Doncaster NHS takes steps to improve patient access and support GP surgeries

Extra funding, additional IT equipment and investment in telephone systems are among the measures being taken by health bosses in Doncaster to improve patient access to primary care.

Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 8:22 am

GP surgeries have been under growing pressure since before the Covid-19 pandemic with increasing demands on their services, so an extra £4 million is being spent to strengthen capacity and help reduce the burden on staff.

Dr David Crichton, Chair of the Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We recognise the past two years have been difficult for everyone and surgery staff have had to

adapt and innovate to cope with the added workload brought by the Covid vaccination programme, social restrictions and infection prevention measures.

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Dr David Crichton, GP and Chair, NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group

“It’s the same for our colleagues in the rest of the NHS where the continued disruptive impact of the pandemic has led to increased demand, treatment backlogs, long waiting lists,

staff shortages and pressures on hospital A&E departments and ambulance services.

“We’ve been working hard in primary care over several months to try to alleviate some of those pressures and allay some of the frustrations being felt, especially where people are

telling us it’s been harder for them to access their GP services.”

To tackle some of these issues the CCG is investing in more robust telephone systems for GP surgeries and their networks so contact can be made easier for patients. Microsoft

Teams is being used as a first step for practices to make outgoing calls and free-up landlines for more incoming calls.

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Additional IT equipment is being provided to practice staff so that even if they are having to self-isolate they can continue to work remotely.

The CCG is also working with surgeries to streamline some administrative processes to reduce the burden on staff, and is actively recruiting additional roles including pharmacists,

care co-ordinators and health and wellbeing specialists to increase services for patients.

Additional hours and overtime payments are also being made available to increase staff capacity.

The Community Pharmacy Consultation Service is also being expanded so patients can be referred to access urgent medication or advice on minor illnesses without needing to see a GP.

Dr Crichton added: “We have a real commitment to the health and wellbeing of the people of Doncaster, and all those who work with us across the health and social care system are taking positive steps to rise to that challenge and demand.”

How you can help

Almost 8,000 appointments were wasted across Doncaster last month because people failed to attend. If you can’t make your appointment, please get in touch to cancel it so they can offer the slot to someone else who needs it.

And if you have a minor illness or medical issue, please try your local community pharmacy first. Pharmacists are professionally trained experts who can offer advice and medications.

Zero tolerance

In addition to the measures being taken, NHS England is providing funding for GP surgeries to increase their security and the safety of patients and staff on their premises.

The CCG supports all its GP surgeries with a policy of zero tolerance towards those who treat staff with such unjustified disrespect.

The CCG has captured the thoughts and comments of surgery staff in a video talking about the abuse and aggression they’ve experienced from patients. You can view it here:

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.