"Healthcare staff in Sheffield miss face to face care too"

I thought it timely to report back a little insight from general practice at the moment. There has been some criticism in the press, people finding hard to get appointments and getting fed up with only talking to healthcare professionals on the phone.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 12:00 am

We share your frustrations. This pandemic has dragged on, and we too are equally frustrated. This situation has created so much extra work and risk to our jobs, for all of us in our teams.

We are on your side. All the staff in general practice want nothing more than to help alleviate the distress and suffering we know is building up among people in our city. The social isolation and enforced confinement is taking its toll emotionally and physically. We are seeing growing rates of mental and physical issues, surging rates of anxiety and depression, and worsening diabetes and consequences of putting on that ‘Covid stone’. People have understandably sat on issues, and now they are manifesting in worse problems. The result is we are seeing a surge in demand for appointments, local data shows around a 50 per cent increase.

This is all compounded by having had restrictions. We have been instructed to speak to people first on the phone and to minimise direct contact where possible. Health care buildings can be a focal point for illness and as such high risk for spread of infections.

But this makes our job so much harder. When we see people face to face we can pick up so much more. Sure online can be more convenient for all of us, but generally healthcare is best in person. We connect better, mutual trust and communication is stronger.

We worry about this. If we miss something occasionally it really can be serious, even the difference of life and death. We are used to carrying this risk, and using our best judgement, but this increased risk is stressful.

We recognise we are all in this together. We see the value of neighbours connecting, of friends and families rallying around to support each other. We appreciate you bearing with us. We are working really hard to get back to face to face services, and look forward to emerging as communities with renewed Yorkshire Comradery.