I thought I would write and give you an update on the practice plans over Christmas and the winter.
The Omicron variant has added some urgency to the booster COVID-19 vaccine programme and we are keen as a practice to put our shoulder to the wheel. The NHS has once more reduced some of the workload that GPs must do so we can free up time to take part. This is what happened last year when we organised the Racecourse vaccination programme. You may have read or heard in the news that this means stopping over 75-year-old checks. Let’s make something clear straight away, we will not be stopping any clinical work.
We are still working out the details but if we do start doing Covid booster vaccinations it will be in addition to our current clinical workload not instead of it. Medical work cannot be “shelved” for a few months whatever my contract with the NHS says. Doctors and nurses are professionals first and foremost and we work foremost to our professional standards, not a contract.
It will mean the booster service we offer will look very different. Rather than a big vaccination centre we are looking to offer “trickle” clinics that run during the day at the practice, with occasional bigger weekend ones too. This will allow volunteers to do vaccinations whilst surgery work continues with GPs there if need be.
Other good news is we have recruited a GP. Dr Tosin Akin-Komolafe will be starting work with us towards the end of January. Dr Tosin worked at the practice several years ago during her training and we are delighted to have her back. She will be taking over many of Dr Haider’s patients and we will be sorting out the detail over the coming weeks.
Our workload continues to run very hot. Just last Friday our duty doctor had 58 appointments in their day. When you consider that a paramedic on call might have 6 calls in their shift and an A&E doctor 7-10 in their 10 hour shift you get some idea of the pressure we are under- and the skill of our GPs: ensuring those that need hospital are sent there and, perhaps more importantly given the pressure hospitals are under, that those that do not need hospital do not end up there.
Please consider why you feel you need an appointment with us. Could a Pharmacist help? Have you a good colleague or partner you can check with first and see if they feel an urgent appointment is the right thing? – this works both ways of course. The number of really sick men I have seen over my 30yrs who only came because their spouse made them is huge!
Please rest assured we are doing all we can to keep you safe and well this Christmas.
All the best and a very Merry Christmas from us all
Dr James Cave