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Booking System July 2021

 

During the Pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the Practice introduced a telephone triage system to ensure those patients who had most need could access a face to face appointment with a GP. Triage is a way of determining how urgent a request is and the clinician can book the patient accordingly.  At no point since March 2020 has a patient been refused a face to face appointment if the GP felt it clinically necessary for them to be seen.  All staff have, and continue to follow strict Covid guidance and test regularly to ensure we are always available if needed. This will not change as of 19 July.

The nursing team have continued to see patients throughout and appointments were bookable on the day via the Reception Team.  During lockdown periods routine tests and procedures were deferred as per NHS England guidelines but were reintroduced as soon as was safe to do so.

With the relaxing of restrictions we have continued to use the triage system but have returned to giving patients the opportunity to book a limited number of advanced telephone consultations and requests to be seen.. As always, we have to ensure there is capacity on the day for those who need urgent attention. When given a telephone triage appointment, this does not mean the patient will not get a face to face appointment.  What it ensures is that the clinician can manage their caseload, prioritise need and book the patient at the most appropriate time.  The Patient Advisor cannot book into the GP clinics for this reason.

Most importantly, we have discovered that by the GP or Nurse Practitioner making the face to face booking this ensures that those who need to be examined can get access in a timely manner.  Prior to the Pandemic patients had to wait 4-6 weeks for a routine appointment with a GP.  By using a combination of telephone or electronic consultations and face to face appointments the clinical team can prioritise and manage their workload more efficiently and waiting times are now drastically reduced.

With regard to the phone system we have a team answering constantly from 8.30am to 5.30pm.  Demand has increased massively and as hard as they try, the Patient Advisor team cannot get through the calls any more quickly.  They are encountering frustration and anger from some patients, we would ask that consideration be given to the extreme pressure they are currently under. Our Reception team are here to advise you who best to see for your condition, they are not clinically trained.  

More patients are attending the practice rather than keep trying to ring which has increased the footfall greatly and now queues are forming at Reception.  We urge all patients to keep trying to ring rather than attend due to the huge increase in cases across Cornwall. Please remember studies show that having had 2 vaccinations does not stop you catching or spreading the virus.  We urge patients to please remember this before attending regarding a routine issue. We advise that you call after 2pm for any routine matters or test results when the lines are less busy.

We appreciate these are big changes for many patients who have historically always seen their GP in the Practice but with ever increasing demand on the service, a system had to be developed that prioritises all of our GP practice services and offers them to as many people as possible within our practice population of over 18,700.   Thank you for your co-operation.

Caroline Spettigue

 Operations Manager 

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