Appointments

We are introducing a new way of booking GP appointments at the practice.

We currently offer a mixture of telephone and face to face appointments which can be booked on the day and in advance.

Feedback from our patients and our colleagues tells us that this system is just not working; patients are waiting between two and three weeks for a book-in-advance appointment with a doctor, which in turn is causing a large queue to form at the front door every morning as patients compete to book one of the same-day appointments which should really be used for the most urgent cases.

The workload of our clinical team and the demands on doctors’ time have become unsustainable; you regularly tell us that they are a fantastic team (we agree!) but they are now struggling to meet the increasing demand.

Having listened to you, we want to continue to work with you and our other patients to make our service better for everyone.

 

What is going to change?

From Monday 4th September 2017 all patients will access the practice via a telephone appointment with the most appropriate person for their needs; this could be a Doctor, a Physician Associate[1] or a Clinical Pharmacist[2] depending on what you are calling us for.

 

Why is the practice offering telephone appointments?

When we looked at the reasons that our patients were booking appointments, we realised that many people don’t need to come into the practice at all. The majority of problems can be safely dealt with over the telephone. For example medication reviews, questions about medication, follow-on sick notes or questions about test results. By offering you a telephone consultation first, we can make more time for the patients who need to be seen face to face.

 

How is it going to work?

 

  1. Call us on the day that you need advice; it should no longer be necessary to book appointments in advance however we will be releasing 25% of the available telephone appointments to book online from 8:00pm the night before. We know that our telephone lines are very busy first thing in the morning and we think that this will help you.

 

  1. When you do call, you will speak to one of our Care Navigators who will ask you to describe very briefly what you need help with today. The information that you choose to give will be treated as highly confidential and is purely for the purpose of helping you to speak to the best person. All members of the healthcare team, clinical and non-clinical, are bound by the same rules that protect your confidentiality.

 

  1. The Care Navigator will then book your telephone appointment with the most appropriate person for your needs. They are not there to diagnose you, only to offer you the choices that are available.

 

  1. 4. If following your telephone consultation you need to be seen face to face on that day, then the clinician will book you an appointment, however it may be necessary to see you at a later date, in which case they will book that for you; this will be either in the morning, in the afternoon or during an evening session.

 

 

What is going to happen after this new appointment system is launched?

 

Even with all our best efforts, we recognise that this new appointment system isn’t going to be perfect straight away. As we said earlier, we are going to need the help of all of our patients to get this right.

We will be asking for regular feedback and suggestions from our patients about how the appointment system is going. This feedback will be reviewed by Your Health Partnership (YHP) and patient representatives every three months. The review group will then suggest changes to the appointment system. Thus every three months the system will be improved based on the feedback we receive. YHP calls this system ‘continuous improvement’.

By working in this way we will be co-creating a system that is responsive to the needs of our patients.

[1] Physician Associates support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. They are trained to undertake a number of roles including: taking medical histories, performing examinations, analysing test results, and diagnosing illnesses under the direct supervision of a doctor.

[2] Clinical Pharmacists are health professionals who train for many years to become specialists in medicines and they can help you with any questions you might have about your medication, including: advice on how to take your medication, possible interactions or side effects of medication, prescribing of an acute medicine that is not on repeat, medication reviews, switching medication and prescribing of medication following a hospital discharge.