'We're still open' - Rural surgery's manager sends message to patients

Staff at Acle Medical Centre

Staff at the Acle Medical Centre, from left to right: Lisa Norbury, receptionist; Dr Anna Storrs, salaried GP; Teresa Randall, practice manager; George Docwra, dispenser; and Victoria Docwra, deputy practice manager. - Credit: Submitted

A medical practice manager concerned that patients might think a surgery covering one hundred square miles was closed has declared: "We're still open."

Last week, Acle Medical Partnership announced that its sister surgery in Reedham would close from Monday (December 21), with staff moving to cover for the practice in Acle, where a positive coronavirus case has resulted in nine members of staff having to self-isolate until Christmas.

The news prompted comments on social media that the surgery in Acle was also closed - a claim that has been refuted by practice manager Teresa Randall. 

A range of infection control measures have been introduced at Acle Medical Centre to prevent the spr

A range of infection control measures have been introduced at Acle Medical Centre to prevent the spread of coronavirus Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

She said: "We are seeing patients and we're here. We don't want people to not come to the practice because of what they're reading."

The practice covers 100 square miles and looks after 9,500 patients.

Ms Randall said that in October, there were 2,171 face-to-face appointments, 2,192 telephone appointments, and over 100 visits.

The practice completed 414 blood tests and made 1,100 deliveries of medication while so far, more than 3,500 patients have received a flu vaccination, she added.

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Ms Randall also spoke about the impact of the pandemic on the practice.

"It's really difficult because all the staff have worked throughout Covid. People are not having their annual leave."

She said the team of 55 staff, including nurses, GPs, dispensers, cleaners, receptionists and managers, has been "working round the clock".

"It's not been easy. I have been a practice manager for 12 years. This is the worst I've ever known it.

"It is a logistical nightmare, it's hard work, but we just keep going, it's all we can do.

"On the whole, morale has been good. We talk to each other daily, we support each other. If someone is feeling down, we scoop them up."

The practice is part of a primary care network, including surgeries in Brundall, Blofield, Wroxham and Hoveton.

Coronavirus vaccinations will begin in the second or third week of January at the practice in Wroxham.

Some of the practice's patients have already been vaccinated at the NNUH.

Dr John Fisher, who works at the surgery, said: "We delivered around 70 medicine parcels a day last month. All credit to our delivery drivers Oli and Tim.

He added: "We've had one infection amongst staff in nine months. We're so proud of our team and their commitment to keeping Broadlands safe and healthy in this dark and uncertain time."