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Urgent Letter to Patients                                                                      Tuesday 29th March 2016

Dear Patients

We are seeking both your assistance and your understanding over the next two weeks.

Despite an extensive search for locum nurse and GP cover we will be significantly short staffed over the next few weeks.

We are requesting that during this time routine issues such as routine medication reviews, and routine reviews of long term, stable, medical conditions are deferred until later in April/May. This will enable our doctors to safely deal with medical problems that require attention without loading the system with routine work that can safely wait.

The situation has arisen from several unforeseen issues. The most difficult of which has been the loss of both our regular nurses. Karen, as most of you know, was severely injured in an incident outside the building and although she is out of hospital, her recovery is ongoing and is not yet able to return to work. Paula, our other Practice Nurse is receiving long term hospital treatment and again is going to be unable to work for some time. Despite a thorough search for Nurse cover (trying national locum agencies, other practices in Suffolk, and any freelance locum nurses) we have only managed to achieve limited cover. Adding to our difficulties, the locum nurse that we had managed to secure requires emergency surgery and will no longer be able to fulfil her obligations to us. The situation has meant huge pressure has been put on all staff, Reception have worked tirelessly to rearrange appointments and clinics, other clinicians have increased their work in order to accommodate urgent issues that have arisen from this.

Over this period, to help ease the pressure we would appreciate your help in the following ways: -

Blood Tests -               Where at all possible we are requesting patients visit the Riverside Clinic (on Landseer Road). There is a ‘drop-in’ service Mon – Fri 07:45 – 17:30 and bookable appointments on weekday afternoons (tel 01473 703721). There is ample free parking and good access for wheelchair users. We have had very good feedback from patients that have already used this service.

Minor Ailments/Wax removal –         The local pharmacies offer great advice on how to deal with minor ailments and advise on suitable over the counter medicine. The NHS choices website is very useful tool on advice on dealing with minor ailment and injuries.

Contraception –          We should be your first port of call for contraception issues, however if you are unable to get an appointment with the Nurse for this The Orwell Clinic can deal with all contraception issues and sexual health queries. This is found on Lindbergh Road Ipswich (between Felixstowe Road and Nacton Road) tel 0300 123 3650. This also has ample free parking.

Routine Annual Reviews –      Please could these be postponed until end of April/May (however if you are experiencing changing symptoms or a worsening of your condition please make an appointment)

We are also short of GP/Nurse Practitioner appointments over the next 2 weeks. Despite anticipating this and trying to source locum cover for the past 3 months we have been unable to secure adequate locum cover. This is a reflection of the national problem with respect to GP recruitment and retention. As a result of this, during this time GP appointments will not be doctor specific, you may be seen by any doctor. From the perspective of GP appointments we have lost Dr Tinsley, who has been offered a GP Partnership elsewhere. Dr Edwards, Dr Cave and Dr Al-Masud are doing extra clinics to accommodate the reduction in appointments that this has created, and as of April Dr Soe will also be increasing the amount of clinics he does at the surgery.

To further make up appointment numbers we are in the process of trying to recruit an additional Advance Nurse Practitioner (If you know anybody who may be interested in this post please let one of the Practice Managers know).

Please bear with us over the coming weeks and if there are delays in surgeries please be understanding and respect the pressure reception and clinical staff are working under.

We understand that this situation can be frustrating for our patients , we are very sorry for this and grateful for your support and understanding.

 

Dr Nicholas Edwards, Senior Partner

Dr Darren Cave, Partner

Dr Mohammad Al-Masud, Partner

Rachel Wilson, Practice Manager

Victoria Sawyer, Practice Manager

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