To make it easier to speak to your GP and get an appointment, we are introducing a new booking system from Monday 4th December 2017. There are three easy steps:
1. Call the practice to book a telephone consultation with a GP – this can be at any time in the day and no longer needs to be at 8.30am
2. One of our reception team will ask you "is this a new problem or an ongoing problem?" *
3. The doctor will phone you back to discuss your problem and decide if and when you need to be seen.
* You will notice a change in the way a request to see or speak to a member of the clinical team are managed. Our Reception team will continue to ask if your condition is new or on going and you will be contacted by telephone by the most appropriate team. Our teams consist of Doctors who, on a rota basis, will be looking after either acute, on the day issues, or patients with continuing care needs. These teams have been worked out based on the days that they work to give the best access.
A common bug bear among patients is around reception staff asking questions about the reasons for a patients call when ringing for an appointment. Commonly patients will feel that receptionists are prying into the patients business and that they’re not medically qualified so what business is it of theirs? Conversely however patients are also commonly frustrated at appointment availability or wait time for routine appointments.
The two points may seem unrelated but they are linked. It may help if we explain the reasons behind the processes we use and why. As with the majority of practices in the country we are feeling the pressure of demand appointments, and particularly GP appointments. It is a fact that not all requests coming through to the surgery require to be seen by a GP, and nor do we have sufficient GP capacity for them to manage every appointment enquiry.
We do however have a range of clinical staff with different skills who are qualified to deal with a variety of different health matters. We are continuing to develop the skill mix in the practice for example through our recent recruitment of a clinical pharmacist. Ultimately the purpose of a receptionist asking the purpose of the call is to attempt to identify the most suitable staff member or service to support the patient. This helps the patient to be seen at the earliest opportunity and supports appropriate use of available clinical appointments.
Whilst some patients may have a good understanding of what conditions our staff are qualified to see, many patients will not. To be clear, what receptionist are absolutely not attempting to do is to make a clinical assessment or give medical advice and nor are they qualified to do so. They are however trained and given guidance by our clinicians over who or what service is most appropriate for certain conditions.
It is also worth pointing out that in terms of confidentiality all of our staff, both clinical and non-clinical, are bound by the same standards. Staff are expected to understand however that some patients may not wish to disclose personal information for a variety of reasons, and that it is ok, it simply helps when this is possible.
Please arrive on time for your appointment and check in using our Automated Arrivals machine so that we are aware that you are waiting. Our clinical team will always aim to work to appointment times. However, their priority is to provide appropriate care to the patient who is with them at any one time, which may result in the clinician running late. We kindly ask for your patience and understanding of this. Clinicians may also run late if they have had to liaise with ambulance or secondary care services regarding a patient in urgent need of treatment.
Our reception team will be able to advise you if your clinician is running late.
We realise that certain groups of patients, for example full time workers, find it difficult to access an appointment. Therefore we offer the following additional appointments outside of the core hours:
Tues 7.30-8.00pm Minor Op Appointments
Fri 7.30am to 8.00am Appointments with the GP, Nurse and Health Care Assistant
Saturday 8.00am to 10.30am Appointments with a GP
A significant number of appointment slots are wasted every month as a result of patients failing to attend their pre-booked appointment. These appointment slots could have been used to provide care for other patients.
Please help us maximise the number of appointments we have available for all our patients by letting us know in advance of your appointment slot that you are unable to attend.