We are in unprecedented times for the NHS across the UK, and Tenterden is no exception to this. The good news to share, first of all, is that the numbers of COVID cases in our local area are 92% down on where we were in January. We believe this is in part due to the unprecedented rapid rollout of the covid vaccine. We are incredibly grateful to our staff, and other healthcare workers who have given large amounts of their time to undertake the largest vaccination programme in our history.
Over half of our practice population have now received at least their first Vaccine dose. However we are aware that there are huge pressures on our non-covid work and this has led to frustration and concern from our patients. We hear your concerns, and we are looking at how we can respond. We have a history of innovation, and of aiming to meet our patient need. In order to do this, we have been trialling a number of different methods of managing incoming workload to the surgery. Some of these methods will be more successful than others, and we are constantly looking at what works well and what doesn’t work as well to make improvements going forward. We have an increasing demand for our services against a background of limited resources.
At present, we are seeing a surge in workload above pre-covid levels of demand. We have a wonderful new building facility to provide care, but unfortunately, that does not mean we can immediately fill that building with as many GPs, nurses and allied health professionals as we would perhaps ideally like to have. In the long term, we hope workload levels will normalise, and we will be able to improve our situation with regards to our staffing levels through further recruitment. However, in the short term, we are seeking to use the resources we have as efficiently as possible. We have heard the concerns regarding the difficulty of getting an appointment, and in the next couple of weeks will be changing our system to emphasise the availability of “On the day” appointment booking, although this will come at the expense of flexibility of booking routine future appointments. We hope this will address some of the concerns which have been raised. We continue to value your support, and your feedback, and we are striving to provide you with the very best General Practice services we can within the resources available to us. The Partners and Management Team, Ivy Court Surgery