Zero Tolerance to staff abuse and current pressures

Posted by: philheiden - Posted on:

Dear Patients

I do hope to be able to share some good news stories with you at some point in the near future, as I’m aware that our communications of late have all been rather depressing. It is however important that we kept you fully informed of what’s going on and why services are struggling. The following are explanations of the reality.

The impact of the Strep A scare has brought the NHS to its knees. We are now working at unsafe activity levels across Primary Care, NHS111, Out of Hours and A&E departments are full. We have had more contacts regarding this scare than we had during the COVID pandemic.  

The British Medical Association (BMA) suggests a safe working number of consultations per practitioner is 25 per day As a Partnership we have considered this document internally and with our efficiencies feel we can safely provide more than this per day. We do this to enable our patients swifter access to medical services with their named GP for Continuity of Care in comparison to national averages.

Last week our same day access saw an increase of 41% more contacts over and above our norm. This was a horrid week. We used up every bit of staff goodwill and overtime to get us safely through the week rather than refuse or divert patients elsewhere.

Due to the collapse of 111 over this weekend yesterday (Monday 12th Dec) our contact levels were overwhelming, extremely unsafe and frankly impossible to manage.

Our call stats

  Caller attemptsCalls answeredAvg waitMax wait
05/12/20221 week ago315473502:2625:36
05/09/20223 months ago275468401:2415:36

We have raised black alert with our Integrated Care Board (ICB) commissioners and have been told every Primary Care provider is in the same position. There is no immediate support that can be offered.

I think it is worth noting that we have triaged 1000’s of children and only a small number had Strep A and none of them have had invasive Strep A.

As a practice, due to ongoing pressures all year round, not just this winter, we have recently recruited more GPs and Nurses who start with us over the next few months, this is to ensure demand and capacity is at a safe and sustainable level for our workers. Our financial budgets can’t really afford these new staff but worker’s wellbeing is of higher importance. NHS finances is another political debate and one that we wish to park for now but needs national attention.

With all the above pressures we are very disappointed with a large number of patients who feel it’s OK to take their frustrations out on our staff members. They did not cause the crisis, they have no influence to change national/local policy, they do not set out to offend or frustrate anyone. The majority of staff work in the NHS because they care and wish to help patients, not because it is easy or well paid. Here at Adelaide Medical Centre we are going to be clamping down on verbally abusive patients. All calls are recorded. If patients are verbally aggressive going forward they will receive a written warning and if it continues will be de-registered from the practice. Being angry or demanding does not get you consulted any quicker.

We look to our HIOW ICB Commissioners and Local MPs to offer short and long term solutions to the NHS Crisis both locally and nationally.

In extreme measures we may have to close our phone lines at some points during the day when levels breach clinical safety.

Can we please remind you of the following services that could help. The GP is not always the best or only option.

Thanks for your understanding

Adelaide Medical Centre