Dear Patients, 

 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, now seven months into this pandemic, 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


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