A Letter from Dr Gurjit Dhesi to his Patients
Please click here to read an important letter written by Dr Gurjit Dhesi to his patients.
Update in Response to The Prime Minister
I am sure that the latest news on Covid-19 and the Omicron variant has not escaped you. You will also have noted the national focus on boosting the Covid-19 vaccination programme. In line with this, all GP’s in England are being asked to re-deploy as many resources as are possible towards helping the immunisation programme. We are doing our bit by running the vaccination hub at Chalfont Hospital more extensively during the week but also on weekends and on the forthcoming bank holidays through Christmas. We are asking you to help us achieve this by deferring any more routine problems until after the New Year - please bear this in mind when you are thinking of contacting us. That said, please do continue to contact us as normal for any more urgent medical problems that you think cannot wait. We will be reviewing the situation and guidance again in the New Year. I hope you can have a Merry Christmas (of sorts) in the meantime.
Dr. Gurjit S. Dhesi
Closure of Contact Email
From 1st January 2022 all electronic communication from patients must go through Online Services (e.g. Patient Access, Evergreen Life, NHS App) as this email address will no longer be active. This is to streamline communications and ensure patients receive the most effective care.
If you do not have an account, send your name, date of birth, mobile number & email address to: email@example.com and we will send your account details to your email.
Under 65 Flu Jab Clinic - Sunday 6th November 2021
Our first flu clinic is now fully booked, appointments for under 65s are now available to book online for Sunday 6th November.
Under 65s Flu Jabs
We are currently fully booked for under 65s flu jabs. We are awaiting confirmation of a further 500 vaccines and these appointments should be available to book from Saturday 7th September. Please check back then to find out when that clinic will be or visit Patient Access to book your appointment from Saturday.
Restrictions Lifting and How The Allan Practice Will Work
We would like to reassure all our patients that The Allan Practice is open and here for all who need to use our services.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our practice has remained open and here for you just doing things slightly differently, with greater emphasis on remote assessments and inviting patients for face-to-face appointments only when necessary. But we have never closed our doors as a service; we have simply been operating in a COVID-safe way.
Although lockdown restrictions are easing it is still important for the safety of patients and staff that we continue to maintain a COVID-secure environment. It is hugely encouraging that the vaccination rollout has been so successful, but infection rates are still concerning and the emergence of new COVID variants pose a risk we cannot ignore.
For this reason, we will continue to ask visitors to our practice to wear face masks when they enter the building and to socially distance. By taking these simple precautions we can work together to prevent infections among both patients and staff. This also helps us avoid having staff members isolate, which in turn will help us keep your GP services running smoothly.
We will be continuing to assess patients remotely first and will offer face-to-face appointments to those who the doctor deems need them.
As we are sure you appreciate, it is really important for us to focus on patients who need us the most and who may have an urgent or long-term health need that requires attention. It is also the case that administrative work has increased considerably for GPs and staff as a result of the pandemic. Using telephone assessment methods means we can make sure our time is used to help each patient in the best way for their particular health concern. We would like to reassure you that we will always be working hard to put your needs, as patients, first.
Routine screenings, health checks and immunisations all continue to be available at your GP practice.
We are very aware how difficult the pandemic has been for many patients. We also understand that some may be frustrated at having to wait a little longer than usual for certain treatments. Similarly, our telephone lines have been far busier than usual for this time of year, and patients may find themselves on hold for slightly longer while we deal with calls.
We would ask, however, that all patients please treat our staff with kindness and respect. General Practice has been working extremely hard, and very long hours, throughout the pandemic and the recent vaccination rollout. This has been a difficult and exhausting time for many of our staff, who continue to work diligently to support all our patients.
We appreciate your patience and understanding in this and would like to thank our patients for their support.
Using NHS services
If you have any concerning or suspicious symptoms, we would ask that you please do not hesitate to contact us. We understand that some of you may have put off contacting your GP because of the COVID situation, for various reasons. But if you have a genuine concern, please get in touch as soon as possible either through Online Services or via your doctor's secretary. We want to help you.
That being said, we would still ask that you consider how urgent your request is before you contact us. Often with mild complaints your local pharmacy, will be able to give you the help you need quickly and easily.
If you need urgent care we would urge you to call 111 or go to www.111.nhs.uk first. These can then direct you to the most appropriate local service (for instance, the Urgent Treatment Centre or A&E).
And please always call 999 for a life-threatening illness or injury.
If you have COVID symptoms – a high temperature, new continuous cough or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – please make sure you get tested and continue to follow the guidance by self-isolating to help protect those you may come into contact with.
For more information about COVID-19 and how to arrange a test, please click here.
Opting Out of Data Sharing
GP Practices "Re-Opening"
You may have seen on the news that from Monday 17 May, doors at GP Practices are “re-opening”. As you will know, The Allan Practice has been open throughout the pandemic, offering patients telephone & online appointments, with face to face consultations available for those who need them.
Our waiting room is shared between 2 practices which have a total of nearly 20,000 patients. There is a limit to how many patients we can have in the waiting area at one time to keep everybody safe. As we await further national guidance, we ask patients to continue to contact us through our website or phone as you have been doing.
Whilst adjusting our services we will ensure that clinicians’ time is used efficiently to support our patients. We thank you for your support.
The NHS Is Here For You
General practice is a critical part of the wider NHS and together, we care for the most vulnerable members of our community. Covid-19 infection rates are extremely high and continuing to rise in (INSERT NAME OF TOWN). Our numbers of staff in general practice are also reduced by the infection rate, and so to keep our patients and staff safe we need to make changes to the way we provide services locally. This will ensure that those most at risk from the impact of Covid and those with the greatest health needs are prioritised at this time including ensuring the Covid-19 vaccination is rolled out as quickly as possible to priority groups.
Minor illness and conditions that can be dealt with by community pharmacies will not be seen in general practice. Please follow our “Know Where to Go When Feeling Unwell” guidance and contact your local pharmacy in the first instance. If you need advice over and above what your pharmacy can provide, use NHS 111 online NHS 111 online or call NHS111 if you do not have access to the internet.
General practice remains OPEN if you need us for an urgent and on-going health need:
- Practices have been asked to prioritise the needs of those people we know are at increased risk from Covid-19, including people with long term conditions, frailty, learning disabilities and severe mental illness.
- Serious, ongoing and urgent conditions will be prioritised including routine care for those at higher risk
- You may notice that you have less contact with your GP than previously if your condition is stable at the moment.
- Suspected cancer will be prioritised
- Covid-19 infections will be prioritised
Many other services will also continue, but please consider how urgent your request is and whether this could wait.
Our staff have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, so if you need to contact the practice please remember that any abuse of our staff will not be tolerated.
Please do not contact your practice by phone or online for minor illness.
Please do not contact your practice by phone or online about Covid vaccinations.
Thank you for supporting your general practice surgery at this time.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week
We want to help everyone with a cervix know how cervical cancer can be prevented. The easiest steps to help protect yourself from cervical cancer include:
- Attending cervical screening when invited
When you are due for a cervical screening you will receive a written invitation in the post, it's important to book your appointment straight away so you don't forget. The Allan Practice has cervical screening appointments available to book through Patient Access so you don't have to worry about finding the time to call when we're open.
- Knowing the symptoms of cervical cancer and seeking medical advice if you are experiencing any of them
Symptoms include: vaginal bleeding that is unusual for you, changes to vaginal discharge, pain or discomfort during sex and unexplained pain in your lower back or your pelvis. It is important to remember that these symptoms usually happen for reasons not related to cancer but if you experience any of them, book an appointment with your GP so they can be checked properly.
- Receiving the HPV vaccination
13 types of HPV are linked to cancer, known as high-risk HPV; the vaccine aims to stop you getting some of the high-risk HPV types. Boys and girls aged 12-13 will receive this vaccination at school. For more information about the HPV vaccination please visit: https://www.jostrust.org.uk/information/hpv-vaccine
The Allan Practice will be sending out messages to those who are overdue for their cervical screening throughout this month but if you believe you need yours, please book online today. We have made extra appointments available to book online to mark Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
If you would like to learn more about cervical screening (smear test) or about cervical cancer, please visit: https://www.jostrust.org.uk/
Covid-19 Vaccination Update
We are currently receiving a lot of calls and messages from patients and relatives asking when they will receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Our Primary Care Network team is working hard to deliver the vaccine as quickly as possible in order of Government recommended priority grouping (please see the link below). The vaccine is not currently being offered to anyone under the age of 16 years.
We have recently received updated and more specific guidance regarding patients with a history of allergy, therefore some patients who were originally told they could not have the vaccine may now be called and invited.
We are still currently vaccinating priority group 1 (care home residents and staff) and priority group 2 (those over 80 years of age and frontline health & social care workers) as we receive supplies of vaccine. We usually get very short notice of vaccine delivery (often only 2-3 days' notice).
Please do not contact the surgery as this takes staff away from other critical duties and blocks the phone lines. Please be assured that as soon as we have supply of vaccine available for your priority grouping, we will be in touch to arrange an appointment for you.
Many thanks for your patience and understanding,
The Allan Practice
Part of The Chalfonts Primary Care Network
Covid-19 Vaccinations - An Update From The Chalfonts PCN
All patients who wish to receive a Covid vaccination will receive one in due course. This may be the Pfizer BioNTech vaccination or another vaccination as they become available. Due to MHRA updated guidelines we are only in the position to vaccinate patients who do not have a recording of an adverse or allergic reaction in their medical records.
We appreciate that this is upsetting to some patients who are keen to have the vaccination and have not been called – Please be assured that as soon as guidelines and supply of vaccine allow us you will be contacted.
Our PCN is one of the first to deliver the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in the country. We have limited stock of this vaccination however we are expecting further deliveries in the New Year. Our first priority is to ensure the safe delivery of the vaccination programme which means that we have made difficult decisions to ensure keeping our patients safe.
Members of our administrative team are conveying this message to our patients and we would ask that you please treat them respectfully in your conversations with them.
NHS England has requested that patients do not contact practices to book the vaccination and we would ask you to adhere to this request as currently this is blocking phone lines for patient needing our care. There is no further vaccine available at this time as all appointments for the vaccination have been booked.
We appreciate your patience and understanding – Thank you
The Chalfonts PCN
Update on Covid-19 Vaccine
While we don’t expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be widely available until 2021, the Government has asked the NHS to be ready to deliver a vaccination programme for England from December, so that those who need it most will be able to access vaccinations as soon as they are available.
A prioritisation list has been produced in order for the vaccine to be delivered to groups who will need it first. The NHS will contact you when you are eligible to receive the vaccine and provide you with information about location and date.
Given the current requirements for social distancing, and the number of people who need to be vaccinated, you may be asked to attend a vaccination site. This may be your GP surgery or another location, such as another NHS building or designated vaccination site.
Physiotherapy in The Chalfonts Primary Care Network
Musculoskeletal (MSK) health issues are the most common cause of repeat GP appointments and account for around 1 in 5 of all GP appointments. Most of them can be dealt with effectively by a physiotherapist without any need to see the GP.
What is a musculoskeletal first contact physiotherapist?
- First contact physiotherapists (FCPs) are advanced practitioners working within primary care with extensive expertise in the clinical assessment, diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions.
- FCPs see patients with (suspected or diagnosed) MSK conditions as the first point of contact, instead of a GP, and can be accessed directly by contacting the practice’s reception.
What do FCPs do during appointments?
- A typical FCP appointment involves assessment, diagnosis and first-line treatment. FCPs can also refer patients for a course of physiotherapy treatment, using the same pathways as GPs.
- As a person-centred service, most appointments include self-management advice, social prescribing, and discussions about physical activity and fitness for work.
How long are FCP appointments?
- FCP appointment are longer than typical GP appointments and 20 minute appointments allow for safe and effective consultation.
How can appointments be booked?
As FCP work with the practice, appointments can be made via your practice.
A Letter from Dr Gurjit Dhesi
We continue to work hard to adapt to ever-changing guidance, whilst at the same time endeavouring to offer high quality clinical care. There are a couple of organisational issues that I would like to highlight and I would be grateful if you could take these on board when contacting the surgery.
‘Flu vaccines 2020/21: Please understand that every year we place our order for ‘flu vaccines at a very early stage (which is as the supplying pharmaceutical companies require). Orders for deliveries in Autumn 2021 need to be placed BEFORE the end of 2020. Similarly, the deliveries that we are currently receiving were ordered in Winter 2019, well before the current pandemic started. Once ordered, we are given fixed delivery dates, in small batches. We have absolutely no ability to change either the quantities ordered, or the scheduled delivery dates. This year, with the pandemic now in full flow, we are getting an unprecedented demand for ‘flu vaccinations, in common with all GP surgeries (and most community pharmacies), supplies are very tight. I’m afraid that this is not being helped by media statements to the contrary, saying that there are enough supplies for everyone. That may turn out to be the case if and when additional supplies are released but it is certainly not the case right now. I wanted to detail the above as many patients are speaking to our secretaries and expressing their displeasure with the current arrangements. Please be aware that the current situation with the ‘flu vaccination programme is completely beyond their control, and also mine. Please be reassured that we are doing the best that we can in a difficult situation.
Face-to-face Consultations: Another area that is causing disquiet amongst some patients is the fact that we are seeing fewer patients face-to-face. This is indeed true but is in line with all the guidance that we are getting, both at local and national level. This makes things very difficult for us too, and the true situation is not always highlighted in the media. As a practice, we have felt that the best way to implement this guidance is for us to telephone triage all clinical contacts. Please note that we are not delegating this to nurses, or paramedics, or locum doctors, which some surgeries have been compelled to do – all telephone triage is being undertaken by our own GPs or our specially trained, in-house Minor Illness Clinician, Hannah. In the majority of cases, clinical concerns can be efficiently dealt with remotely (including with the use of video consultations or photographs from patients). Where a face-to-face consultation is needed, this is DEFINITELY being arranged and being booked following the telephone triage. Hopefully we can return to a more normal way of working at some point but please understand this whenever contact is made with the surgery. The secretaries are all working within the remit that they have been given. To go further, it has actually been quite upsetting for them when a handful of patients have implied that the surgery is being lazy, or otherwise not working. I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth and that all clinical and administrative staff are currently working harder and longer than ever pre-pandemic.
I think that’s all for now but, no doubt, I will be back with a fuller newsletter in due course. Take care and all stay safe.
Dr. Gurjit S. Dhesi 1st October 2020
August Newsletter from Dr Gurjit Dhesi
Please click the link to the right to read the most recent newsletter from our Senior Partner, Dr Gurjit Dhesi. If you are reading on your phone the link will be at the bottom of the page.
Some Changes Coming From 1st August 2020
As the world begins to start becoming a little bit more 'normal' we have started to see our work levels rise exponentially again, therefore from 1st August we will be reverting back to our pre-lockdown system of requesting prescriptions. From 1st August all prescription requests and general admin enquiries from patients will no longer be accepted through our contact email address. All patient contact must come to the surgery through Online Access or through the 'Contact Us' section of our website.
To help with processing your enquiries as quickly as possible, each secretaries' phone line will now be closed one day a week to allow the secretaries a full day of protected admin time. They will still be accessible through Online Access or the 'Contact Us' page on the website, but you will be unable to speak to the secretary on the phone. The days this effects for each doctor are: Monday Dr Bailey's Secretary, Tuesday Dr Dhesi's Secretary, Wednesday Dr Easaw's Secretary, Thursday Dr Hilton's Secretary and Friday Dr Hirani's Secretary.
Thank you for your support during the pandemic.
GP Patient Survey Results
The results are in and we are proud to annouce that The Allan Practice has rated higher than the average score within Buckinghamshire CCG.
83% of respondents usually get to see or speak to their preferred GP when they would like to.
84% of respondents were offered a choice of appointment when they last tried to make a general practice appointment.
78% of respondents are satisfied with the general practice appointment times available.
We really appreciate patients taking the time to respond to the survey and for the wonderful feedback.