What’s New? Latest developments in Primary Care and for our Practice

Changes to appointment system from 11th January 2021

We have kept our doors open throughout the pandemic and carried on taking bookings for routine appointments in advance (the only difference being these are telephone appointments), as well as dealing on the day with emergencies and urgent queries, and if you need to be seen by the doctor we have continued to bring patients into the surgery every day.

However the current unprecedented workload is threatening to swamp us.  Our GPs have been working 12 hour days and carrying on working at home in the evenings and at weekends.  We have to make some changes to ensure that, for the next few weeks at least, we can prioritise patients with the most urgent needs.

We are therefore moving to a total triage system for our GP work, as many other GP surgeries have already done.  Please note that this does not apply to nurse appointments which will continue as normal.

The main difference for you is that we cannot book you a routine appointment until the pressure eases.  This will give time for the second GP each day to assist with the on-the-day emergencies and triaging all requests to make sure that the most urgent requests are dealt with quickly.

  • If you have an urgent problem which you feel requires same-day assessment by a doctor, you should telephone us as normal and we will put you on that day’s triage list.  A doctor will assess the information you give our receptionist and either telephone you, bring you in to the surgery or book you a later appointment as appropriate.
  • If you feel your problem is less urgent and does not require same day assessment, please send  an eConsult by clicking on the blue box towards the bottom of this page.  This will be looked at by a GP and you will get a response by email within 2 -3 working days (the response could be advice, a prescription or the offer of an appointment as appropriate).  For patients who are less computer-savvy, continue to telephone us and we will help you.

If your problem is relatively routine but you feel it cannot wait please telephone us for advice; our reception or admin team may be able to help you or we will add your request to the GP list to assess and respond to within an appropriate timescale. For routine problems please try to ring between 9am and 11am, avoiding the busy first half hour and allowing us to prioritise urgent calls and emergencies after 11am so we can be sure of completing all the same-day work by the end of the day.

Remember, we are still open and working as normal, seeing patients, monitoring your long-term conditions and organising referrals, so do not delay if there is something you are worried about.  The only difference is that all new requests will be triaged by the GPs first so that we can be sure we are dealing with the most clinically urgent problems first.

Our GPs can not respond to emails at the moment so please only use this option for sending information to the GP which does not require a response (such as sending us your home BP readings) or to request administrative help from our admin team.  Our email address for these purposes is portesham.reception@dorsetgp.nhs.uk.  Remember, for non-urgent queries use the eConsult option or telephone our reception team for advice.

Remember not to come into the surgery in person unless you are collecting medication from the dispensary (which is 8.30 to 1pm or 5 – 6 pm) or for a pre-arranged appointment with a GP or nurse.  Don’t forget your mask!

We understand that these changes may seem radical – we are all used to being available to our patients at all times for appointments and phone calls – but the pace of work has simply outstripped our capacity at the moment, and we hope that these changes will mean we can keep going until the immediate pressure eases.

Corona Virus update: click here for the latest advice.

Surgery Snippets Newsletter Spring 2020

Too busy to See the Doctor?
We are working to improve access to appointments for our patients, in particular at evenings and weekends.   We are able to book you into appointments in Bridport Community Hospital, Dorset County Hospital and Weymouth Community Hospital (all in the Minor Injuries/Urgent Care centres) from 6 – 8pm every weekday and at weekends.  These clinics are run by either a GP or a nurse practitioner who can assess and treat new minor illness, including issuing prescriptions, and advise on ongoing treatment, and (with your permission) can access your full GP medical record.  There are also nurse clinics where the staff can take bloods and do dressings.   Our reception team will advise you and book an appropriate appointment for you if this is helpful.

Blood Test Results 

If your nurse or GP takes a blood or urine sample for laboratory testing at Dorset County Hospital, we will only contact you with the results if any action is required (such as repeat tests, review with your GP or a medication change).

If you don’t hear from us (usually within a week) you can assume the test result was normal.

If you want to know the actual result you can check this online through SystemOnline .  You can also see your full medical record (not just the summary as before) including consultation notes.  Please note that you must supply an email address so that your identity can be verified.  Click here to find out how to access your summary care record, as well as order prescriptions and make appointments, via the web.

Named GP

All our patients (including children) are allocated a Named GP who will coordinate your care if necessary. Do ask if you would like to know who your named GP is or let us know if you would like a particular GP to be your named GP.

Please note that all practices are now required to allocate a Named GP to their patients in line with NHS England requirements; this does not change the way we care for you in practical terms.   You still have the right to see or talk to any GP of your choice whenever they are available, regardless of who your Named GP is.

GP Earnings Report

All GP practices are required to declare the mean earnings (ie average pay) for GPs working to deliver NHS services to patients at each practice.

The average pay for GPs working in Portesham Surgery in the last financial year (2018/2019) was £24,008 before tax and National Insurance.  This is for four part time GPs (no full time GPs or locums who worked in the practice for more than six months).

Enhanced Sharing of your full GP record

Other health providers who use the same clinical system (called SystmOne) are able to view your full GP record if they have to treat you.  Until now we have only allowed this access if you have specifically given your permission; we have individually asked 75% of our patients this question during the last year.  As of 4th January 2016 we now automatically allow electronic sharing of all our patients’ GP records, unless you tell us that you would like to opt out.  If you have to be treated elsewhere by healthcare staff using the same clinical system (for example all the Minor Injuries Units in Dorset, the district nurses, midwives and health visitors) they will still ask your permission to view your GP record, if it will help them to treat you, and you can still refuse access at that point.  (Note that if you have already opted out of enhanced sharing, we have recorded your wishes and you do not need to do anything further.)


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