The Oak Tree Centre, 1 Oak Drive, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 7HN

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NHS

Telephone: 01480 483100

acorn.enquiries@nhs.net

An important message to our Patients.

Posted on May 14th, 2021

You may have seen in the media today that “Patients have won the right to face-to-face appointments with telephone and online consultations scrapped”. The Acorn Team would like to reassure our patients that throughout the pandemic we have offered face-to-face appointments where this is clinically necessary as part of our service delivery, whilst providing patients with a broader range of accessing care via telephone, video and online consultations. This will continue, as many patients have told us that they prefer options rather than having to take time out and travel to the surgery to be seen in person, particularly if they don’t need to be examined or have tests undertaken. It has certainly been necessary during the pandemic-related lockdowns so that patients could still access our service and remain safe.

We are able to manage demand for appointments much more proficiently by offering a telephone consultation first, so that clinicians can assess the problem and deal with this over the phone, or organise a face-to-face video call or an in-person appointment with the patient. This works well as the clinician is able to discuss with the patient when the most convenient time would be for them to come to the surgery, for example if they need to be examined or seen in-person. Appointments with our nursing team continue to be mainly face-to-face but wherever appropriate, telephone reviews will continue to be an option for patients.

In the past month alone we have seen 1,871 patients in person, carried out 2,825 telephone consultations, 45 video consultations, and 610 consultations online as well as dealing with many hundreds of email requests for medication or queries, processing enormous amounts of correspondence from hospitals and other organisations, processing thousands of test results and referring patients for specialist care. This has been alongside the added pressures of delivering the Covid-19 vaccine to thousands of patients.

Demand nationally is increasing and we want to ensure we continue to keep our staff and patients safe as the country begins the process of coming out of lockdown, so we will continue to regularly risk assess our current model. We appreciate that patients are sometimes finding it difficult to get through on the phone with long wait times due to the increasing number of patients calling us – and our team is working very hard to answer each call as quickly as possible. It is unfortunate that our lines are being congested by general queries about the Covid-19 vaccine which we are unable to answer but have to take the time to signpost callers to services the government has provided for this purpose.

Due in part to the heavy footfall into the Oaktree Centre brought about by the CCS’s Mass Vaccination Service, our Reception Desk will remain closed for the time being, but our staff are available to deal with our patients’ queries by phone or email and, of course, face-to-face enquiries where these are essential. We have remodelled our front-of-house area to enable patients to collect and drop off documents and specimens in a safe way and we will continue to assess the risks of changing our processes to keep everyone as safe as possible from the virus.

Please be assured that we are dedicated to providing the very best service we can to our patients.