Ed’s comment – Bugle (August)

A little while ago the Bugle was contacted by Louise Bissett, Bildeston Health Centre Practice Manager, to put a piece in this Bugle concerning the practice decision to keep the current protocols and secure Covid procedures for a while longer, until such time as they deem it safe to revert to open surgeries and allow more people in to the waiting room.

Louise had already posted the item on to the Bildeston Facebook Noticeboard and was anxious that the message got across as much as possible. No sooner had the message been posted than Chris Clarke, who has a heart the size of the Market Square, picked up on that anxiety and posted a message of her own. She simply encouraged people to show what they felt about our Health Centre, how they valued it and how grateful they are for the staff’s unstinting service to our community. People rushed to their tablets, phones and any other device and messaged like it was a new olympic sport!

Such wonderful sentiments created the longest thread the village Facebook has seen for ages. Well done Chris and well done everyone. Louise posted a thank you on behalf of the staff, but it is worth remembering how fortunate we are to have such a highly valuable and clearly valued health service in the centre of our community. It is a major employer with 30 staff in total, each a hugely vital part of a well run organisation that is simply first class. We have been so fortunate in having a surgery that prided itself on open surgeries, offering access to every other part of the NHS. The anxiety comes from having to respond to the adaptations in procedures due to the Covid restrictions and the concern that we wish it would go back to exactly how it was before.

Coincidentally, BBC Look East wanted to run an item about the pressures on Suffolk GP surgeries, and asked central casting if Doctor Ross from ER was available. They were told, “No, that was George Clooney acting!” However, the next best thing was Dr Mark Hainsworth from Bildeston Health Centre who is a doctor, not acting and ‘scrubs’ up very well!

Monday 12th July saw Dr Hainsworth duly interviewed inside the waiting room. Dr Hainsworth explained the difficulties around doing things how they used to be done pre-Covid, in a room that can usually seat 50 but only 6 when social distancing is imposed. He explained how the practice now runs to keep staff and patients covid safe. The numbers of patients per GP have leaped dramatically recently to around 2,300 patients per GP, and that’s rural as well as urban. GP practices in England carried out 31.5 million recorded patient appointments in April, figures from NHS Digital show. The estimated appointment numbers in- clude 7.5 million Covid vaccines delivered largely by practices. GPs saw 12.4 million patients, with other members of the practice team doing 10.5 million appointments. Well over half – 54.8%, of patients were seen face to face. Bildeston Health Centre is a jewel in the village crown and, yes, Dr Hainsworth, Louise and all the staff, in whatever role, we are eternally grateful. Thank you so much.

Read the August edition of the Bugle on the village magazine section of the Bildeston website.