You may have seen information in the media this morning concerning face to face appointments being available from Monday and telephone/online consultations being scrapped. We were informed of the updated information at the same time as the public. Additionally we have appointments already booked several weeks in advance and are unable to cancel these appointments at this stage.
We would like to clarify that at Everest Health we have never stopped providing face to face consultations when needed. We have also always had telephone triage even before the COVID pandemic, you may refer to telephone triage as a ‘Duty Doctor call’.
Through the use of telephone consultations and online consultations, we have been able to increase capacity in the number of appointments we provide. We have been able to continue providing a service even when doctors have had to self-isolate, or if we have had to close a site down due to our support staff being unwell or having to self-isolate. Without the use of telephone and online consultation we would have had no option but to cancel our patient’s appointments. We are also now able to respond to patients queries and consultations within a matter of days rather than the up to 6 week wait to see a doctor previously.
We recognise that as we come out of the pandemic we will need to reconsider the volume of appointments we provide of each type; from face to face, to telephone consultations, to online consultations. Some of our patients prefer face to face consultations and some of our patients prefer being able to consult with us remotely. We have a responsibility to provide a service that fits for all of the patients registered at the practice and will be keen to work with you to redesign the service to best suit all of our patients. We will arrange a Patient Participation Group meeting as soon as we can and would invite all patients who want to contribute to the conversation to attend and engage.
Until this time, please continue to contact the practice in the same way you have done previously and we thank you for your patience in these challenging times.