Changes to Appointments and Services

As July 19th is upon us , and we consider our ‘freedom’ , we are making some changes to our appointments and access at The Grove Medical Centre. There is now availability to book appointments face to face and remotely without having to go through telephone triage, with appointments bookable in advance.

There will still be a certain number of phone appointments available on the day and urgent appointments for conditions that are truly medically urgent. In times of prompt access to so many commercial services, expectations can be that one can access medical care on demand. The severe strains on the NHS, which are felt keenly at a local level, mean that we ask you to take responsibility for appropriately accessing your health care.

As my recent communication Battling through Covid describes, there are many other sources of health care support and advice, that do not need a GP. Whilst not seeking to trivialise some conditions, it is imperative that GPs are focused and available for the most difficult and demanding cases, hence the need to offload work to alternative providers.

In that vein, a new NHS service has emerged, in partnership with local pharmacists called the Community Pharmacy Consultation scheme, whereby our Patient Services Team may direct you to a local NHS pharmacist for an appointment. The aim is to direct patients to the most appropriate healthcare professional, which may be a GP, nurse or pharmacist.

From July 2021, if your symptoms could be resolved by a booked consultation with the pharmacist instead of the GP, you will be given a same-day referral to a pharmacy of your choice.

We support this wholeheartedly – your local NHS pharmacists are highly trained and skilled clinicians experienced in treating minor illnesses. This will also help us to free up GP appointments for people with more complex health needs and ensure that everyone gets treated at the right time, by the right healthcare professional

We also have two experienced Pharmacists working within our team at the surgery, who are conducting medication reviews, safety of medication audits, and dealing with general medication queries.

We are proud that we are emerging from the pandemic with our services intact and seek to optimise our access in a way that is acceptable and safe to all our patients. Our front-line Patient Services Team do a very difficult job in negotiating demands for our services, and we urge you to treat them with kindness and respect. Sadly, we have seen an increase in unreasonable and abusive behaviour – this is never acceptable. All calls are recorded, and unacceptable behaviours will be challenged.

However, we are pleased to serve in a community that is so supportive of our surgery and will strive to provide the best possible care to those in need.

I wish you an enjoyable and healthy summer

Dr Charles Middle


Published: Jul 19, 2021