GPs in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have issued a heartfelt thank you to local people for their support during the pandemic and ask for their continued patience as they begin to restore services and help increasing numbers of patients to get the care they need. Against a backdrop of rising demand local GPs want to talk to local people about the changes taking place in primary care post lockdown.
During the pandemic, patients have had to change how they interact with their GP practice to help keep everyone safe from Covid. Now, as lockdown eases, more patients are contacting their practice again – including for longstanding problems they might have delayed seeking help for.
About 90% of all patient contact with the NHS is with GP practices, and they are feeling the strain from the weight of demand for appointments whilst at the same time being at the forefront of delivering the ground-breaking national vaccination effort.
During the first year of the pandemic, local practices provided close to 6 million primary care appointments – around 60% of which continued to be provided face-to-face for those patients who needed them. Meanwhile GPs and their staff have delivered approximately 650,000 does of the Corvid vaccine, almost two-thirds of the LLR total.
Now local GPs are inviting patients to join them in taking part in a Facebook Live event, in partnership with the Leicester Mercury, to hear more about the current challenges and learn how best to get the care they need from their practice. The event takes place on Thursday, 27th May at 5pm and is open to all.
Dr Nil Sanganee, a local GP and Board member of West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “As GPs we always want to do the very best for our patients. During the pandemic and particularly over the last few months it has become increasingly more challenging to do that as demand has risen as it has on other parts of the NHS.
“We understand how frustrating it can be when patients find it difficult to get through on the telephone or get access to the care and treatment they believe they need. We feel those same frustrations.
“This event is an important first step in what will become an ongoing discussion with patients so that we can collectively develop a shared understanding of the challenges we face and together build a shared vision for modern, sustainable primary care.”
To support this the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland clinical commissioning groups will soon be launching a survey as part of a research project to capture people’s experiences of using their practice and the wider NHS during the pandemic. Feedback will inform the discussions going forward as well as developing insight that will be shared with practices to help the improve services for patients.
Dr Sulaxni Nainani, a GP in Leicester and Board Member for Leicester City CCG said: “It is vital that patients and practices work together on this. We’re particularly keen to understand how we can help individuals and communities feel more in control of their own health and wellbeing, and feel confident in managing relatively minor illnesses themselves, or to know where they can get support. That would enable practices to focus on providing care for those who need it most.”
In the meantime, the local NHS is sharing its top tips to help patients get the most from the practice when they are busy.
To join the conversation with local GPs and put your questions to the panel – follow or like LeicestershireLive on Facebook and at 5 pm tune in via facebook.com/leicestershirelive/videos/