We know this last year has been hard for everyone.
We know everyone has a lot of health concerns.
We wanted to explain why it sometimes is tough to get an appointment or get a question answered as quickly as you may want.
During the pandemic we have worked flat out all the way through. Our doors have been closed to people coming in without appointments, but this does not mean we have not been working. Since March 2020 we have always been open for face-to-face appointments in a way that has been safe for everyone. We have continued to see anyone who needs seeing and we have been dealing with thousands of telephone calls every week. Our staff have been out in the community seeing patients every day, dealing with the very sick and dying in care homes, helping run the Rehabilitation Unit in Houghton and staffing the Out of Hours clinics at Sunderland Hospital.
Since Christmas we have also been in the vaccine clinic at Houghton, which runs from 8am-8pm each day. Many of you will have received your vaccinations from us there, and others will be getting your vaccines there until well into the autumn.
Now that Covid restrictions are easing, our front doors can open again.
We have never been so busy.
Each day our hardworking reception staff answer the phones to hundreds of calls, and these calls get dealt with, assessed and passed on to the doctors and nurses. We do our very best to safely prioritise everything that is truly urgent.
Our GPs and Nurses deal with all these requests for advice, prescriptions, face-to-face appointments, and home visits each day. We also sign hundreds or prescriptions, check results, read letters from hospitals and coordinate care with our colleagues.
We have worked throughout the pandemic and put ourselves and our families at risk so we can offer the very best care we can, and we will continue to do this tirelessly.
You may get frustrated that you are not being dealt with in a way that is convenient for you, but please be patient, please be kind and most of all please stay safe
Dr Jane Halpin, Principle GP Partner, on behalf of Herrington Medical Centre.