practice website will provide lots of further information.

Please continue to be kind to our staff, socially distance where possible and wear a face mask in healthcare settings.

These are challenging times for all of us and your patience and support are highly appreciated by your General Practice teams.

Thank you

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