Hello to all of our friends and patients.
We hope that you are all well and have kept safe over the past few months and are enjoying the sunshine and the relaxation of some of the restrictions which have begun to let life approach to something more like normal.
We have been open for emergency appointments throughout and the team that have worked throughout have adapted magnificently to the new processes that we’ve had to adopt. This has allowed us to see patients with emergency symptoms preventing unnecessary visits to the hard pressed NHS hospital. We have also seen people needing essential eyecare such as spectacles replacement or repair.
Over the past few weeks guidance has changed and we’ve been able to widen the definition of essential care as well as continue with emergency care. This means that we’ve seen and helped people that have felt that their vision has changed and fixed and supplied replacement spectacles.
Guidance has now changed again which allows us to see people for routine eye examinations as long as suitable risk assessments have been completed and PPE is available. Because this means fewer people in the building at any one time we have adapted our practice arrangements and opening hours to be able to see more patients safely, in a manner appropriate to this time where the risk from has greatly lessened but not disappeared.
From the 30th June this is what you can expect from us here to provide you with a safe, but comprehensive service:
- We are continuing with a closed door and appointment only policy to maintain social distancing and control the number of people in the practice at any one time. If you need us, please call us in advance and we’ll arrange a convenient time for you to call in. When you get here, ring the intercom and somebody will greet you.
- We are taking appropriate measures to protect your welfare. Staff will be wearing face masks for any direct contact with patients and full PPE in consulting rooms. We will check your temperature and ask you to use hand sanitiser. All surfaces touched will be cleaned between us seeing patients in any part of the building. All spectacle frames are cleaned after being tried on. We are taking all these measures in line with guidance to ensure your safety and that of our staff and the wider community.
- Extended examinations with imaging. It is very difficult for our optometrists to remain safe if they rely on basic eye examination techniques such as ophthalmoscopy. A full examination including dilation and imaging is already part of our private eye examination. As such we strongly recommend that all NHS eligible patients upgrade to include the additional tests not covered by the NHS Sight Test. Reception staff will advise of the relevant fee.
- We are open for longer. We are running services from 8:00am to 7.00PM to further control the number of people in the practice at any one time and to enable us to offer more appointments at more convenient times.
- We’re running with fewer staff at any one time. This is to help with social distancing, but it may mean that it sometimes takes a little longer to get back to you or get to the phone. We thank you for your patience.
- We will be closed for an hour at lunch. With longer working days we will be closed from 12.50PM to 1.50PM each day.
- We are offering our full range of services. Eye examinations, contact lenses, dry eye treatment, spectacles, sunglasses, repairs, drops, if there’s anything you want or need from us, just ask…
- We are prioritising appointments according to need. Over the past few months we’ve obviously built up a backlog of people that were due for routine appointments and we will be contacting everyone to be seen in due course, but we are looking through these lists and prioritising those that we feel have a more urgent need to be seen. This means that you may wait for longer for a routine appointment, but if you have a problem or feel your vision has changed we will see you as soon as possible, please get in touch.
- We need your support. We are confident that this whole situation will allow us to critically look at what we do to improve services in the future and that we will all come through this stronger than before. But just as it’s been tough for us all as individuals it’s been difficult for businesses. If you’ve been thinking of an alternative pair of spectacles new sunglasses now is a great time to treat yourself.
- Appointments are at a premium. As such we ask that you give us ample (24hours) warning if you cannot make it, we reserve the right to charge for non-attendance without advance warning, obviously an emergency beyond your control gives us some discretion.
We’re so pleased to be offering full services again and it will be great to see you all again in due course. We know that what we do will adapt, as guidance changes, and as risk lessons, and we can amend and improve what we do. Bear with us a little but you can call for up to date advice on any issue that you may have.
Throughout this time, everyone that has come in to see us has been delightful; we really do enjoy seeing you. Continue to stay safe and we look forward to hearing from you.