85 Huddersfield Road, Stalybridge SK15 2PT

Telephone: 0161 303 7200

Sorry, we're currently closed. Please call NHS 111 or for minor ailments please visit a local pharmacy.

Providing safe care when workload is high

What is happening to your GP services?

There is a national problem with the ability of general practice to keep up with demand and this is affecting the way we provide care at Lockside. We are asked to deal with more patient queries than ever before.  In 2020 we dealt with 500 patient queries a week, it is now always over 700. We have employed more clinical and admin staff, but we are still not able to deal with everyone’s requests for help.  Every day we take a careful look at who needs help the most.

To make time for people with the most worrying symptoms or complex illnesses, Lockside Medical Centre follows the British Medical Association Guidelines (2022) and sets a maximum amount of work we can safely deliver. Other work, which has been triaged as having less clinical risk, is redirected to other services. If we work too fast, we are at risk of making mistakes. If we ask our team to work too hard, for too long, there is a risk of burn out.  

What is happening across the country?

The problem of increasing workload is faced by all General Practice services in the UK. This has been recognised in the House of Commons Health and Social Select Committee Report 2022. They say:

‘The root cause of this is straightforward: there are not enough GPs to meet the ever-increasing demands on the service, coupled with increasing complexity of cases from an ageing population. In May this year there were an estimated 27.5 million appointments in general practice, more than two million more than in 2019. Yet over the same period, the number of qualified, full-time equivalent GPs working in the NHS has declined by nearly 500 from 28,094 to 27,627.1 This gap between demand and capacity leaves GPs working harder and facing more burnout as patients find it harder than ever to see them. You can read the full report. HERE


Services you can expect

Most of the care we give you remains unchanged. We try to stick to our Core Services, which are patients feel are the most crucial. 

Our core service involves

  • Making diagnoses and treating illness
  • Referring people to other services when necessary
  • Helping people to have a dignified pain-free end of life at home
  • Making sure people have access to repeat medication to manage their long term conditions and ensuring their medication is safe
  • Ensuring people have medical certificates to remain off work or access benefits
  • Carrying out regular checks on people with long term medical conditions to ensure they are well-controlled
  • Providing an immunisation service for adults and children to prevent infectious diseases
  • Providing a cervical screening service
  • Reading hospital letters and coordinating care for patients with complex conditions

After this there is very little time to

  • Deal with minor ailments that are likely to get better without any medical intervention or which can be dealt with by a community pharmacist
  • Explain the content of people’s hospital letters/reports
  • To check if your medication has gone to the chemist
  • To ask for the results of tests when they were only recently taken
  • Help people with social and housing and debt problems
  • Talk to schools about children’s attendance or behaviours
  • Write letters to schools/housing/employers/clubs/societies
  • Carry out general health screening on fit people, outside the NHS Health check programme

If you have been re-directed to another service or have been informed that we do not have the resource to deal with your query please be assured we do not take this step lightly. We are having to make very difficult decisions to ensure we are there for you when you need us most. If your condition worsens and you feel we made the wrong decision, please let us know. 

We need your help and understanding to get through these current difficult times.