The last few months have definitely been a challenging time for our country, region and practices and I hope that all of our patients have remained safe and well during the Covid-19 pandemic.

GP Practices have never witnessed an impact like the one Covid-19 has had on our society and the unfortunate impact it has had on our patients. The restrictions placed on our everyday lives and the roller-coaster of emotions we have all felt over the last few months will stay with us for a lifetime.

Firstly, I would like to thank all of our patients for your resilience during lockdown. While many of you will have embraced the challenge, others will have found this time incredibly challenging and may have experienced loved ones becoming ill with the virus.

And of course, Covid-19 has inevitably changed the way in which our practices have functioned over the last few months. I am incredibly proud of all our staff and how they have adapted since early March. They have had to act decisively and with care, often with very little clear guidance, and in a fraction of the time normally required to implement such profound changes. At every stage, I believe they have acted with the safety and wellbeing of all our patients in clear focus.

As you know back in March 2020, the surgery was forced, due to COVID-19, to put routine procedures on hold and operate a complete telephone triage first for all patients. We continue to operate in this way as advised by NHS England. Following a telephone consultation with the patient, if the clinician ( GP , Nurse , Pharmacist) feels a Face 2 Face clinical assessment is required, the patient is invited into the surgery. All our surgeries are following strict Public Health and infection control guidance.

For the safety of our patients and staff, the surgery changed the way it delivered its services and many of you will yourself have received a telephone or video consultation instead of a face to face appointment. During this initial phase the organisation also made a decision to move patient facing services from The Limes Medical Centre to protect our staff and reduce the transmission of infection to both staff and patients. I would like to thank you all for your co-operation and patience following this decision.

Whilst the pandemic has brought about many challenges within the healthcare sector, it has also unleashed amazing innovation across our services, with new ways of working, new ways of supporting patients and new ways of services working together. However, putting non-urgent procedures on hold in itself has created a backlog and has put increased pressure on GP practices, hospitals and social care.

As the country starts to move towards the “new normal”, we will start to accelerate the return to near normal levels of non-COVID health services. The practice has been working in collaboration with Walsall CCG , Public Health England , NHS England and local health and social care partners on a restoration plan to ensure that as we start to reintroduce more services, that it is done in a managed way, ensuring we protect our most vulnerable patients and staff alike. The majority of our patient interactions are taking place via a telephone and video consultation.

In order to restore more services to our patients, it has been decided that as of Monday 7th September, The Limes Medical Centre will start to transition towards seeing patients for face to face consultations (if advised by a clinician) at the surgery and all clinical staff will begin to return to the surgery and be based within the practice. The Reception Team will advise you at the time of booking your appointment where you need to attend.

Should you need to visit the surgery, we are asking you to consider wearing a face covering. This does not have to be a surgical mask, a homemade face covering such as a scarf or bandana will suffice. This is not mandatory. Please could we also ask that you try to come to the surgery alone if possible.

We will also be restricting the numbers of patients into the surgery waiting area to try to reduce the risk of transmission of infection to both our patients and staff. If the maximum number of patients are in the waiting area, you may be asked to wait outside or in the car until the staff are ready for you. We would welcome your co-operation and patience in this matter.

Please continue to monitor our surgery website and facebook pages for further updates and guidance. We also regularly text our patients with advice and guidance.

Many thanks for all your support.

The Limes Medical Centre