Ringmead Medical Practice
2nd June 2021
Every channel of communication seems to be closed - it certainly isn't accessible. Covid has been a big issue but we have all had to learn to work with it and around it. Long phone calls to the GP surgery... listening to long repetetive messages which are mostly irrelevant before selecting any one of several numbers... finally getting to the correct department and the message states the calls will only be answered between 9 -12 - knowing I have to go through it all again the next day, and then to find the prescription clerk hasn't done what she said she would... not on one occasion but on two, two weeks apart. There is no quick phone call - each of three times trying to resolve one issue and losing at least 30mins of time each time (this being at least one and a half precious hours of my time) ... and time is precious when you work full time, travel a 4 hour return journey every week to care for YOUR patient (a parent with dementia), live your own family life AND try to keep your parent healthy with no help, only hindrance from the surgery (and GH Lloyds Pharmacy.) Every turn is a battle, yet I am doing my very best to keep said parent/patient healthy so that we don't need to bother the GP at this difficult time. The end result... should have saved myself 1.5hrs as I'm still where I started a month ago and a lot more stressed. Unfortunately the elderly and vulnerable have all the same problems as pre Covid times... the difference now is there's no accessible support.
I'm struggling as an able person trying to keep one vulnerable person healthy... I hate to think how your other vulnerable patients are coping if they have no one strong enough to support them. I am at my wits end.
Announce dept contact hours immediately so that patients can ring off at the first opportunity if neccessary, freeing up the phone lines and the patients time. Initial phone message should be relevant to callers... THEN, once selections are made the very long covid message should be given - it isn't relevant if only phoning to speak to a prescription clerk. We've all heard the message many times... and those that will ignore it, will ignore it despite it being played...
Having the opportunity to speak to someone who can help, to be able to email them or to leave a message for that person. A receptionist telling you to call back the next day when you've already spent an age trying to speak to someone is unhelpful and infuriating especially when you are supposed to be working. (I doubt a GP surgery would be happy for their staff to spend their working hours contacting others).