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As you may have noticed we have had a very high demand for appointments recently.
Factors influencing this include a high prevalence of winter vomiting illness, a lot of viral upper respiratory infections, and a significant number of seasonal infections, on top of a growing general demand for appointments for chronic disease management.
On top of this we have had a prolonged period without having a training doctor in the practice. Dr Thornborrow is on maternity leave and Dr Gawn is returning in August for a further year of registrar training.
These factors have combined to put pressure on our appointments system and we realise many of you have had experience of ringing on the day, first thing at 8:30 am only to find that all the appointments have been taken by the time your call is answered.
We have tried several approaches to this problem, as we recognise how frustrating it is for everyone involved.
We have increased the number of appointments available. We have audited the demand over the course of the week and recognise that Mondays and Fridays are days of high demand and we have tried to add extra capacity to these days. We have also started to triage some calls. This means that often the receptionist will ask for some details of your symptoms and a contact phone number in order that one of the doctors can phone you back for triage. This should mean that you see the right person at the right time, and allow access to advice or treatment by means of a telephone consultation if appropriate.
We are aware that its hard to find a universally acceptable system that suits all of our patients all of the time, but we always try to provide high quality care. We welcome feedback and suggestions on any aspects of the appointment system. For details of how to give us feedback please see below.
Overall we provide about 340 doctor appointments and about 175 nurse appointments a week, and over 95% of these appointments are kept.
However we have a number of appointments which are booked but not attended.
Most recently there was a total of 390 minutes of doctor and nurse time wasted in one week through non-attendance at booked appointments. This equates to six and a half hours of consulting time, or the ability to see 39 patients.
If you have booked an appointment and are unable to make it please ring the surgery in plenty of time so that the appointment can be cancelled and offered to someone else. Alternatively appointments can be cancelled by texting 07935 345500.
Please work with us to help us achieve a great level of care and accessibility.
Also, over recent years we have experienced a number of changes to the practice:
We have gone paper-light, which means that we scan all patient information (reports, results and letters) into your computer records. This has resulted in a much faster and more easily accessible system both for staff, clinicians and patients.
We have altered our appointment system, which has resulted in patients having quicker access to see a doctor. Patient can have an appointment with a doctor within 24 working hours. This has also dramatically cut down the numbers of patients who do not turn up for their appointments, decreasing wasted appointments.
We have introduced a repeat prescription system which has reduced the length of time patients waited to speak to a member of staff as telephone prescription requests are now dealt with by our automated message.
We recently asked 250 patients to complete a practice improvement questionnaire. Questions were asked regarding the services, the Doctors, Practice Nurse, staff and about their care. We received very positive feedback and a few ideas that we could take forward. As a result we are setting up a patient focus group. Anyone interested please ask at reception for details.