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Flu Vaccine Delay

Dear Patients,

You will have heard in the press about a national delay in flu vaccination deliveries. Unfortunately, our current batch have been delayed and therefore we have had to reschedule our Flu clinic on Tuesday 12th October to Tuesday 19th October 2021. Please attend between 9-12noon on Tuesday 19th October for your flu vaccination. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Urgent News About Blood Tests

There is a national shortage of blood bottles which is expected to last until 17th September 2021. This is affecting every healthcare service provider.

We have therefore been told by the NHS to postpone all non-urgent blood tests.

We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience. This is something that is completely out of our control.

Flu Vaccination Information 2021

This year we will be running our flu clinics in the Red House car park under gazebos, as being outside significantly reduces the risk of Covid transmission. We will have entry and exit lanes, an admin area and 3 clinical areas to administer the vaccine. We are expecting a huge increase in attendance by patients for their flu jab, as well as the need to administer the vaccine whilst maintaining social distancing and clinicians being in PPE.

Please do not attend if you have any symptoms indicating possible Covid infection.

You must wear a mask when you attend, and it would be helpful if you can wear a short sleeved top. However bearing in mind typical British weather, you may need a jacket over the top. You will be directed to an admin area to log your details on the system. Once your details have been logged on the system you will be directed to the clinician administering the vaccine. You will then be given your vaccine and directed to the exit lane.

A huge amount of work has gone into trying to make this year’s flu clinics as efficient and safe as possible so that we can vaccinate as many of our eligible patients within the shortest possible time to protect you from flu infection.

You will be sent a text with an allocated clinic date and time beforehand, and we would be most grateful if you could attend that clinic date and time only.

The Walk-in Flu clinics below will be held at The Red House:

  • Saturday 11th September,  9am to 12noon over 65 only
  • Tuesday 14th September, 9am to 4pm, over 65 only
  • Thursday 16th September, 9am to 4pm, over 65 and under 65(at risk)
  • Saturday 18th September, 9am to 12noon, under 65(at risk) / Invited over 65
  • Saturday  9th October, 9am to 12noon, under 65(at risk) / Invited over 65
  • Tuesday 12th October, 9am to 4pm, Catch-up clinic for those unvaccinated

Please note: There will be a separate clinic for Children who will be invited in due course.

Flu Vaccine delays

Dear Patients,

You will have heard in the press about a national delay in flu vaccination deliveries. Unfortunately, our current batch have been delayed and therefore we have had to reschedule our Flu clinic on Tuesday 12th October to Tuesday 19th October 2021. Please attend between 9-12noon on Tuesday 19th October for your flu vaccination. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Letter to patients – July 2021

Dear Patients,

We are in unprecedented times, with all of us experiencing huge challenges and changes in how we live our day to day lives. We felt it was important to update you on how we are currently working at the Red House Surgery, the changes that we have made and plan to put in place and also to make you aware of the escalating levels of demand which we are now facing.

The past 18 months have been utterly unimaginable and it has affected every one of us. Whilst a lot of sectors and industries have shut or reduced their capacity in an effort to keep their employees safe, General Practice has not only remained open, but has increased the number of appointments available, ensured that all premises are COVID secure, changed the way we work overnight to maintain services safely, whilst at the same time delivering 75% of all COVID vaccines.

The Red House Surgery has adapted how we work to ensure that you continue to receive the care you need. Changes such as telephone and online triage were brought in, as requested by NHS England, not only to protect patients, but also to mitigate risk and protect the staff as much as possible, thereby ensuring that staff were able to come into work every single day throughout this pandemic. Whilst accessing us may have been different, we have always been open and have been seeing patients that needed to be seen.

During these challenging times for the country and the NHS, patients are, on occasion, expressing anger and frustration due to difficulties in how they access health care as a whole. Whilst most of our patients have sent messages of thanks and support, sadly there is an increase in verbal abuse that our reception staff and clinicians have had to experience. This, together with negative comments which are posted on social media, is demoralising when we are all trying our best to deliver care during these times and it has led to some staff feeling they need to reduce their hours or leave.

It has long been recognised that there is a huge problem in terms of recruitment and retention of GPs and whilst the Government have in the past pledged to increase GP numbers, the profession continues to see GPs leaving in large numbers with a predicted shortfall of 7,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) GPs in 2023/24 rising to 11,500 FTE GPs by 2028/29. In order to try to address this, NHSE made the decision that GP practices should start working together as Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and to fund aspects of Primary Care through these networks. The Red House Surgery is in a PCN with practices in Borehamwood, Elstree and Bushey. Despite the difficulties in recruiting GPs we are delighted to announce that we will have a new salaried GP starting with us in the next few months.

The Government has provided funding for PCNs which is ring fenced for employing certain staff, for example, physios, clinical pharmacists and paramedics and the Red House has welcomed these allied health care professionals to the practice. For this reason, when you call for an appointment you will be asked questions by our trained admin team as to the reason for your appointment. You may then be booked an appointment directly with one of these team members, who will be appropriately qualified to deal with your problem. For example, if you have an acutely painful knee you may be given an appointment with a physio, if you are not tolerating a medication you may be given an appointment with a clinical pharmacist. In addition we have a skilled and experienced team of paramedics and advanced nurse practitioners, all of whom are experts in dealing with a variety of minor illnesses.

Demand at The Red House, has been the highest we have ever faced, as we continue to deal with acutely unwell patients with Covid, as we attempt to support patients struggling to access secondary care due the immense backlogs resulting from the pandemic, as we adapt and change how we run the organisation in order to safely provide ongoing medical care to patients, as well as successfully delivering the largest and most important vaccination campaign in the history of the NHS.

On occasion, unfortunately some patients feedback that they struggle to get an appointment with a clinician in the timeframe they feel they need. As a result we reflected on this and we have reviewed our data. In April of this year we offered 7,333 appointments compared to 6,724 in April 2019, showing that in fact we have increased access by 609 appointments/month. We have also compared the waiting time to see GPs and there is no significant difference between 2019 and 2021; some GPs the wait was a little less, some a little more.

This increased access has been mirrored nationally with 8.4% more GP consultations in April 2021 than April 2019. GP clinical administrative workload – covering prescriptions, referral letters, messages to patients and other tasks – continues to increase and was 34% higher in April 2021 compared with the same period in 2019.

We are immensely proud of all our staff who have worked tirelessly, sometimes at a cost to themselves and their loved ones to ensure that patients get the best possible care that we can deliver under such challenging circumstances and understandably this has taken its toll. The risk of workforce burnout has been addressed by the Health and Social Care Committee chair, Jeremy Hunt, who said: ‘Workforce burnout across the NHS and care systems now presents an extraordinarily dangerous risk to the future functioning of both services. It will simply not be possible to address the backlog caused by the pandemic unless these issues are addressed.’

As we all continue to fight against this pandemic together, we ask that we show each other mutual respect and consideration. We will continue with our aim to provide the best care and support needed to our patients whilst keeping everyone safe.

Thank you.

Dr William Bagg, Dr Krish Gupte, Dr Bhavin Patel and Dr Violaine Carpenter

Partners – Red House Surgery

Face masks mandatory in general practice

We need to continue to do what we can to keep people safe from catching Covid-19. One way we can all help with this is by continuing to wear a face-covering in our practice and we are asking all patients to do that, as well as our staff. Keeping our staff safe is essential to keep operating efficiently.

We are also continuing to make sure we don’t have large numbers of patients in our waiting areas and on the premises – again this is about reducing the chance of infection when there are rising rates in the community.

The various measures we have taken, including increased use of personal protective equipment, patients wearing face masks, holding more virtual consultations, social distancing and extra premises cleans have helped protect staff, patients and visitors over the past year. Taking these steps has also enabled us to continue providing many of the non-urgent services that would otherwise have been postponed.

We want to make sure you can all be confident about accessing or visiting local healthcare services safely.

Thank you for your understanding and your cooperation with this – it makes a huge difference.

We have so far booked and vaccinated 15,351 patients…

We have so far booked and vaccinated 15,351(84%) patients for their 1st dose of Covid Vaccination at the Allum Hall site in Borehamwood as at 4th July2021

We have vaccinated 12,905(70%) patients for their 2nd dose of Covid Vaccination.

Please do not call us as or email us for your Covid Vaccination. The surgery will contact you to book an appointment. Many thanks.

Data Opt-Out Information 2021

The national data opt-out is a service that allows patients to opt out of their confidential patient information being used for research and planning.

The data extraction switch-on has now been delayed until September 2021

NHS Digital has been collecting anonymised data from GP practices for research purposes for years. On 1 September 2021 a new, daily, data collection process will begin. You can find out more about this on the NHS Digital website. You may not want your identifiable patient data to be shared for purposes except for your own care. If this is the case, you can opt out by registering a Type 1 Opt-out.

If you do not want your data to be shared with NHS Digital please register your Type 1 Opt-out with the surgery before 1st September 2021.

The data held in your GP medical records is shared with other healthcare professionals for the purposes of your individual care. It is also shared with other organisations to support health and care planning and research.

You can register a Type 1 Opt-out , for yourself or for a dependent (if you are the parent or legal guardian of the patient), by completing the Type 1 Opt-Out Form Forms should be returned to the surgery before the 1st September 2021. For more information click on the links below.

Make your choice about sharing data from your health records – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

GP data sharing: What is it and can I opt out? (BBC News Website)

GP Practice ‘re-opening’ Update From Monday 17th May

You may have seen on the news that from Monday 17 May, doors at GP practices are ‘re-opening’. As you will know, our GP practice has been open throughout the pandemic, offering patients telephone and online appointments, with face to face consultations available for those who need them. This was in-line with national requirements to keep patients safe, whilst COVID infection rates were high and before the vaccination was widespread.

GP practices are now being encouraged to offer patients a choice of whether they would like a remote or face to face consultation. However, before we have more people coming into the surgery to see us in person, we need a bit of time to put in place measures to keep everyone safe.

As we wait for further national guidance on doing that, we ask that patients continue to contact us by phone or online as you have been doing. We are facing unprecedented demands for our services and will need to continue to adjust how we use our clinicians’ time to best support our patients – particularly those who need us the most.

We will keep you updated as soon as we are clear about how we can re-open our reception areas safely. Thank you for your support.