Issue 1 - Nov 2021
Welcome to our first patient newsletter
Did you know?
Lakeside is a Partnership of GP practices, each with their own unique identity and patient demographic in three counties across the East Midlands. Contrary to some beliefs, Lakeside is not a 'faceless medical conglomerate', but simply teams of GP Partners and professionals, many of whom are long serving, and all of whom are engaged with their communities. We are a Partnership sharing best practice through collaboration, training, research and development. We value our colleagues and are committed to putting patients at the heart of our decision making. Together we are stronger, resilient, agile and more prepared to respond to the unprecedented demand which we, and Primary Care providers nationally, are facing.
Firstly an apology, we recognise that things have been very difficult over the past few months as we have tried to come out of the restrictions for Covid and social distancing ...
We are aware that patients are frustrated with trying to get through to the surgery on the telephone, making it difficult to make an appointment, especially with a doctor.
We are not alone in Stamford as we struggle to overcome these problems. You may have seen in the media that there is a national shortage of GPs (over 1,800 less than there were 5 years ago) with an increased number of consultations required (over 2 million more permonth than 2 years ago). As you can see the numbers are difficult to reconcile.
We have found it really difficult to recruit new staff across primary care and these shows in Stamford in terms of both clinical and nonclinical staff, despite an active recruitment drive.
We have a new PPG committee who are working hard with us to facilitate improvements to the services we already offer and to improve communication and information sharing.
They are keen to receive feedback or ideas from patients either via the website or in person, and are planning to hold drop in sessions within the surgery, at both Sheepmarket and St. Mary’s in the near future so please look out for dates and times as we know they would really appreciate your feedback.
Our staffing situation
We are pleased to say that we have had three new doctors join the team since September and another due to start in mid-November. We are also employing locum doctors to fill the gaps and provide appointments until we are successful in recruiting more permanent GPs in Stamford.
We have totally transformed our Management structure in order to support the improvements to service we are aiming for. We have appointed Teri White as Stamford Hub Manager and Lyndsay Money as Operations and Compliance Manager. The team is also complemented by two Management Support Officers, Sue Dwyer and Charlotte Leonard.
We still have an ongoing programme of recruitment to our nursing team and are seeking to appoint Advanced Nurse Practitioners. We will be delighted to welcome a new Nursing Associate who will join our team at the beginning of December.
We will have two new administrative staff joining by the end of December and still have one full time post to fill.
We are recruiting for three full time receptionists.
We are pleased to report that, following a recruitment drive, we will be fully staffed with dispensers and dispensing assistants who all should be in post by the end of December.
As you can see, recruiting and retaining staff is key to providing you with the best service possible. We are a friendly, welcoming and committed team of professionals so if you are thinking about a career in Primary Care then details of our latest vacancies are available under the Careers tab of our Group website.
Help us to help you
When you contact the surgery our receptionists will ask you for a brief idea of the problem that you are contacting us about. This is so that we can put you in contact with the most suitable clinician to help.
There has been a big increase in the type of specialists available or attached to General Practice. These include musculoskeletal specialists, the Neighbourhood team and specialist nurses - for instance, diabetic specialists. Reception will help navigate you to the most suitable service.
Contacts with General Practice have dramatically increased recently and there is a national shortage of GPs. If we have an idea of the issue with each patient then it also helps our clinicians to prioritise their large number of contacts in a timely manner.
Staff training session
Our Lead Nurse, Beth Curtis, met her peers and other colleagues from across the Lakeside Partnership for training and lectures including a talk by Professor Elizabeth Anderson from Leicester Medical School.
The event, which was held in Stamford,was the first that has been specifically organised so that staff can meet peers from other sites face to face and it is envisaged that similar sessions will be held for other clinical staff.
Prof Anderson spoke about the importance of developing ‘inter-disciplinary’ teams where different strengths are encouraged and valued. Dr Ward’s talk was on ‘Teaching and the Benefits Personally, Professionally and to Individuals’ while Richard Sharpe and Mel Mullins from the Primary Care Skills Academy focused on ‘Planning for the Future’. The event was organised by Group Lead Nurse, Kerry Gardner.
Appointments and site news
We recognise that it can be difficult to get through on the phones at certain times, especially early mornings between 8am and 10am as this is our busiest time. We recommend patients only try to call at this time of day if you feel you require a same day appointment.
We have introduced pre-bookable telephone appointments to enable you to book ahead of time with a GP of your choice and we aim to increase this as capacity allows.
Currently all GP Face to Face appointments can only be booked following a telephone consultation with a Doctor. We are in the process of reviewing this on how we can safely, look at the way we consult with all of our patients, depending on their needs and wants.
Nurse face to face appointments can be booked directly via the reception team.
Unfortunately due to workforce capacity issues including sickness and a rise in Covid infections in the area which has led to isolation for our surgery staff as per NHS guidelines, our wait times on the phones has increased. We understand this can frustrating for all when trying to access GP services but we are doing our best at all times.
If you are calling for test results and have not heard back from the clinician, please call between 10am-2pm or if you have access to SystmOnline, you can look for your results online.
Digital Consultation Service
We would encourage those who are able to to use our digital consultation service, E-consult, to do so. This is available through our website and enables patients to consult on-line with a GP, nurse or allied health professional and we aim to respond within 48 hours and take appropriate steps depending on the query submitted.
However, if it is a life threatening issue or something that cannot wait, please do not use this service but seek alternative health advice.
We also have clinical pharmacists, advanced nurse practitioners and a first contact MSK specialist (for musculoskeletal problems, e.g. back pain , joint pains) who have appointments available to deal with specific issues.
St Mary's Surgery
St Mary’s is now fully functioning as a GP surgery having been used previously as our Covid vaccination site. We provide identical services at both sites with the exception of urgent same day care and some surgical procedures.
We are progressing at pace with our flu vaccination campaign, and holding clinics on Saturdays at Sheepmarket Surgery as well as accommodating appointments during surgery hours.
Those eligible for vaccination will be contacted via text, phone call or letter.
We are no longer involved in the Covid vaccination programme so if you have any queries regarding booking your booster vaccine then do not contact the surgery but please either call 119 or book online by typing the following text into a search engine.
News from the Patient Participation Group
Every surgery is required to have a Patient Participation Group, comprising patients who volunteer to take part in meetings and activities on a regular basis.
The PPG acts as a ‘critical friend’ to the surgery, meeting with managers and clinicians, raising issues and maintaining good communication between the patients and practice.
Helen Walton is the Chair of Stamford’s Patient Participation Group. She wants to be part of the process of ‘changing the narrative’, working proactively with patients and the practice to drive improvements.
Helen, whose career has been in publishing and charity work, said: ‘My vision for the Stamford PPG is that we act as a conduit. It is about building a partnership, working on behalf of the patients and with the trust of Lakeside’s staff.
'We have a robust committee, with the skills to facilitate positive interactions between patients and the practice. I am passionate about changing the narrative, promoting transparency as well as making sure that Stamford has a medical practice that the community can trust and be proud of.’
Overview of the PPG's last meeting
At the latest meeting of the PPG on Monday 25 October, 10 members attended along with Hub Manager, Teri White, and GP Partner and Lakeside Non-Executive Director Dr Sara Hall.
- A meeting was held between Teri White and three members of the PPG to discuss the telephone system research and the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the PPG.
- The latest ToR was shared so that PPG members can make amendments before the next meeting. The final draft will be ready for the Annual General Meeting in January.
- The PPG agreed that it should do all that it can to assist with transparent communication and the practice and PPG should work together on this.
- Before each PPG meeting members will receive a report about the latest updates and developments at Stamford Lakeside.
- Future communications will be distributed more widely to also include community/church noticeboards/ newsletters.
- Regular PPG surgeries will alternate between Sheepmarket and St Mary's for patients to air their views and hear of the latest developments.
- Thank You cards are in use at both Sheepmarket and St Mary's and many patients have left positive comments, which are hugely appreciated by staff.
- An update was given re the Covid booster vaccinations with a message being added to the telephone system to ask patients to book by phoning 119. Boosters are not being delivered at Stamford Lakeside, but at the walk in centre or by invitation via Grantham CCG.
- The PPG was informed about staff leavers, returners and recruitment.
- A PPG member will develop communication/give feedback with the Care Quality Commission and Clinical Commissioning Group.
The next PPG meeting is scheduled to take place on 29 November at Sheepmarket.
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