New Appointments System
Our new appointment system has now been in place for 3 months and appears to be going very well.
We have increased capacity for those patients needing to be seen on the day by a health professional for acute problems and conditions.
Our patient contact has increased whether it is via a telephone triage call or with a face to face appointment with the appropriate clinician to help you with your problem.
We continue to make changes and modify the system in response to feedback from patients
How does the new system work? When you phone for an appointment, you will be offered a time for a telephone consultation with one of the doctors. We will aim for you to speak to the doctor of your choice if that doctor is available. The doctor will then phone you at the given time and talk to you about your problem. Depending on the problem, the doctor may be able to help you over the telephone which will save you the trouble of coming into the surgery. However, if you do need to see the doctor then they will arrange an appointment for you at a time that is convenient to you.
- Why have you introduced this new system? Because we want to ensure that when you do need to see a doctor face-to-face you can see the doctor of your choice (if available) at a time that suits you and that you do not have to come into the surgery if your problem can be dealt with over the telephone. By using this new system we will free up appointments with the doctors so that we have sufficient face-to-face appointments available. We can now be more flexible and offer more choice regarding when patients can be seen.
- What was wrong with the old system? Some patients still feel that they have to make an appointment to see the doctor for everything, even if someone else in the team could have dealt with this problem. This means that we do not have sufficient doctor appointments for those patients that actually do need to see a doctor. We have a whole team of professionals but it is difficult for the patient to know which person is the right one for this particular problem. Even if the doctor is the right person to see, sometimes patients have a wasted journey, for example if they come in to get the result of a test that is not back from the lab yet or if they need to have tests done before seeing the doctor. This system will offer the patient more choice. We are unhappy about the difficulties patients are having in booking appointments and we just cannot squeeze any more appointments into the doctors’ days. We also have a significant number of appointments wasted when patients make an appointment and then fail to attend.
- So can I still get an appointment with a doctor? Yes you can. You will be offered a telephone consultation first and you and the doctor may agree that your problem can be dealt with over the telephone. However at the end of this discussion, if you still want to come in and see a doctor, the doctor will arrange the appointment for you.
- What about appointments to see the Acute Care Practitioners? You will be offered a telephone consultation with one of the doctors and then, if it is something that one of the Acute Care Practitioners can deal with, the doctor will arrange for you to see one of them at a mutually convenient time.
- Can I make an appointment with the nurse or health care assistant? Yes you can book those without speaking to a doctor.
- What if I can’t take phone calls at work? We can offer you a telephone call between 8.30am and 5.30pm or during our extended hours’ surgeries which are between 6.30pm and 7.30pm.
- What if I have difficulty speaking or are hard of hearing? We will make special arrangements for anyone who is unable to speak to who has difficulty hearing on the telephone. If you have either of these problems, please contact us either in writing or e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org
- What if I need to be referred on to someone else? The doctor will talk to you about what he or she can do for you. If it is something that they know they will not be able to deal with, they may refer you on, for example to the hospital or the physiotherapist. They may be able to do this without having to see you and this will save you a trip to the surgery.
- What if it is an ongoing problem and I need to arrange a follow up appointment? Wherever possible, the doctor will make the follow up appointment with you but if this is not possible, for example if you need to check dates at home, the doctor will make a note in your records to say that you can make a follow up appointment without having to speak to a doctor first. When you phone in, let the receptionist know that it is a follow up appointment, they will check your records and then make you an appointment. However, if it is a new problem, you will need to have a telephone call with the doctor.
- Isn’t it designed to stop people from seeing the doctor? No absolutely not. If you want to be seen by the doctor then you will be offered an appointment. It is purely to ensure that patients are given a choice of how their problem is dealt with.
- What kind of things can be dealt with over the telephone?Sometimes the symptoms are very straightforward and the doctor and the patient may be happy to agree a course of action over the telephone. If the doctor or the patient is at all unsure, then the patient will be offered an appointment. Examples of things that can be dealt with over the phone include recurrence of a previous illness, discussion of some test results and symptoms that have not resolved following a course of treatment.
(Site updated 10/07/2015)