The appointment system.
The Appointment System
All patients ringing in to the surgery for an appointment with a GP will now speak to a doctor before the appointment is made.
Why the change?
This GP telephone assessment is a national system used in many GP surgeries. The evidence shows that only approximately one third of patients need to see a GP, one third need to be seen by another member of the healthcare team (e.g. nurse, healthcare assistant or paramedic) and the other third do not need to see anyone, after having spoken to the doctor on the phone.
Adopting this system enables us to run more efficiently, better manage the demand for appointments and ensure that those who need to see a GP should find it easier to be seen.
The new system ensures that everyone who wants an appointment will speak to a doctor on the telephone. Patients will be seen face to face if deemed necessary.
How do I now book an appointment?
So, in the new system, your receptionist will answer the phone as usual and will pass your name, number and brief description of the reason for your call to a GP who will phone you back. This will lead to you and the GP making a decision on what is required.
What options will I be given?
- A face to face appointment with the GP on that day or a future date. The GP will make the appointment for you while you are on the phone.
- A face to face appointment with another GP who is better able to deal with your particular problem
- A face to face appointment with a nurse practitioner, nurse, healthcare assistant or paramedic.
- A telephone appointment at another time.
- The issue can be dealt with there and then on the phone e.g. if a prescription is required.
- The issue needs to be dealt with by someone other than a member of the practice team e.g. at a pharmacy or by a dentist or social care.
- The decision on whether a face to face appointment is required should be made jointly by the patient and the GP who can agree a mutually acceptable appointment time.
How will this help me?
- It will be particularly useful for working patients who can go to work as normal, having spoken to a GP and then arranging an appointment at a mutually agreed time/date.
- To enable the GP to deal with calls as effectively as possible, you will be asked by reception for a brief description of the reason for your call. If you are not happy to do so, please just let reception know.
- The practice will endeavour to accommodate patients with their choice of GP; however, this may not always be possible.
Since there will now be no advantage to ringing into the surgery first thing, or arriving at 7.30am, this will mean that phone calls will be spread more evenly throughout the day. This should make it easier for patients to get through on the phones and avoid the frustration of the telephone queueing system.
You will still be able to call the surgery with general enquiries, please do so after 10am.
With our previous system, obtaining an appointment on the day generally depended on either waiting in a phone queue or coming to the surgery first thing in the morning, which will no longer be available.