FACE COVERING IS MANDATORY WHEN YOU VISIT THE PRACTICE FOR AN APPOINTMENT
We are working to minimise the number of visits you need to make to the practice. However, there will be some appointments that we arrange that can only be on a face to face basis. In order to keep you, other patients and our staff safe, please ensure that you have a face covering before you come in to the practice. We regret that we will decline entry to any patient who cannot or does not comply with this requirement. If you do not have a mask, you can use any cloth or garment that provides cover over your mouth and nose, for example a scarf, a cardigan or sweater.
Changes to Appointment Systems
Bicester practices are continuing to improve their appointment systems.
As many of you will be aware the coronavirus pandemic has necessitated a shift away from a largely face-to-face GP consultation model with pre-bookable appointments, to a telephone-based system.
These changes have been made to keep you and our NHS staff safe. We are now planning to continue to improve and adapt these systems for the medium and longer term.
The changes that we have made so far have enabled us to respond to the majority of demands for care on the day patients contact us. This has meant an end to potentially long waits for an appointment. We all want to continue to enjoy the benefits of these changes whilst improving access to your usual doctor and where necessary to enable people to be seen for a face to face examination. All Bicester GP surgeries are therefore planning to move forward with a primarily same-day access system for patient care. There will no longer be pre-bookable future appointments. To make things simple for all Bicester patients, whatever surgery you are registered with, we have come up with a simple instruction guide for accessing GP services:
1) Where possible, particularly for non-urgent matters, please contact the surgery on the days when your usual GP will be working. This information can be found on your practice website.
2) Contact the surgery before 12.30pm for all routine matters.
3) “eConsultations” (accessed via the home page of each practice's website) are an affective and preferred way of contacting the practice for all matters. This helps keen phone lines free for emergencies. This secure form of communication has built in clinical triage (you will be asked questions about your condition when you complete the form) which helps rule out important or dangerous conditions that may require you to be seen more urgently. The system also allows you to provide all the information you feel is important at a time of your choosing, without being rushed. The GP will email, text or ring you in response within one working day, or sooner if you indicate that this is urgent.
4) You may still telephone the practice for any non-urgent matters before 12.30pm. Urgent matters can be telephoned through later than this, but there is no guarantee that you will receive a response on the same day. This will be at the discretion of the clinician.
If you telephone the practice our Patient Coordinators will ask you for more information to help find the right person to address your needs. This may not be your GP as all Bicester practices now have Clinical Pharmacists, Advanced Nurse Practitioners and other clinicians who may be more appropriate to deal with your problem. You may even be directed away from the surgery for example to the optician services providing care for eye conditions, or the community pharmacies who can provide a variety of medical services including antibiotic treatments for simple cystitis. Please help our patient coordinators by answering their questions.
We hope these changes will continue to keep you safe and our NHS and primary care services running efficiently and safely and that we can respond to the majority of clinical needs within one working day.
Home Delivery Service During a Pandemic
Bicester Health Centre is operating a Home Delivery Service during a Pandemic to those at-risk patients eligible to use our dispensary and required to isolate for 12 weeks. Our dispensary team will be able to identify any patients who have been advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks, but if you have a query or believe you should be on the "shielded patients" list, please contact the practice by eConsult or telephone.
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): LATEST INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS AT ALL BICESTER GP PRACTICES
All patients are asked to note that important new measures are now in place as part of the management of coronavirus in Bicester and the surrounding districts. These measures help to protect all patients by minimising the need for patients to attend practice premises when a telephone or online appointment may suffice, and in addition also minimises healthcare staff from possible exposure to COVID-19.
From Friday 13 March the booking of all NEW routine appointments has been suspended at all of the three Bicester GP practices (Alchester Medical Group, Bicester Health Centre and Montgomery-House Surgery. Patients can continue to request an urgent same day appointment through the practice’s eConsult or by telephone.
If a patient has an existing appointment the practice will make contact before the appointment to advise whether the patient should attend in person. Clinicians may call the patient by telephone to discuss the medical issue, and only if appropriate invite the patient to a face to face consultation.
Where the availability of clinicians is affected by the virus, or patient demand increases, currently booked routine appointments may also need to be cancelled in the future.
For further service updates please visit our website regularly. For COVID-19 coronavirus advice, please visit 111.nhs.uk/covid-19
End of the Fax Machine
In line with national NHS policy, Bicester Health Centre is ceasing use of fax communications. The fax line will close down at 6.00pm on Friday 28 February 2020.
Bicester Health Centre no longer offers routine ear syringing services
Regrettably, but in common with the other practices in the area, due to the high and increasing demands on general practice, we no longer have capacity to provide this service. We have asked OCCG to support us by commissioning this service from practices but they have declined to do so. In addition, there is not good evidence for the benefit of ear syringing (wax serves a protective function in preventing infection in the ear canal) and there is a small risk of harm (damage to the ear canal and even perforation of the ear drum). See our Ear Care page for information about self-treatment or clinics offering ear wax removal.