Dear Patient of Bath Lodge Practice
Each one of us here at Bath Lodge shares a common goal: to serve every member of our community to the best of our ability. The service we are collectively providing you with at the moment might not always be of a high enough standard, and we apologise for this.
Those of us at the practice have heard, and are very mindful of, the feelings of dissatisfaction amongst our patients, particularly around telephone lines and the availability of appointments. We feel the same frustration at the current state.
The effects of political and economic problems in recent years, especially the recession, have been impossible to avoid, though we have tried, and have had a huge impact on our NHS. There has been a constant reduction in our finances and resources, combined with an increase in demand and expectation, which has placed an unbearable workload and pressure on general practice. We are simply no longer able to provide the service that we used to.
At Bath Lodge Practice, we have lost funding, staff, and high morale. Our recent Care Quality Commission inspection and review found us to be lacking in a number of areas. To date, all of the previous doctors, including our long-serving partners, have now left the practice. Their departure reflects the alarming shortage of GPs across the country.
However, we have some new ideas in which we are investing heavily; ideas that we are hoping and believing will re-establish our outstanding reputation in the community. We know that the changes in doctors at the surgery have upset many of you. Despite nationwide recruitment difficulties, we are successfully building a new core-team of permanent full-time doctors: I joined as a Partner in October and Dr Asma Saad started early January as a Salaried GP; another full-time Salaried GP starts in February, followed shortly by another full-time Partner. This is great news. In the meantime, we are trying to use the same locum doctors, so that the GPs you see in the surgery will be familiar. In addition, we are increasingly using Advanced Nurse Practitioners, both here in the surgery and visiting you at home, in order to incorporate a wider balance and skill-mix in our clinical team. The healthcare landscape has changed and continues to change rapidly; we must adapt and move with the times. Things will look and feel quite different here at Bath Lodge.
You might have already noticed changes in the appointments, telephone system, administration and online services, which are being tweaked, improved or redesigned. This might cause some disruption and challenges in the short term, but we hope that the ideas and changes will put us in a position to serve you in a way that is genuinely the best for your health and well-being.
All of this will take time, of course. We are working very hard behind the scenes and your ongoing patience, support and understanding – in truth, your cooperation and participation in the process – is much appreciated.
Please keep communicating with us. Your feedback is necessary and welcome.
Yours sincerely and to your very good health,
Dr Richard Baxter On behalf of the team at Bath Lodge Practice