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Practice Response to Social Media Comments
Posted on 20 Oct 2021
We have a hugely supportive patient population but have become aware of some patients taking to social media sites to ‘share views’ that are often misguided or blatantly untrue and at times, abusive. We believe these people are absorbing all of the bad press on TV and in the papers and using social media platforms inappropriately.
We are now monitoring these sites and will take appropriate action if we feel comments are detrimental to our practice reputation.
The main reason for discontent appears to be the impossibly long time it takes to make contact with the surgery. Whilst we sympathise, we cannot provide any further staff to manage the avalanche of calls than we already have. Please be aware that over 50% of the calls to our surgery are no longer clinical. These calls make it difficult for patients who are unwell, need clinical input and speak to us. Despite repeated requests on our outgoing telephone messages, website and posters for patients to use the website ‘contact us’ form for any non-clinical related Covid questions or NHS App related issues the calls are relentless and are not simple to deal with.
The Partners and staff are managing patient demand as best we can. Whilst we will attempt to provide additional GPs, quite often this is not an option as they are simply not available. Please can we remind you all that for many years, and well before the COVID pandemic we have been using a duty doctor triage-based model; directing you to the best clinician, this has been the best way to ensure the greatest number of patients are seen quickly and by the most appropriate healthcare professional, which has been praised by many patients especially those moving from other practices.
We continue to provide this service alongside a selection of bookable telephone or face-to-face consultation appointments.
We therefore will not indulge patients ‘demanding to be seen by a GP in person’ when it really can be dealt with by speaking on the telephone. Unnecessary face-to-face appointments not only create additional pressures in both clinical and time resources, but your family member, friend or neighbour that is unwell may not be able to be seen, as there are only so many appointments to go around.
Currently the demand for any healthcare appointment is at an all time high. Recently, many patients wanted to protect the NHS by not attending for a new condition, or it could have been that many hospital departments did not see any patients for numerous months or it may be for a number of any other reasons, but now, we are seeing those patients whose conditions have worsened and as such they now need more NHS resources. This will not be a quick fix, but we are working extremely hard to try and help you. We have continued to work throughout the pandemic and face-to-face chronic disease management has never stopped. We are at a loss to understand why we are being subjected to such abuse or a perception that we have not been working
We have an exceptionally hardworking team. We are here to help and want to continue to do so, please be kind to us as we are working under extremely difficult conditions.
Your help will be very gratefully received.