We ask that wherever possible you use either https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/keepsussexsafe/help-us-help-you-this-winter/ LIVI https://www.livi.co.uk/, eConsult https://cuckfieldmedicalpractice.webgp.com/ or call NHS 111 if your medical query is not an urgent matter.
We ask that patients continue to contact the Practice either by telephone, e-mail (do not use to book urgent appointments), SystmOne on-line or by e-Consult if they wish to speak with a GP. The GP or a healthcare professional will triage your call and provide advice either over the telephone, electronically or book you for a face to face appointment. If you have a pre-booked appointment at either site, we ask that you wear a face covering or mask at all times whilst you are in the building.
Bringing in samples or documentation
To reduce the number of people in the Practice building at any one time, we now have a table in the lobby area of each Practice (before you enter the main building), with secure boxes, where samples and documentation can be safely left. The Practice staff will be checking the boxes regularly during the day.
A Change to Our Appointment System
The practice is receiving more patient contacts than ever at the moment, and we appreciate that there have been long waits on the telephone lines as well as for appointments. We want to thank you for all your support at this hugely challenging time and have been touched by the many kind messages of support we have received whilst we have strived to provide you with the best service we can.
As many of you know, General Practice has seen an absolutely unprecedented demand over the last 18 months and this demand continues to increase. ‘Unprecedented’ has probably been one of the most overused words in the last year, but quite honestly this has been the most challenging period the Practice has ever encountered.
Nationally, over the last few months, general practice has provided 1 million more appointments per month compared with 2019 and GP practices delivered 300 million patient contacts in the last year (compared to 23 million in A&E). Our practice has felt this increase, and we have struggled to meet the demand for access to appointments. We have tried to deal with as many enquiries as we could on the same day or within 48 hours and this has led to our whole practice team working exceptionally hard, with some staff members working 150% of their agreed, safe working hours which is equivalent to an 8-day working week! We are sure you would agree this is not sustainable so, to protect the safety of our patients and health of our doctors and supporting staff, we are making a very necessary change to the way in which we book appointments. This change will come into effect on the 1st of October 2021.
We hope to provide a range of appointments accessible to all patients. To ensure that urgent enquiries are dealt with in a timely manner, these will be booked on the day into a morning and afternoon clinic. Your call can be added to the urgent clinics from 8:30am for the morning clinic and 1.30pm for the afternoon clinic. Once each clinic is full you will be asked use alternative methods of GP access such as a video consultation with a GP via LIVI https://www.livi.co.uk/ or eConsult https://cuckfieldmedicalpractice.webgp.com/ or to call back when the next clinic is bookable. Our clinical team will continue to help with emergencies or urgent issues that the doctor on call agrees should be dealt with that day. We will continue to have routine appointments which can be booked as usual but there may be a wait of a few weeks for these.
To try and help our clinical team gauge what needs to be dealt with urgently you will be asked to give a brief summary of the problem to our reception team. You may be offered an appointment with an alternative staff member who is able to deal with your issue and this will often be quicker and more appropriate than a GP appointment. Our additional team members include a physiotherapist, pharmacist, pharmacy technician, advanced nurse practitioner, paramedic practitioner, care coordinator and social prescriber.
In 2019 there was a political promise for 6000 additional GPs by 2024 but, unfortunately, by 2021 the number of GPs has decreased. This has led to a country wide shortage of GPs and given this situation, we have taken steps to expand our clinical team to include the additional health professionals mentioned above. These team members are all hugely experienced and valued and we are confident in their ability to help you with a wide range of problems.
We know this is only from a small minority of patients, but we ask you to respect all of our team members, but especially our reception team who are here to support you in accessing the services that you need. We operate a zero-tolerance policy to abuse towards any of our staff members. The following has been produced by the BMA to help communicate the change in how Practices have been working. Working differently does not mean we are not working.
We continue to welcome feedback about the service we are providing but please be assured we are working our hardest to meet everyone’s needs.
If you require any medical assistance outside of these hours please contact 111 – online at 111.nhs.uk or in an emergency call 999.
2023 Bank and Public Holidays:
- New Year’s Day Holiday: Monday 2 January – closed
- Good Friday: Friday 7 April – closed
- Easter Monday: Monday 10 April – closed
- Early May Bank Holiday: Monday 1 May – closed
- Bank Holiday for the Coronation of King Charles III: Monday 8 May – closed
- Spring bank holiday: Monday 29 May – closed
- Summer bank holiday: Monday 28 August – closed
- Christmas Day (substitute): Monday 25 December – closed
- Boxing Day (substitute): Tuesday 26 December – closed
The Practice telephone lines are open 8.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday.
The Practice sites are open to patients with pre-booked face to face appointments between the hours of 8am and 6.30pm