DOWN AT THE DOCTORS
On 9th October we held our first influenza vaccination session at Little Hadham Village Hall from 8:30am (although the first keen punters came at 8:20!) until 1pm. During that time, we administered 650 flu jabs plus a few pneumonia ones as well, which was a sterling effort by all involved. Thank you to all our staff, who gave up their Saturday morning, and to all the volunteers and village hall committee members who organised the car parking and beverages; I won’t mention them all by name because I’m bound to forget someone and then I’ll be in trouble! You all know who you are.
Sadly, there seems to be increasing unrest, among a no-doubt minority of patients, with regard to face-to-face appointments with a GP. According to the Prime Minister, this is your right! However, there should be no rights without responsibility.
Our receptionists are the front line and bear the brunt of folk’s anger. Abuse is becoming an almost daily occurrence. Patients are sometimes reluctant to share any information with the receptionists, who are trained to guide you to the most appropriate service. This will not always be a GP (or nurse), some patients contact the surgery and make telephone appointments with symptoms that they have had for only a day, or that are really quite minor, or because they need a certificate for work/benefits. This clogs up the system.
We have continued to work hard and be there for our patients. At the same time as doing the day job we have undertaken the covid vaccination programme, embraced new technologies (eConsult, virtual consultations, electronic prescribing and supported patients with the NHS App etc) and kept the dispensary open while under extreme staffing pressures.
Our surgery has never been shut and we have not been “in hiding” as I have heard said many times throughout the last 18 months. We have had to change the way we work, primarily to keep patients and staff safe. The “negative press” towards GPs is affecting recruitment; who would want to come into a profession where you are subject to such hostility?
Having said all that, we continue to see patients for face-to-face consultations but, for the moment, this still has to be following a telephone assessment by a clinician (Doctor or Nurse), Covid is still out there; we get daily notification of our patients who have had a positive PCR test. Cases and hospital admissions are rising. Please don’t be complacent and, if offered, GET THE JAB!
Finally, I would like to announce that Dr John Conway will be retiring from Much Hadham Health Centre on 31st December. John has been a partner for just over 12 years and will be sorely missed. Always compassionate, caring and willing to give his patients his time and expertise. If anyone wishes to send a card or cross his palm with silver or malt whisky, I will gladly act as intermediary!! John is not retiring from General Practice and will be doing locums at practices in the area; he may still be spotted from time to time.
Dr Paul Haimes