Pausing Elective Care in Greater Manchester (4/1/22)
Pausing Elective Care in Greater Manchester (4/1/22)
Hospitals in Greater Manchester have made the difficult decision to pause some non-urgent surgery and appointments due to the rising impact of COVID-19.
Patients who will be affected by this will be contacted by the hospital as soon as possible.
If you are not contacted by the hospital, please assume your treatment is continuing as planned. There is no need to contact the hospital or your GP practice for this information.
We understand how disappointing this will be for patients who have appointments or procedures affected, especially those who have already waited for some time, and we know people will be worried.
This is a temporary measure, and the aim is to impact the fewest number of patients. The situation will be reviewed on a regular basis so that procedures can resume as soon as possible.
Urgent treatments and cancer operations will continue to be prioritised and hospitals will continue to work together across Greater Manchester to care for patients so that everyone who needs urgent care and treatment, gets it.
Anyone waiting for treatment can find advice and support on the Greater Manchester While You Wait website (whileyouwait.org.uk). Here you will find information and advice on how to manage your physical and mental wellbeing while you wait.
This is a difficult decision and one that has not been taken lightly, but we’ve done it so we can keep people safe, can maintain the very best infection control measures, can make sure we deploy staff to where they’re needed most and can keep looking after people who need urgent and emergency care, including cancer treatment.
We would urge anyone with health concerns to continue to come forward for help and treatment in the usual way, using their local emergency department only for serious illnesses or injuries. A reminder that NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and aren’t sure what to do. Call 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk.
Covid-19 Booster Jab
Every adult in Manchester should now have a Covid-19 booster jab as part of the plan to fight the spread of the Omicron variant.
You can book a booster jab online using the national booking system or by calling 119
People registered with a Manchester GP can also call the Gateway on 0161 947 0770 or 0800 092 402. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am – 6pm. Ask them about a free taxi to and from your vaccination appointment if you need help with transport.
If you have received a text message from your GP practice about booking a vaccination you can also follow the instructions in the message.
Sites across Manchester have extended their opening times to make it easy for people to get their life-saving jabs.
You can also find details of local walk-in sites on the Manchester City Council website. You don’t need an appointment to attend these walk in clinics.
Please make sure that you wear a face covering at all vaccination sites.
Remember, it’s never too late to get vaccinated. If you haven’t had your first, second or your booster jab then please do. It’s important that you do all you can to keep yourself, your friends and your family safe.
Access To Primary Care
Access to Primary Care is a nationwide problem but it is particularly acute in the North West with Manchester having one of the highest levels of morbidity and North Manchester the highest levels within the city. This is exacerbated by a national shortage of GPs and nurses within primary care.
We Know that access to our practice at the moment is extremely difficult. This Is due to a number of factors. To improve access there needs to be a change in the balance of supply and demand .
On the Supply Side:
We have employed an extra salaried GP, a Physician Associate, an additional Practice Based Pharmacist and we employ Locum GPs using Covid recovery money and practice funds to provide additional sessions and cover some annual leave but this is still not enough. Locum GPs are often difficult to find at short notice when urgently needed.
We have received a small amount of Covid Recovery funding from MHCC to pay for extra Locum GPs, but this only amounts to 77p per patient for our practice and does not go very far, the distribution of this funding package across primary care has been very inequitable and there is a small practice nearby that has received over £4 per patient. We are awaiting a response from MHCC to see if this unfair lack of funding for our patients can be addressed.
We are trying to contribute to improving staffing for the future by training 2 GP registrars who are qualified doctors doing their postgrad training to be GPs, we educate medical students, and we are supporting a nurse in her training to be an advanced nurse practitioner who will be able to prescribe and are supporting one of our health care assistants training to be a Registered Nurse.
We have been the Lead Practice responsible for the local COVID Vaccination Centre for our PCN (Primary Care Network) covering over 45,000 patients . We have tried not to let this impact on core hours at the practice for our clinical staff, but it inevitably will mean that they have not been able to do extra hours at the practice if they were working there instead.
Practice input into the vaccination centre ended on 31st August 2021.
On the demand side:
Primary Care workload has increased exponentially.
Telephone triage remains in place to ensure the safety of our patients and staff as we are not yet in a position with the pandemic, especially in Manchester, to go back to packed waiting rooms.
This means every patient who requires a face-to-face appointment uses 2 appointments as they are assessed by telephone or video first.
We are dealing with sometimes 700+ incoming phone calls daily - these include requests for emergency appointments, urgent and routine appointments, requests for results, requests for medication, chasing up secondary care appointments, secondary care results, enquiries about covid vaccines and more.
Medication requests also come in via the pharmacists and the total can be 300+ daily.
Secondary Care is also struggling and because of this more and more work is passed to Primary Care including arranging monitoring bloods that would otherwise have been done at the hospital, chasing up results that have not been available at discharge, liaising with patients about missing results, missing appointments for follow up and delays to hospital treatment caused by the pandemic. These delays also mean that patients’ conditions worsen while they are awaiting treatment and they need more input from primary care in the meantime using up more of the available appointments.
Due to the pandemic patients have had delays to their routine chronic disease management and monitoring, these delays cannot go on indefinitely as their conditions may deteriorate and these patients must somehow all be fitted in to appointments. In addition, If these checks are not done then the practice loses income and is no longer able to afford the extra staff to do the checks in the first place thus reducing overall access to everyone.
The pandemic has worsened the mental health of the population, these people require a lot of input from ourselves as Community and Secondary Care Mental Health Support is overstretched.
We have been told we have to provide a certain number of appointments for NHS111 to book direct.
We have been told we must review everyone who has been seen at the Hot clinic, regardless of clinical need.
We have been told we must review everyone who has a positive Covid test, again regardless of clinical need.
Most patients have been amazing and have soldiered on with self-care and accessing our service only when necessary however there are those who have not managed so well and have used us as a first port of call for every minor ailment. We would like to remind everyone of the very extensive and helpful resources on our website and on NHS choices, NHS 111 by phone and online, as well as the highly skilled and professional help available through your local pharmacy. If more people could look for alternative routes for advice and help, we would hopefully have more appointments available to those with more serious and complicated conditions. Everyone needs to do their bit to ensure we can provide a service to those who need it most as the NHS does not have endless capacity.