We are very proud of the achievements we have accomplished throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic, we didn't close our doors once and worked extremely hard to support and protect our patients.
We took an active role in the Blaydon Covid-19 Hub for the first 7 months of the vaccination programme. Our staff ensured that people most at risk received vaccines as quickly as possible. This was challenging and tiring for our staff members, as they were often working overtime in order to support the vaccination programme.
On top of this, our staff still offered 10% more appointments in surgery, compared to the pre-pandemic consultation rates. This totals around 8,000 extra appointments in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic appointments.
We have employed new members of staff to work within our practice, as part of the Gateshead Inner West Primary Care Network. This includes paramedics, pharmacists, mental health workers, physiotherapists and social prescribers. This means that patients can now have the option of seeing a health care professional who will meet their needs in the best way.
Due to the pandemic, we adopted new ways of working through telephone appointments and online consultations. However, we still provided face to face appointments for patients who needed examining. For our staff members who had to self isolate, they were still able to support patients through online consultations.
It has been challenging at times for staff at Glenpark to manage the additional workload from covid-19, whilst still trying to ensure the most vulnerable recieved regular check ups. However, with the use of online consultations, telephone appointments and our dedicated staff members, we overcame that challenge.
Going forward, we are focusing on improving our Appointment System, Recruiting more staff and improving our Telephone System.
For our appointment system, we will reflect on which system works best in order for GPs to work as more of a team and to ensure GPs see more complex cases in person.
In addition, as part of the Gateshead Inner West PCN, we are employing an additional pharmacist, dietician and physiotherapist to work with patients across our 5 practices.
Also, Glenpark Medical Practice will soon have three additional staff members. This includes a new phlebotomist and two more GPs.
In April 2022, we introduced a new phone system, which addressed concerns around difficulty getting through to the surgery at times..
The improvements of this system include:
No more engaged tone
There will be unlimited lines which means no more dialling repeatedly and hoping to get through. Instead you are told where in the queue you are.
Queue call back
If there is a long queue, the system will allow patients to opt for an automatic call back when they get close to the front of the queue.
We will be able to see how many patients are waiting for reception to answer the phone. This means we will be able to increase the number of call handlers to help manage demand.