Change to the appointment system from Monday 1st August
Due to the ongoing demand for appointments and services at present we feel it is necessary to change our appointments system.
A combination of the pandemic and increasing pressures across the NHS has made it increasingly difficult to maintain short waiting times. With hospitals overwhelmed post-pandemic, our clinical staff are near breaking point. We are finding increasing responsibilities, long hospital waiting times and the associated administrative tasks placing increasing strain on primary care. In addition to this, our receptionists are dealing with increasing abuse on a daily basis. This abuse is not acceptable and whilst we recognise this comes from a minority of our population, we feel we have to take action now to maintain the service we offer. We have always prided ourselves on our ability to help patients quickly whilst maintaining a high level of care and we strive to maintain this going forward.
For this reason we will now be offering a split appointments system across the morning and afternoon. The morning will involve on the day appointments ONLY whereas the afternoon will continue as routine appointments. We know this will lead to some frustration but we are doing this in the best interests of our patients to maintain the most complete service we possibly can.
Therefore, from 1st August, the following changes will be made:
- If you need to speak to a doctor we ask you call between 9am – 11am to be added for a same-day telephone appointment.
- The Doctor will then be able to manage your needs via the telephone, or arrange to see you face to face if required.
- We would ask for this reason you specify to reception which is your closest surgery (Fenny Compton or Shenington).
- For on the day calls you will be unable to specify which doctor you wish to speak to.
- After 11am (or when the morning appointments are filled) only urgent calls can be accommodated and it will be at the GPs discretion how and when patients are contacted. If the problem is deemed non-urgent by the GP you will be asked to either make a routine afternoon appointment or call back the following morning for an on-the-day appointment.
- Home visits must be requested before 10.30am and will only be provided for those patients who are eligible.
- There will still be routine pre-bookable appointments, both face to face and on the telephone and these can be with the GP of your choice and will be offered in the afternoon on the next available date. You can call to book these after 11am.
- Individual GPs can choose to see patients in the morning following consultation if they choose.
You can help in other ways too:
- Please call after 10.30am if your reason for calling isn’t urgent. This system will increase demand on our receptionists between 9 – 10:30am and therefore we must prioritise on the day appointments during these hours.
- Have your diary to hand to speed up our ability to help you.
- Remember that 1 slot = 1 problem. If you have more than 1 issue, please prioritise the most urgent problem.
- Please don’t abuse the receptionists if they can’t offer what you request – they are doing their best and it’s not their fault if they cannot give you exactly what you need. Our telephone calls are recorded and we will not tolerate any abuse towards our staff.
- To improve our delivery of test results it is very helpful if we have an up to date mobile telephone number. We can then send SMS messages with any important information and any actions that are required with regards these results.
Finally we recognise we are not perfect and that a perfect appointment system does not exist. Some patients in other parts of the country are waiting up to 6 weeks to speak to a GP or only able to submit an electronic request to contact a GP despite their problem being urgent. We do not want to let patient satisfaction slip and the above changes are our attempt to offer a good mixture of urgent and routine care. We will continue to monitor and review any changes that are necessary to optimise our service further.
We care a lot about our patients and are trying to provide the best service we possibly can.
Drs Marshall & Sharples