Dr. James Cave from the Downlands Practice has provided an update on how the practice is adapting in these challenging times for the medical profession. The update forms part of the Volunteer Chieveley newsletter.

Downland Practice Update

This has been the most difficult time the surgery has ever had to face and we want to thank you all for your patience and support.The practice has had to make significant changes due to the pandemic and these continue to occur almost daily so please check our website www.downlandpractice.nhs.uk or our twitter feed @DownlandGP for the most up to date information.

Currently we are working a telephone triage service. 

If you do need to be seen face to face we may do this in a number of different ways depending on your clinical case so please check you understand the plan. It may mean waiting in your car, or coming into the surgery and waiting in the waiting room. Please do not come down to the surgery unless requested.

We would ask anyone entering the practice to wear a face mask or covering and to use the hand sanitiser at the entrance. We are currently checking the temperature of everyone entering (including staff) and keeping to the 2 metres guidance. 

In the last two weeks we have seen a significant increase in calls to the practice- sometimes as many as 120 a day. This is putting significant strain on the team. We appreciate a call is easier but please do try and be as self-reliant as you have always been.

We would also like to discourage emails and ask that if you would like to contact us this way that you go to our website and use the “contact your doctor/nurse” option. Emails are difficult to handle, can get lost in the hundreds of other emails we receive each day and do not integrate into our IT system easily. The website system is just as good- we get your notes just as quickly and can respond to them in a more timely fashion. Please do not use these types of contact for clinical work that might be serious or need a response within 1-2 days- please contact us by phone as normal. Our current average wait time on the phone is 3mins. 

Please remember that there are plenty of other services that can help you; our Pharmacists and nurses and 111. If your problem is with hospital appointments please try and resolve this with the hospital first. We are happy to help if its appropriate but often a call to the hospital will resolve the issue.

Our Pharmacy is open as normal Monday  to Thursday 08:30am to 6:30pm(closed from 1-2pm) and open an hour later on Fridays 9:30am to 6:30pm, closed 1-2pm. We must say a big thank you to all our volunteers  who have been delivering to shielded patients. Thousands of items have been delivered over this period and at times the volumes have been vast. 

The practice is proud of how it has been able to respond to this pandemic. We have moved quickly to start using new technologies such as video consultations and texts. And we were instrumental at setting up the “hot hub” service at the Racecourse (its officially now our branch surgery!).

There is a long way to go - pandemics are always a marathon not a sprint - but we have been all deeply moved by the  good will and kindness and sheer generosity that has welled up over the Downlands.

Thank you

James Cave