Dr Liz Long, of the Grove Medical Centre, Sherborne, has written to all of the Practice’s patients outlining both the physical and the practical impact of the COVID19 pandemic on patients and the surgery.  Explaining how the surgery protects patients, staff and visitors; new ways doctors and nurses interact with patients; the challenges of online – virtual / Facetime consultations and how to ensure those patients who do not have access to the internet are not forgotten and to let patients know the practice is still open for business.

Dr Long’s letter notes how all GP surgeries are adopting different practices in order to prevent the spread, avoid COVID 19 and save lives.

Dr Long commented;

“If the pandemic has taught me anything it’s that we are versatile and adaptable. In General Practice we’re having to do things very differently to keep everybody safe, but we’ve been astounded by the diversity of ways we’ve started interacting with patients, and how accepting people have been (in the main).

“We can’t have waiting rooms full of people currently, and every time I or a member of the nursing team see a patient we have to put on our apron, gloves, mask and visor. This along with cleaning down the room after the patient leaves, and the impairments to normal conversation through masks, means that seeing a patient over a video consultation or speaking on the phone is more normal than the face to face interaction.

 “We all hope it won’t be like this for ever, but that’s how it must be for now. 

Technology is helping us to connect with our patients, and it’s really useful to have a mobile phone for the information we can send you and vice versa. Smart phones (the kind that can link to the internet) can be used for video consultations, or sending in an image of a rash, or injury.


“For those patients who do not have access to technology – the tried and tested ways of seeing your doctor still exist, appointments can be made by phoning the surgery. All appointments are allocated to an appropriate doctor, nurse or pharmacist, and may initially be by telephone call back to ensure that patients come into the surgery building only if clinically necessary.”


In a recent Patient guidance note, published by Wessex Local Medical Committees, the following 10 simple points confirm no matter the demands, all local GP practices are open for business.

Primary care is still open and we encourage people to get in touch for any health concerns that cannot be dealt with by the individual, their family or friends or the local pharmacy

  1. Routine vaccinations and immunisations are important and are available at the practice.
  2. Please only visit the surgery in person if you have an appointment
  3. If you think you need to see a doctor please call the practice to speak to a clinician or use e-consult via the practice website
  4. If you need to be seen face-to-face then you will be given an appointment to come to the practice
  5. This change is happening to help keep staff and patients safe
  6. We want to discourage people queuing outside a GP practice and waiting in the waiting area, to reduce the spread of coronavirus
  7. Coming in for a booked appointment means you will be seen promptly
  8. Staff will clean down areas before your arrival to keep you safe
  9. If you have coronavirus symptoms DO NOT come into the practice– self isolate and seek help via your practice or NHS 111 111.nhs.uk


Further information: 

Tony Meehan

The Grove Patients Group

07768 850 855 – tmeehan@tmac.co.uk


Published: Aug 10, 2020