‘Be kind to our receptionists’, Sidmouth GP urges

Dr Mike slot urges patients to be kind. Picture: Mike Slot

Dr Mike slot urges patients to be kind. Picture: Mike Slot - Credit: Archant

‘Be kind to our receptionists’ - that is the message one Sidmouth doctor has issued to patients.

Dr Mike Slot, of Sid Valley Practice, said all of the staff have been working tirelessly through lockdown, dealing with anything from 2,000 to 4,000 calls a week.

At busy times, the surgery has 10 receptionists working flat out, but even then, there can be people waiting on the line struggling to get through.

Dr Slot said: “In the more recent few weeks, sometimes as many as one in three calls have been patients that have been angry or abusive.

“There has been a lot of concern from people about how difficult it is to get through to us on the phone and we appreciate that and we are doing our best to make it as easy as possible.

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“Sometimes they may be understandably frustrated because it has been so hard to get through but it makes it very difficult for the call takers to do their job.”

The practice, which has two surgeries in the town, has been operating from The Beacon Medical Centre serving a patient list of 14,000 people.

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Sidmouth also has more than four times the national average number of people over the age of 65 which increases the demand of GPs, without considering the added pressure of Covid.

Dr Slot said after lockdown began, they had to change the way they worked and closed the Blackmore Health Centre for face-to-face appointments

He added: “The GP rooms were not suitable to use in the middle of the crisis, because they are not as easily cleaned between patients.

“It also provided a place where those members of staff that were shielding could continue to work but not be at risk.

“We want to correct the impression that some people have that we have stopped seeing patients face-to-face.

“We are and will continue to do our best to help our patients so please be kind to our staff.”

Dr Slot has reminded residents they can use the surgery’s website and access the e-consult service.

People can describe their condition, send photos if it is a skin lesion, and then the doctor can either arrange a prescription, or make contact with the patient. Normally they come back to patients the same day but it is always within two working days.

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