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Please be understanding of GP service delays in the Vale of York

GPs in the Vale of York are asking patients for their understanding and continued patience when contacting them for an appointment as primary care teams work harder than ever under current pressures.

GP practices have remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic for those patients with a health concern and continue to do so safely in line with government guidelines.

Patients are being offered either a telephone, video or face-to-face appointment depending on their needs and what is the most suitable for them, which after the height of the pandemic, may unfortunately mean waiting longer than usual for an appointment.

Dr Andrew Lee, the CCGs Executive Director of Primary Care and Population Health said: “GP practices are open, and primary care staff are working hard to ensure as many patients as possible can be seen face-to-face whilst keeping staff and patients safe at all times. There is a very high demand on appointments at the present time. Many of our practices are delivering appointment volumes back at or close to pre-COVID levels.

“Unfortunately, it is not easy for practices to boost the number of appointments available due to the increased time needed in between appointments to allow for enhanced cleaning processes and to manage social distancing in waiting areas to keep them safe for patients and staff. In addition, practices are reporting that some members of staff are self-isolating with their families due to coronavirus which is having a knock-on effect on staffing levels.

“We are continuing to strongly encourage people with a health concern to contact their GP practice online, via the NHS App or by telephone for an appointment. They will then be triaged into either a telephone, video or face-to-face appointment depending on what is most suitable for them. There are also other good sources of health advice such as local chemists and NHS 111 who may be able to help with minor illnesses.

“We appreciate it must be frustrating for patients and ask for their understanding and continued patience at this difficult time.

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group makes up 25 GP practices, all of which are open and running safely for patients with health concerns such as finding a lump in your body, struggling with your mental health, your child or the person you care for is unwell or cervical screening.

Dr Emma OlandJ, Clinical Director for Priory Medical Group Primary Care Network said: “Priory Medical Group remains very much open for business and, for the first time in a long time, we will have achieved our desired GP staffing levels by Christmas. Despite recent media reports that general practice is closed, we are seeing a huge number of patients in our surgeries after clinical triage. We completed 7,137 face to face appointments in August this year which is a great achievement.”

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