August 2021

Practice Update – August 2021

  • Demand on General Practice:

Demands on General Practice were always great before the COVID pandemic hit. Our team have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and we continue to see increasing demand on our services month by month. We are already dealing with increasing demand for many of our services, this causes pressure on our telephone lines, our appointments availability and on our administrative time. As a Practice we have always responded to this demand by ensuring we prioritise those patients with the greatest clinical need.

We already face increased challenges operating a GP Practice in a very rural area. The size of our Practice area is over 500 square miles. This poses challenges for us delivering services and for patients traveling distances to attend appointments.

We can also experience longer than average wait times for ambulance responses which again can cause pressure on our daily workload as we deal with clinical emergencies that present in practice.

We aim to, as effectively as we can use the resources we have.  We continually review our workload and plan our services to meet these challenges but this increased demand does mean for patients with routine requests there will sometimes be a delay and we ask that you do not take out any frustrations these waits may cause you on our team.

As you can appreciate our team have worked through exceptionally challenging circumstances throughout this last 18 months and you can help us to help you by following the below guidance we have put together. 

Unfortunately, we continue to receive abuse and rudeness from some members of the public on a regular basis, we would therefore ask you to be considerate and appropriate in your dealings with any member of the team.

  • Appointments:

We continue to operate full general medical services offering an appropriate mix of telephone appointments, on the day for patients who need urgent medical attention and routine telephone calls and face-to-face appointments with our clinicians where immediate attention is not clinically indicated.  On occasions, your doctor will ask reception to contact you to advise results of recent tests, or you may have a medical query having had a hospital appointment unless specified these are not urgent and should be booked into a routine appointment for when your doctor returns if it is urgent then the doctor will have asked reception to make that clear.  Should you have a query about a hospital appointment we would encourage you to contact that department in the first instance as they will be best placed to address your needs.

Unfortunately, we are seeing increasing numbers of patients refusing to wait for a routine appointment insisting that it is medically urgent.  These urgent medical appointments are not to discuss results, ask your doctor to chase an appointment or to discuss a problem that has been going on some time they are allocated so we have capacity each day to treat patients that are clinically unwell and need urgent assessment, if they are used inappropriately then it delays treatment for those who clinically need it.

  • Patients requesting a routine appointment:

Please telephone to speak to one of our trained receptionists. They will take a number of details from you and direct you to the most appropriate source of care.

  • Please note that our reception team are asked by our clinicians to take as much information as they can from you to enable you to be directed to the most appropriate source of care for your concern and all information you share with any of our team is strictly confidential. This can sometimes mean that you are directed to another service who are better placed to help, for example, the dentist, optician or minor injury unit.
  • Hospital appointment waiting times:

We are seeing increasing demand for the Practice to expedite patient’s hospital referrals and to confirm waiting times for their referral.

  • In the first instance we ask that all patients contact the hospital they have been referred to as we do not have up to date information on hospital waiting times, nor are we notified in advance of your hospital appointments or operation dates you may be given.
  • Expedite letters – we are aware that patients are often told by the hospital to get a letter from the GP so that their appointment can be expedited. The NHS is under huge pressure and there are backlogs of patients awaiting hospital appointments and this will take some time to work through; simply waiting a longer time than you would wish does not make your request urgent as unfortunately everyone is waiting longer in this current situation.
  • If your condition has deteriorated since you were referred we ask that you please let us know.
  • Prescriptions update:
  • For repeat prescription requests please order your medication allowing 3 working days for your request to be processed i.e. prescriptions ordered on a Tuesday afternoon will be ready on the Friday afternoon. (Saturdays and Sundays are non-working days)
  • For items not on repeat prescription please allow 5 working days for your request to be processed.
  • Practice information:

Our website is kept up to date with all of the information you need on the services we provide and how to access them. Please use this as your first port of call for general information on the Practice and NHS help and support.

You can also use the website to contact us for non-urgent requests.

Please go to

  • COVID:

Infection control measures in place when you attend the practice:

A reminder to all of our patients that in line with Welsh Government guidance we still have all of the below measures in place at our surgeries to ensure the safety of our team members, their families and our patients, some of whom are extremely vulnerable.

You must not attend the Practice if you are experiencing any COVID symptoms or you have been a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID.

These measures apply whether or not you have been vaccinated.

Full details of symptoms and arranging a COVID test are available here:

Please remember even if you are fully vaccinated you must following the testing guidance as there is still a risk you may transmit the virus to others.

  • Flu vaccinations

The practice is in the process of finalising our plans to deliver flu vaccinations to our eligible patients commencing the end of September.

For those patients who attended for their vaccination last year we will be following the same system where we will be separating our flu vaccination clinics from all of our routine work.

Once our plans are finalised we will update everyone.

Finally we would like to thank all of you for your continued support. It has been an incredibly challenging 18 months for us all.

  • Builth Wells Medical Practice🌈