Wycombe GP surgery praised for patient care throughout pandemic

Members of the Riverside Surgery team

A High Wycombe GP surgery has been commended for the “exemplary care” it has offered its patients since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Riverside Surgery, in George Street, serves 9,875 registered patients.

Like all surgeries, the start of the pandemic meant that Riverside had to change the way it did things in order to keep patients safe and work to stop the spread of COVID-19.

One patient, and a member of the surgery’s Patient Participation Group, Tess Watkins, has extended her thanks for its good work.

Mrs Watkins said: “Riverside Surgery has been praised by the PPG and many patients that feed their opinions into it regarding the exemplary care and consideration they have given their patients in the past 9 months. They have obviously put their patients first, despite the risks to themselves.

“Every patient that needed to speak to a doctor got a call, a video call or a face to face appointment. This seemed to surprise some patients who thought the surgery might be shut due to the pandemic. Despite the heightened fear and anguish felt by many people, Riverside was always able to help. People that called in in the morning spoke to a doctor to determine what kind of help they needed and no one was turned away. Patients have been impressed with the responsiveness of the telephone and video consultation systems.”

Mrs Watkins added that, with the new system freeing up time, patients with a greater need were able to see a doctor for 15-minute long face-to-face appointments. She said the pandemic meant that Riverside quickly got up to speed with new technologies to enable speedier appointment times and better communications between themselves and other healthcare professionals, to the benefit of patients.

Mrs Watkins said “Riverside’s COVID safety processes and the way they managed attending patients was reassuring. They moved and adapted very quickly to cope with the new situation the pandemic created. They were brave but careful, giving patients confidence. Many patients feel very well cared for and respected by all the medical and support staff and just want to say ‘thank you’.”

Dr Rashmi Sawnhey, GP Senior Partner at Riverside Surgery, noted that primary care has had to adapt quickly during the pandemic to continue to offer the best possible service to patients.

She said: “The success of this is due to our fantastic practice team (both clinical and non-clinical) and our patients who have been very understanding and patient. Technology has been very helpful in supporting these changes.

“We are very mindful that all patients don’t have access to smart phones and patients with complex medical problems, especially the frail elderly, need face-to-face reviews. During this time we have continued to offer face-to-face appointments after triage, as well as home visits for the housebound as appropriate.”

Riverside’s nursing teams have also been supporting district nurses to care for housebound and shielding patients. Dr Sawhney added that patient feedback has been essential to evaluate the success of these changes and to work to improve the service further.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group added his congratulations to the surgery. He said: “It’s always gratifying to hear that the hard work of our GP practices is being appreciated by patients and I would like to thank Riverside Surgery for their superb efforts in these extremely challenging times.

“I would also like to also extend my thanks to all the GP practices in Buckinghamshire who have worked so hard to serve their patients during this pandemic.”