Adapting to a new way of working

We have had to change and adapt out working practices to accommodate the need to contain the Virus, reduce the risks to patients and staff, and allow us to continue to provide a service to our community.

Among many other things we have re-purposed our surgery sites, extended time between appointments so that facilities can be thoroughly cleaned after every use, and introduced new technology to include video consultations.

Our Team have come together to face the challenges head on, supporting one-another and ensuring patients have been able to access healthcare when truly needed.



How we have used our surgery sites

To best contain the virus we had to close our doors, only permitting those with pre-booked appointments into our surgeries. From the 17th May 2021 we opened our doors again, allowing a limited the number of patients inside at a time.

We have been adapting the use of our surgery sites throughout the pandemic. We have introduced a ‘Hot Site’ for symptomatic patients, made use of ‘drive-thru’ facilities to offer more appointments and added video intercom systems to our entrances for patients to sign in with reception.

Further details on how our individual sites have been used can be found below.

  • River Lodge – ‘Hot Site’- An area set aside for GP assessment for patients with Coronavirus symptoms. Patients will have booked in by NHS 111 to attend the large enclosed marquee. This offers privacy to patients travelling on foot or by car to be assessed by a GP in full PPE.
  • River Lodge – ‘Cold Site’ – Using different entrances/exits, and ensuring hot and cold areas remain separate we are now able to offer pre-booked appointments to those without symptoms for routine Nurse and GP appointments.
  • River Lodge – In December 2020 we began using the site as a GP lead Covid Vaccination Site, offering our patients a local venue to attend for vaccination.
  • School Hill – ‘Cold Site’ – Offering pre-booked appointments with Nurses and GPs from all our merged surgeries. We are asking patients to use the entrance at the back of the building, where a marquee has been erect for patients to wait under in bad weather.
  • Anchor Field – ‘Cold Site’ – A marque was introduced earlier in the pandemic for us to be able to offer further appointments at a safe distance to patients and staff. For now we have suspended its use, continuing to see patients for pre-booked appointment in surgery. The marque remained in place until mid May so that patients could request to be seen there or in their car is they preferred, with little to no uptake it was removed.
  • St Andrew’s – ‘Cold Site’ – This site was closed to all patients at the start of the pandemic. This was to offer our vulnerable staff a safe place to work. As things developed, and we began to reintroduce services a one way system was introduced to allow patients to visit the site for pre-booked routine appointments. This remains in place.

Further information on our 'Hot Site'

The ‘Hot Site’ is operational in Lewes, at River Lodge Surgery.

Patients showing symptoms, whom NHS 111 feel require further assessment, will be given a GP appointment time to attend.  The GP, dressed in PPE equipment, will meet patients outside the surgery in the assessment marquee (‘Drive-Thru’). Patients can be assessed in their car.

Initial assessment will require the GP to measure pulse, oxygen levels and breathing rate. This allows the GP to rapidly and safely check patients and decide who needs:

  • Hospital Assessment
  • Reassurance and advise, allowing them to continue self-care at home
  • Treatment for a coexisting condition.

This facility is not being used to test for the virus.

Patients not thought to be at risk of having active Covid infection, but needing face to face assessment for any other conditions will be given a GP appointment time at one of our ‘cold sites’.

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