Message from GP Partners

Message from GP Partners 28/03/2023


Dear Patients,

 The NHS is under immense pressure at the moment, and we cannot continue to provide safe care in a limitless service in General Practice.

 Whilst we have always had days when urgent demand is much higher than the capacity of our Doctors in the last few months, demand has exceeded capacity daily.

 As a Practice we plan for safe care. Safe care for us means that the Duty Doctor – whose job it is to manage all of the demand for same day urgent medical appointments – should have up to 40 patients in a day. This is one patient every 15 minutes from 8am to 6.30pm (not allowing for any breaks or all of the other things they have to do like liaising with other healthcare services, signing repeat prescriptions, reviewing test results, writing sick notes etc).

 In the last 4 months, rather than this safe number of (40 patients or less) the average has been 78 patients every day. In fact on 6 days there has been over 100 urgent patients for the Duty Doctor. This is less than 5 minutes per patient. This is not safe.

 So, as we have to ensure we provide a safe service to our patients, we need to set a daily limit on how many patients we can book for same day urgent appointments.

 From now on, if the number of calls we get are unsafe, we will ask patients to contact other parts of the NHS, whose role it is to provide urgent help and advice. We will advertise this on our website, Facebook page and on the phone line.

 To help us with this we ask you to consider other services available to you. Our Care Co-ordinators have been trained in Care Navigation and Active Signposting and we have asked them to ask you questions regarding your symptoms so that they can signpost you to the most appropriate clinician first time. There are also other services available to you where you can get advice without even needing to contact us,, pharmacies and 111 can all offer advice for minor illnesses and how you can manage these at home. 

 A huge amount of the extra demand we have had in recent weeks is due to patients calling us in the first day or two of minor illness symptoms, which actually, most of the time, can be treated successfully by yourself at home until the normal period of symptoms passes. For example it is normal for a cough and cold to last for three weeks and there is nothing that we can prescribe that will help with these symptoms as anti-biotics will not cure viral illnesses. All of these calls for these self-limiting symptoms means that we can’t provide a safe service to the patients who do develop more severe symptoms or have serious medically urgent problems. 

 Other ways you can help us is to make sure you order your repeat medications with plenty of time before your current supply runs out as this will also help with urgent demand. 

 Hopefully if all our patients use our urgent same day appointments responsibly, it will mean we can treat the patients with serious medically urgent problems who really need us efficiently and safely. 

 However, if we do not feel that we can provide our patients with safe medical care, we will ask our patients to contact other services who can help. This may be pharmacies, 111,, and in some cases Urgent Care Centres, A&E or 999.

 Thank you for your continued support and patience, we ask that you support us in this change to ensure that we can be there for you when you need us.


 Thank you

The GP Partners of Irwell Medical Practice

#ClaretinMind #MentalHealth #Football

East Lancashire Alliance-Enhanced Access Service

The Enhanced Access has been launched in East Lancashire and will be provided by East Lancashire Alliance to increase the number of appointments available to patients in the area.

 Every GP practice in Burnley, Rossendale, Hyndburn, and Ribblesdale will be involved in the new Enhanced Access scheme.

 The Enhanced Access scheme means that patients can make an appointment via their registered practice to see a variety of Health Professionals such as GPs, ANPs, PNs, HCAs and Clinical Pharmacists which are delivered F2F and remotely Mondays to Fridays from 17:00 – 20:45, and 09:00 – 17:00 on a Saturday. This service has been set up by East Lancashire Alliance on behalf of Primary Care Networks to improve services available to patients outside GP core hours.

 The Clinicians will be able to access patients full medical record (including their practice notes), request tests and investigations, as well as completing referrals for them into further services and care. Anything added to the patients record during the Enhanced Access Consultation will go straight back to their registered practice so they can be kept up to data with anything that may have changed or been updated on the record.

 Appointments for services provided to all the patients in Rossendale Practices are available from the below locations:

  • Irwell Medical Practice, Bacup Health Centre (Irwell Mill/Rochdale Rd, Bacup OL13 9NR) – Monday and Thursdays
  • Ilex View Medical Centre, Rossendale Health Centre (Bacup Rd, Rossendale BB4 7PL) – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays

 If you would like one of these appointments, please ask your receptionist team at your practice for more information.

Rossendale COVID Updates

For the most up to date information regarding COVID for the Rossendale area, please go to the below website:

National GP Survery

A national GP survey indicates that more patients in Rossendale rated their GP practice as ‘good’ than the national average.

Rossendale GP survey.docx