The only telephone number to reach the surgery is 01604 709922.
Media Response (26/09/21)
Recently, primary care has faced many negative headlines enticing dissatisfaction & unhappiness against General Practice & their staff.
The GP does not work alone but with a multi-disciplinary clinical & administration team to provide & support patient care.
Not everyone needs to see a GP; they are not always the most appropriate person. Many issues can be diagnosed & managed over the telephone or remotely. Previously there were no means to submit histories & photos so a face-to-face appointment was needed but now there is this ability, why should primary care not embrace digital innovations as other areas have?
Prior to covid the workload was sustainable, just. Primary care had to quickly change & adapt to new ways of working which we did, along with our fellow GP Surgeries across the country, as advised by the Government.
Covid has not gone away, so reverting back fully is not possible. It has also provided us with an opportunity to assess if there are better ways to manage patient access so the sickest are seen promptly & appropriately.
Some patients have been asked why they did not come to see a clinician sooner, replies such as 'GPs are not seeing anyone' seemed to be a common response. When prompted further, patients advised they had not previously tried to get an appointment, citing the newspapers as their source of information.
It is appreciated that it is not always easy to book an appointment but this is a long-term problem. Primary care is underfunded. There are less doctors doing GP training than ever before (44,570 GPs in June 2019 compared to 34,354 GPs in July 2021). Why would you want to train in this current climate of constant abuse?!
Primary Care Networks (PCNs) were tasked with rolling out the Covid Vaccination Programme which started long before the mass vaccination centres started. This was run by clinicians and administration staff who are still having to do their normal jobs at the surgery.
The goalposts constantly change & now we have the upcoming covid boosters yet again heavily involving PCNs & impacting upon our staff & workloads.
We are human too & despite being in the early cohorts for vaccination many primary care staff have had covid or had to self-isolate due to a covid contact. There is no back up workforce so no staff equals no appointments & reduced patient access.
The recent representation of General Practice in the media is vitriolic & harrassment of a service already nationally on its knees. This constant trolling means that a proportion of a valuable face-to-face appointment is spent with a patient expressing unwarranted negative comments about primary care.
In 2020 there was a lot of clapping for the NHS, many of which no doubt journalists took part in & likely reported on it. Those claps now feel hollow & worthless.
So how can this situation be improved? Perhaps the media needs to spend their time raising the profile of primary care so once again it becomes an attractive area of medicine & nursing to work in. A balanced view needs to be given with the challenges presented.
For patients, we ask that you #SupportYourSurgery by not adding to these negative comments, join our virtual patient participation group to put forward your suggestions & ideas in how you can #HelpUsHelpYou, write to your local MP about your concerns & sign the petition at Support your surgery (bma.org.uk)
Thank you 💙🌈
We Are Open (19/09/21)
Throughout the pandemic we have made the surgery as safe as possible for all our patients & staff & will continue to do so going forward.
When lockdown was lifted from 19th July, nothing changed at the surgery - patients still need to wear a mask / face covering, socially distance & use hand sanitiser in the surgery & staff continue to wear PPE.
We do understand that it can be frustrating especially when life around us seems to be 'getting back to normal', but we know that when people come to us they are sick and vulnerable (& some cannot receive the COVID vaccinations due to medical reasons) so we feel it would be wrong to not take these small precautions that can help to protect people.
Whilst the medical risks of COVID are reduced by vaccination, the impact of self isolation due to a COVID outbreak remain considerable.
In terms of 'opening up', as many of you know, we have never been shut. As the risks to all of COVID have reduced, the proportion of face to face appointments will increase. Knowing what your needs are is important to enable you to find the right person or service to help.
The Receptionist team do a very important job for us & are following principles we have agreed as a practice. Thank for your patience & kindness with them
At Wootton Medical Centre, we have come so far in trying to minimise the impact of Covid & we are sure you understand that we need to keep the surgery as safe as possible for ALL patients as well as our team to ensure we can still care for our patients.
Frequently Asked Questions (29/06/21)
The COVID pandemic over the last year has meant that all GP surgeries nationwide have had to adapt and change their systems in order to keep staff and patients safe. This has meant huge changes in how we are working and many people have been frustrated they can no longer access services in the same way that they use to.
We are proud of the fact that we have never closed our doors and have continued to provide quality care to our patients throughout the pandemic. We have been asked a number of times about when we are 'going back to normal'. The old 'normal' would not necessarily work anymore as we have seen a significant increase in demand on our appointments in the last 6-9 months.
Our focus must therefore be on ensuring the services that we provide are safe and that our patients medical needs are met by the correct person within an appropriate timeframe.
We want our patients to understand the reason behind the way that our services are currently set up and how to access medical care by working with us and have prepared these answers to questions we are commonly asked about how our access works:
I need to speak with a doctor, what are my options?
This depends on how urgently you need medical advice. GP telephone consultations are bookable up to 28 days in advance with a few 'urgent' appointments on the day. If your medical need is urgent, you may be directed to an appointment with our Prescribing Nurse or Paramedic, both deal with minor illness and minor injuries and can prescribe.
You may also be directed to complete DoctorLink, an online consultation which will assess how soon you need to speak with a clinician.
Please also remember that you can speak to a Pharmacist at your local Pharmacy, these are skilled professionals and can offer advice and give information on recommended over the counter medication.
I have been booked an appointment with someone who is not a doctor, what does this mean?
We have worked with some of our neighbouring practices to form a Primary Care Network (PCN) in order to significantly expand our clinical team. We now have appointments with GPs, Prescribing Nurse, Practice Nurse, First Contact Physio, Paramedic, Clinical Pharmacists, HCA, Phlebotomist and Social Prescriber Link Workers. Our Reception Team will care navigate to ensure you are booked with the person who has the right skills to help you.
I have been booked an appointment with someone from 'the hub', what does this mean?
We work together within our PCN and also within PML Federation. The main aim is to ensure local NHS healthcare professionals have an opportunity to provide, innovative healthcare services to deliver services in a range of NHS and surgery premises across Northamptonshire. This enables us to offer appointments outside of the core practice hours (evenings and weekends) with various different members of our extended clinical teams. This has increased our appointment availability and also flexibility of types of clinician and times.
Please be reassured that anyone contacting you from the hub has access to your medical history and letters should they need, just as if they were in the practice. They are also bound by the same strict confidentiality rules we are.
When are you going back to just being able to book a face to face appointment?
Simply put, certainly not for a while yet. COVID-19 cases are dropping in the local area but we must remain careful especially with the current Delta variant. We cannot go back to the days of the crowded GP waiting area. We need to continue cleaning each room after every patient attends and wearing PPE. Therefore, we need to continue to only bring in patients who have a need to be seen in person. For this reason, we will only give people an appointment in the surgery once we have determined this is necessary either due to the type of procedure or treatment needed or after we have assessed an examination is required following a telephone consultation with a clinician.
Why can't I just book a telephone consultation / appointment? Why do you ask me to use DoctorLink?
When our appointment system is full and we have no availability, you may be directed to use DoctorLink (we can send you a link to your phone or you can access via our website). DoctorLink can sometimes be clunky and frustrating to use but some of the questions are designed to ensure that certain conditions and problems are flagged as more urgent and patients are then advised to either contact 111 for assessment within a short time or the surgery will make contact advising an appointment within the notified time frame. Sometimes this does feel like it is overly sensitive but it has been set up that way to be safe.
At times, when demand is high and the next routine telephone appointment is not for a week or two, DoctorLink allows us to assess whether someone's clinical need is okay to wait that long or whether their problem requires a more urgent response.
Why can't I see / speak to the GP that I want to speak to?
With the currently level of appointment demand, it is not always possible to see or speak to the GP of your choice. Our GPs are not always available for telephone appointments every day. For new appointments we will always suggest the next available appropriate appointment with any GP / suitable clinician.
Why is there a long wait on the telephone?
The telephone access can be a frustration for many. This is truly due to the number of patients needing medical advice and sometimes due to other queries (COVID vaccination queries have hugely increased our incoming calls). We have successfully:
- Increased the line capacity so that outgoing calls did not tie up incoming lines
- Added a fair queuing system and information about the number of calls ahead
We regularly post updates on the COVID vaccination programme on our Facebook site (Wootton Medical Centre | Facebook) and ask that everybody check here first or put a query through email (email@example.com) where able.
I have been given a routine telephone appointment for 1-2 weeks time, why is there such a wait?
Simply that demand on appointments is high. This is not just an issue for us but one that we are hearing from our colleagues across the country. Our list size has increased with the growing population in Wootton. We also now have access to significant additional appointment capacity offered by our PCN. However, this additional capacity continues to be easily filled and our waiting time for non-urgent appointments is sitting at approximately 1-2 weeks, although this does fluctuate.
For this reason, we will continue to ask patients for a brief reason for an appointment so our Reception Team can care navigate to the most appropriate clinician and they may refer you to DoctorLink or NHS111 if we are unable to see you more urgently than you would like.
Summary: keeping the surgery going
We are incredibly proud of our entire surgery team for keeping going throughout the pandemic and dealing with so many challenges which have included:
- Completely overhauling the clinical structures to reduce the number of people coming into the surgery to keep our staff and patients safe
- Coping with staff sickness and staff off shielding
- Dealing with people's frustration that the systems have changed and access cannot be the same way as it used to be
- Playing an active role in the COVID-19 vaccination programme
Everyone at the surgery is working harder than ever to keep the surgery going. Be kind. Use services wisely and work with us to help you.
Sharon Bailey - Practice Manager
Blood Bottle Shortage (31/08/21)
🩸 BLOOD BOTTLE SHORTAGE 🩸
We have been instructed by NHS England to postpone all NON-URGENT BLOOD TESTS from here on.
We have been advised there is a national shortage of blood taking bottles which is unlikely to be resolved for the next few weeks. This means, we will not be booking any further blood tests at the surgery, unless requested urgently by a GP until further notice.
If you have a blood test booked over the next few weeks, please DO NOT contact the surgery, we will make contact with you if this affects your appointment.
We will continue to update our website & this page. Please share with family & friends who cannot access either.
Thank you 💙🌈
Collecting & Ordering Prescriptions (Updated 27/08/20)
To order a prescription, you will need to use SystmOnline (prior registration required), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or letter box (on main road opposite shop).
As usual, we DO NOT take requests over the telephone.
Please allow up to 72 hours to action you request, which will be sent electronically, where possible, to your pharmacy of choice (nominated pharmacy). If you have not nominated a pharmacy, this will be sent to Wootton Pharmacy.
Remember, all NHS staff are doing this to help keep you safe. Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation.
BMA survey reveals worrying levels of abuse against doctors & staff (18/08/21)
Front Reception (17/09/21)
Front Reception is open as always, however covid-19 is still around & to ensure we remain safe & reduce the risk of spreading, please continue to utilise the telephone & email where possible, only attending the surgery when essential or attending an appointment.
If you do attend the surgery for a booked appointment please use the self-check-in.
Please remember social distancing & follow the signs on the floor if you need to go to Reception.
Our prescription box is open, however, we would encourage patients to utilise technology where possible and continue to use systmonline, email (email@example.com) or the letter box on the main road (opposite the shop). When using the letter box, please do not bang on the window alerting us, this box is checked regularly.
Thank you for your continued support.
New Normal (07/08/20)
To all our patients,
Over the last few months you are likely to have noticed a difference in the way things are being done at Wootton Medical Centre as we manage coronavirus (covid-19).
We want to start off by saying thank you. Thank you for adapting so quickly to these new ways of working - it has been the drastic, yet fundamental change needed to ensure the safety of you and our staff.
To slow down the spread of coronavirus, we have worked to reduce the number of people coming into the practice by using telephone and video consultation, email and doctorlink (on our website).
Our top priority is, and has always been, to keep you and our staff safe, while ensuring you get the care you need.
This is why we ask that you continue what you have been doing to access your GP service.
Please DO NOT visit the practice without a booked appointment. Instead, telephone or email the practice. You can speak with a GP or Practice Nurse over the telephone or video consultation and can communicate with us via email. This will often mean you get to speak to the right person to help you, much quicker.
If a GP or Practice Nurse does need to see you in person then you will be given an appointment to attend the practice.
Only coming to the practice with an appointment means:
- You will be seen promptly (by arriving at your appointment time, not earlier or later)
- You are reducing your risk of catching / spreading coronavirus by avoiding our waiting room
- You are helping to keep staff healthy and safe
- The practice is able to maintain a clean environment and help protect you from the virus
Thank you again for your support and understanding as we all adapt to a new way of working.
Booking routine non-obstetric ultrasound appointments at Northampton General Hospital (08/09/21)
Due to an increase in demand Northampton General Hospital (NGH) are currently unable to offer patients appointments 3 working days after the request being submitted & they are now arranging appointments by letter.
Until further notice, patients will receive a letter, they do not need to phone the department after 3 working days.
Currently routine general appointments should be arranged by 6 weeks but routine musculoskeletal and routine head and neck scans have slightly longer waits.
NGH are looking at ways to improve the waiting times as quickly as possible but wanted patients to be aware of the current waits for when they should expect an appointment. If they have not received an appointment after 6 weeks then they can follow up with the booking team on 01604 545636 option 4.