Picture of Dr Nicole Atkinson at the last PCN Development Day
Toni Smith September 28, 2021

South Notts Practice staff working smarter to manage demand and deliver responsive, safe, quality care

Across our GP Practices in South Nottinghamshire, staff are working harder than ever to ensure patients are kept safe and continue to get the care they need.

In Nottinghamshire, there were 492,711 GP appointments in July, with 57 per cent of these being face-to-face and 51 per cent of patients being seen the same day or next.

Restrictions like social distancing and wearing a face covering ended for the general public in July, but in healthcare settings these restrictions remain in place to keep patients, the most vulnerable and staff safe. This means that while face-to-face appointments are fully available, there are changes to primary care.

These include different types of appointments and more virtual consultations, while one of the recent positive changes in Primary Care is the development of roles and services in general practice and the community that make it easier to access a wider range of help from general practice, closer to home, by phone or online. This is part of the NHS Long Term Plan to offer people more choice and more joined-up healthcare.

These new roles such as Clinical Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Social Prescribing Link Workers and  Mental Health Practitioners are now working alongside GPs, Nurses and GP Practice staff in Primary Care Networks to complement the offer of  support and advice available.  It is also important to remember that sometimes things can be treated easily at your local pharmacy.

Heather Nixon, from Hucknall, can’t praise her GP Practice enough for the support she has received. She has benefitted from the new health and care practitioner roles that have been introduced and has been seeing the First Contact Physiotherapist from Byron PCN who has helped her regain mobility in her arm.

She says: “I’ve been struggling with limited movement in my arm, a frozen shoulder, which has really had an impact on my life. Charlie has been so responsive and really helped. In just two short weeks, following her guidance and exercises, the improvement has been amazing. She’s really easy to talk to and always follows up to see how I’m doing.”

Many practices are currently using a mix of appointments and online methods to provide high quality patient care. When West Bridgford dad, Matt Thorpe, needed an appointment for his daughter’s skin issue, he was impressed with the combination of the digital and face-to-face service on offer.

He said: “The process worked well, we called for an appointment and received a prompt call back from the GP. He asked us to send photos through the online system and she was booked in for an appointment later that day. I can’t complain at all, we’ve always had fantastic service even during the worst of the pandemic.”

Eastwood GP and South Notts ICP Clinical Lead Dr Nicole Atkinson says: “GP practices have continued to see patients in person during the pandemic. There are a number of options for people, including telephone and video consultations, which many of our patients prefer, but everyone who needs to be seen face-to-face will have that opportunity.

“Demand is high and all practice staff have been working extremely hard to be responsive and provide high quality care. Using this mix of appointment options, GPs are seeing more patients than ever.

“I would urge patients to seek medical advice if they have something they are worried about. Please don’t put off getting in touch if you have any unusual symptoms which have gone on for more than two or three weeks. We are here and we are open. Don’t put it off.

“In South Notts, we really value everyone working across health and care. Everyone has been working flat out in a very challenging environment. And I’d like to say a big thank you to all my colleagues across General Practice – you’re doing an amazing job!”