Dear Benfield Community
The increase in Omicron infections is having a very big impact on all parts of the NHS. There are high numbers of NHS staff are unwell with COVID at the moment and this is likely to get worse.
At BVHH, we currently have staff sickness, and our remaining staff are working extra hours both to cover the gaps, and to give support to our local vaccine hubs. There is a high risk that more of our staff will become sick and so this situation will actually get worse over the next 3 - 4 weeks, before it starts to get better.
We will do everything we can to continue to provide essential GP Surgery services over the coming weeks, just as we have done throughout the pandemic. We will be giving priority to young children, to our most severely frail patients, and to people with potentially life-threatening illness, as well as ensuring that everyone gets their repeat medicines.
Other non-essential services are likely to subject to significant waiting times, probably until late in January, but we will try our hardest to keep these as short as we can.
We ask for your patience and understanding as we ride this storm.
We all know that these are exceptional times. We all also know that our NHS has had to adapt to radically new ways of working as it has tried both to look after people contracting a new and little understood virus, and at the same time to minimise the risk of actually spreading this disease to everyone else who doesn’t have covid 19.
Moreover, we have had to do this at the end of a prolonged period of financial austerity, one in which we know that new levels of poverty and inequality are leading to actual falls in life expectancy (people are sicker) and that health and social care services have huge gaps in the workforce. For example, the government recognises that there is a national shortage of 5000 whole time GPs (but has been unable to fix the problem).
In our practice at Benfield, we are experiencing a huge rise in pent up demand for appointments, partly because some people have postponed getting in touch and partly because we are starting to tackle the backlog of routine health care needs that we had to put on hold during the lockdown. We are also beginning to see an increasing level of mental health distress, in all age groups but especially in children and young people, which we have never seen before.
We also know that this is not unique to the community we serve, and that practices across our city, and nationally, are also in the same boat, struggling to meet a whole raft of new challenges.
We will be completely honest with you. These exceptional times are exceptionally challenging. We are painfully all too aware that the service we are able to offer is not consistently up to the standards that you expect, and that we would like to deliver. This is particularly the case in our ability to respond to the many requests that we receive every day quickly. It also means that every member of our practice team is having to take on extra responsibilities and step up to new levels of patient care.
We ask you to be patient with us as we learn how to become consistently brilliant at delivering great care. We also welcome your ideas on how to do this well, and any offers of help or support that you can give us as your Benfield Healthcare Hub team.
Thank you for being our patients. Together we can get to the other side of this, and emerge with a greater sense of individual and community well-being.
From all the Team at Benfield
This is a direct link to the 'Your Covid-19 status' page, which cuts out the majority of the navigation through the NHS App.
If you are not already registered for NHS logon (as in your email address is not registered) you will be guided through the sign up process. If you are not digitally enabled you should continue to use 119 service.
For booking your Covid vaccine or queries about bookings, please do not call the surgery. Please call the Booking Hub on 0300 303 8060
(Site updated 17/05/2022)