GP surgery teams in Gloucestershire are being praised and thanked for leading the delivery of the county’s COVID vaccination programme and for the lives they have saved.

Local NHS leaders have described this as a truly remarkable effort, achieved on top of an already extremely busy day-to-day workload providing medical care to patients.

Helen Goodey, Director of Primary Care at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“We are incredibly grateful to our GPs and their brilliant teams for the excellent care they have been providing to their patients throughout the pandemic.

Demand is extremely high for general practice services, and whilst we understand that patients may sometimes get frustrated, we would like to ask patients to treat GPs and their staff with kindness.

Surgery teams are doing their best to meet the needs of their patients and have been working longer and harder than ever before to provide care during what has been an incredibly worrying time for many.”

Surgeries have adapted the way consultations can be offered to help them continue to provide high standards of care, and patients can now speak to the surgery team by telephone, video and via a face-to-face appointment when this is appropriate.

Dr Jeremy Welch, GP in Tewkesbury, said:

“GP surgery teams across Gloucestershire are working incredibly hard and we really appreciate the support we have received from patients during this difficult time.

We are facing higher levels of demand than we have ever seen and are working flat out to consult with patients as efficiently as possible in ways that work best for everyone.

Many patients have experienced the benefits of telephone, video and online consultations, which can include shorter waiting times for appointments, reduced risk of delaying serious diagnoses such as cancer as well as protection from sharing waiting room environments with others who may be unwell.

They can also benefit from the expertise of the range of professionals within surgery teams, such as nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and social prescribers.”

Face-to-face consultations have always been available to patients who need them, even at the height of the pandemic, and they are now increasing in line with the general relaxation of social restrictions.

Surgeries would like to say a heartfelt thank you to their patients for their continued kindness, patience and understanding.

Advice for patients

People are being asked to please consider how they can help GP surgery teams by following this advice:

  • Visit nhs.uk for helpful information; if your illness is minor, try to manage your symptoms yourself for a day or two
  • Please consider your community pharmacy if you have a minor ailment. Pharmacists are highly qualified experts on medicines and can advise if you need to see a GP or use another NHS service
  • If you’re ill or injured and are unsure where to turn, click www.111.nhs.uk or call 111. The 111 phone service can book you into local NHS services if needed
  • Call your GP surgery or go online if you need urgent medical help or have an illness that won’t go away
  • The surgery will assess your needs over the phone or online so you are cared for by the right person, in the right place for your illness
  • You may be offered a telephone appointment, e-consultation or face-to-face appointment where there is a medical need
  • Please try to avoid going to the surgery unless asked to and please respect practice staff who are doing their very best in difficult circumstances
  • It is not necessary to over-order repeat prescriptions
  • You can make appointments directly with the following services: