­­­­­Dear Patients,

The partners and all the staff would like to thank you for the words of kindness and support that we have received through the difficult times we have been experiencing.  We are so sorry that some of the qualities at Lordswood that we strive to achieve have been compromised in recent months.

We have been working harder than ever but the challenges have been huge. This is due to unprecedented staff illness, with at one point 4 of our partners off with long term illness we could never have predicted. This has left us permanently short staffed, which has been compounded by the national shortage of GPs, There are now just 0.45 fully qualified GPs per 1,000 patients in England – down from 0.52 in 2015, making recruitment very difficult, even to find locums to fill our gaps.

This has led to us looking at new ways of working as advised by the NHS’s Long Term Plan. We now have employed directly a Physiotherapist who you can book with directly, 2 Mental Health Practioners to care for your mental health, 3 Paramedics who help with our visits and urgent on the day care, Clinical Pharmacists and Physician Associates, who are all highly qualified professionals who are really driving up the quality and breath of our offer to you. We have also undergone a successful doctor recruitment and have a number of excellent new doctors starting in August.

In the short term we made the difficult decision to move to the option of “book on the day” mainly because of the impact of having to cancel clinics when staff call in with acute illness (usually covid) – this would mean our reception team having to call patients and find space to rebook them, all first thing in a morning when they are already busy and appointment slots are in high demand. This “book on the day” option has lasted longer than we had expected but our aim is to return to pre bookable appointments as soon possible.

We are also going to update our website as well as look at online consultation options. These are areas we know need improvement.

We apologise to you all that communicating changes to you in a timely fashion has been difficult for us whilst we have been focusing on clinical care but we will do better in future and have now employed someone directly to do this as it has been hard for us to find the space to do this essential job.

We thank you for sticking with us. We also want to assure you that we all continue to work at maximum capacity to provide the best NHS care possible

With best wishes

The Partners and Staff at Lordswood Medical Practice

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