Posted: Tue 27th Jul 2021

Health Board issues update on St Mark’s GP Surgery in Connah’s Quay following urgent review

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jul 27th, 2021

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has outlined the measures it is taking to improve access to appointments at St Mark’s Dee View GP Surgery in Connah’s Quay.

The health board has been carrying out an “urgent review of systems and process” after residents found it increasingly difficult to get an appointment at the Connah’s Quay GP’s.

Rob Smith, the health board’s Area Director for North East Wales, has said there are no plans to close the surgery and has set out some of the “practical steps” that are being taken to address its current difficulties.

“We have no plans to close the practice, and we are taking a range of actions to improve the service,” he said.

“These include upgrades to telephone and clinical computer systems, intensive efforts to recruit GPs and Advanced Nurse Practitioners, and extending the availability of Urgent Primary Care Centres at Mold and Wrexham.

“I understand how frustrated and concerned many patients are at the current situation and I would like to thank them for their patience and understanding as we work to improve the situation.”

Upgrades to the telephone and clinical computer system

“The practice is currently using an outdated telephone and computer system which makes it difficult to attract locum doctors, receive remote support from neighbouring practices, and manage call volumes from patients.

“COVID-19 restrictions have delayed the introduction of new systems, but we are working at pace to get these up and running as soon as is practicably possible.

“A new telephone system is due to be installed by September. This will make it easier to manage demand, prioritise calls and provide clear messaging to inform callers where they are in the queue and what alternatives might be available.

“We are also working to upgrade the clinical computer system to the more widely used EMIS service. Using this more recognised clinical computer system will make it easier to attract locum doctors to work at the surgery.

“It will also ensure that staff from neighbouring practices can access patients’ medical history and provide additional support when St Mark’s is experiencing high demand. This work will be completed by the autumn.

Recruitment and Staffing 

“Since taking on the practice in 2019, recruitment for medical staff has been especially difficult. Recruitment of GPs is a problem across the UK, 

“In recent months, while demand has increased by around 20 per cent, staffing levels have been adversely impacted due to sickness, COVID-19 isolation and difficulties recruiting. 

“We are continuing to prioritise the recruitment of Advanced Nurse Practitioners and GPs, and during August, we will also have significantly improved GP availability, compared to previous weeks.” 

Urgent Primary Care Centres

“The Urgent Primary Care Centres (UPCC) based at Mold Minor Injuries Unit and Wrexham Maelor Hospital are continuing to alleviate pressure on GP surgeries across Flintshire and Wrexham, including St Mark’s.

“Originally established in late 2020 to tackle winter pressures, the centres’ availability has been extended into the summer months in an effort to create more capacity to support GP surgeries and reduce unnecessary attendances at Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s Emergency Department.

“The service is not a walk-in centre. Instead, practices, including St Mark’s refer patients to the UPCC.”

Help us to help you

“There are a number of ways that patients can help us to help them. This includes contacting us online for support where possible, using the E-Consult service on our website. This will enable patients to be pointed to the most appropriate clinician or service in the timeliest way. To access the service, visit: https://stmarksdeeview.webgp.com/.

“Please also consider using Community Pharmacy where appropriate. Community Pharmacy staff can provide expert advice and guidance about treating common ailments, conditions and their symptoms.

“Some pharmacies, such as Morrisons in Deeside, are open outside of usual hours and into the evening. You can find your nearest community pharmacy on our website: https://bcuhb.nhs.wales/services/health-services1/where-do-i-go/

“You can also now call 111 for free access to urgent out-of-hours care and round-the-clock medical support and guidance. This easy-to-remember number is free and provides access to both GP Out of Hours services and the health advice previously delivered by NHS Direct Wales.”

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