To all our patients,
We would like to thank you all for your understanding and patience whilst the NHS responded to the coronavirus pandemic. During this time some non-urgent work in GP practices was suspended and we had to change the way we worked to help keep patients and staff safe. We know this presented a challenge for some of our patients and we would like to thank you for your ongoing support. We are now entering a new phase of the response to the pandemic, where we are rebuilding our service levels and reintroducing services temporarily suspended, albeit with very strict infection control and social distancing measures in place1. Many of our patients are extremely vulnerable so we have to take extra precautions to ensure we can continue to protect patients from the ongoing threat of the virus while also bringing back full service. This is why we are still restricting access to our buildings - for the safety of all our patients and our staff but we will do all we can to ensure you continue to be triaged and treated effectively over the phone in the first instance
We would also like to publicly thank our staff, who have continued to work throughout the pandemic to serve our patient population, adapting quickly to new ways of working and often working additional hours to cover colleagues, who had been shielding at the height of the pandemic. A particular mention must also go to our reception team who are working tirelessly to ensure you get access to the right care for your needs. We ask that you please be kind to them in particular - they are doing a very challenging job against an ever-changing backdrop and will do their best to address and pass on any frustrations or feedback you have.
We know many of you are frustrated with issues relating to our telephone lines and we are deeply sorry for problems that this is continuing to present. Since the issues first came to light we have attempted to resolve them through a number of measures but unfortunately none have had the success we’d hoped. We know that patients are continuing to experience difficulties in reaching us on the phone and we know that this is totally unacceptable.
We are now in the process of addressing the challenges by purchasing a new system, which will better meet our needs and demand. We had been in the process of putting this in place before coronavirus but the pandemic meant we had to temporarily refocus our efforts. We apologise for the delay in bringing in this new system but would like to reassure you that we are now focused on getting it in place by the end of the year. Access to good telephony is now more important than ever and we are committed to improving the systems so that our patients can get a better service. As this work progresses we will continue to update you via our website. In the meantime, please bear with us.
Once again we offer our heartfelt apologies for any distress, frustration, or inconvenience caused by our telephone system, and we hope this statement goes some way to explain the current situation and our plan to make improvements. Thank you all for your patience and understanding.
Drs Barry, Boelling, Evans and Gallagher
Green Valleys Health
(Incorporating Emersons Green Medical Centre, Leap Valley Surgery, and Abbotswood Surgery)
1 For more information on the Government Strategy to rebuild, go to: