Wiltshire Publications

Health centre’s challenging year

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THE White Horse Health Centre has spoken about the challenges they have had delivering medical services to patients during the pandemic. 

Speaking to White Horse News, deputy practice manager at White Horse Health Centre, Marie Strachan said, “The practice as a whole has worked so hard in maintaining and delivering services for our patients and we are very proud of how everyone has pulled together in achieving this.  

“One of the biggest challenges was having to ask patients not to come to either White Horse Health Centre or Bratton surgery unless they were asked to do so by a clinician.  

“Initially the nurses and health care assistants had to visit patients at home who were shielding. We had to suspend routine face to face appointments and the majority of GP and advanced nurse practitioner consultations had to be conducted over the telephone, which soon evolved to, where necessary video consultation or online consultations using E-consult.    

“This was a big change for both patients and staff but was a necessary step to ensure the safety of all concerned was priority. Using such technology is something we are taking as a positive from the pandemic, we intend to carry forward using these resources when normal service resumes. Many of our patients find these new ways of working much more convenient, especially the working population, however we understand there will be patients who need to be seen, which we will always accommodate where clinically necessary.

“We have had to implement safety measures to ensure our practice is ‘Covid Secure’,  this includes use of PPE,  a one-way patient system, intercom at the main door, social distancing rules, new porta-cabins within the car park and working from home set up for those employees who could.   

“We have been operating a ‘book on the day’ system for our GPs and advanced nurse practitioner since September as we did not know what the autumn and winter months were going to bring. We recognise this has had an impact on the telephone system in regards to increased calls into the practice, which has been problematic for some of our patients.  

“We are hoping to make some changes in the coming weeks to allow more flexibility within this system as we enter into spring.

“Since December, we have been working very closely as a Primary Care Network with the Avenue in delivering the vaccination campaign. This has been both challenging and rewarding and we are very grateful to all our staff,  the volunteers and army for the help and support to enable this to happen.  

“We are now in the process of calling all patients in cohort 9 and we ask any patients who fall into cohorts 1-9 and have not received their vaccine to telephone us on 01373 828330.  If there are any queries in relation to vaccine, patients can email wccg.wgp                    patientvoice@nhs.net.”