Appointment system announcement:

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Dear Patients,

At Beech House, we take our patient feedback very seriously. This may come in several forms including the Friends and Family Test, complaints, GP feedback surveys, etc. etc. One of the major complaints we have seen over recent months is regarding the lottery of where you are in the telephone queue dictating whether or not you get a GP appointment. Furthermore, the inability to book ahead (pre-book) is also causing problems for some of our patients.

The NHS and General Practice continue to function under significant pressure. In General Practice we are dealing with more patients than ever before whilst the number of GP’s working in the NHS is declining. This gap between demand and capacity makes it harder for us to provide the care we aspire to for the patients that we serve.

In order to address our patients’ feedback, and still try to provide the best service that we can within the current resource available to us we will begin a trial of a new PRIORTY based appointment system by adopting NHS England’s ‘Modern General Practice Model’. The full detail can be found here: NHS England » Modern general practice model. Under this system, you will not enter a “phone queue lottery”. The new system will allow the GP to assess and prioritise patient need, ensuring that patients see the right clinician at the right time for their presenting problem. This might sometimes include signposting to other services such as Community Pharmacy, Primary Care Eye Service, 111 or A&E, but it will help to ensure that GP appointments are available for those patients who do need to see a GP.

What does this mean for our patients?:

In order to allow us to assess your needs and allocate an appropriate appointment we will ask you to complete an online form outlining the reason for the appointment request. The more detail you are able to give at this stage the better as this will allow us to more effectively deal with your enquiry.

For those patients who are unable to complete an online form, for example if you don’t have access to the internet, you may phone the practice and the receptionist will complete the form for you. A friend or relative can also complete the form for you. This system will still work if you phone us as we appreciate that some of our patients do not have access or feel comfortable with the internet. We do however urge you to use the form where you possibly can as this will help to keep telephone traffic to a minimum. This in turn means that those who do need to use the phone, will be able to speak to us. Phoning your problem through does not mean that it will be dealt with any quicker.

Your form will go directly to the duty GP who will aim to provide a response via text or phone call within 24hrs. In most cases much sooner. (please see further detail below)

It may be that your enquiry can be addressed without the need for an appointment. If an appointment is required, then these will be allocated based on the assessment of urgency by the duty doctor, not in the order that they arrive.

If your problem is not considered medically urgent then you will be invited via text message ( or phone call ) to make a routine appointment with the clinician of your choice where appropriate, and where we possibly can. This can usually be done online via a link that will be provided in the message. We aim to see all routine problems within 2 weeks but at busy periods the wait may be longer than this.

If your problem is assessed as urgent, you will be seen, or be offered a telephone appointment, on the same day providing your enquiry is submitted before 4pm. You will usually receive a phone call on that day from our reception team inviting you in for an appointment if the doctor feels you need to be seen in person. As a practice, we try to deal with all demand within the practice team however, if the practice suffers from a period of overwhelming demand, we may have to signpost you to 111 to ensure you get a timely assessment as we would under the current system.

There are a small number of problems that don’t require a same day response, but it would not be medically safe to wait for 2 weeks. We aim to see those within 5 working days.

If your problem is best dealt with by another service for, example community pharmacy, then you will receive the relevant information to allow you to access that service on the same day. Examples include earache in children, sore throat, infected insect bites, UTI, impetigo, sinusitis, and shingles. Further information about the Pharmacy First service can be found here: Pharmacy First – getting the most from your pharmacist | Patient

What are the benefits for our patients?

• Appointment requests for routine medical problems or routine medication reviews can now be arranged in advance, fitting around your work or other commitments

• No more 8am rush to make an appointment as forms can be submitted throughout the working day from 7am until 6.00pm. Please note, after 4pm, your form may not be dealt with until the following morning.

• “The earlier I call, the more chance of getting an appointment” does not apply to this system. All requests are assessed by the GP regardless of what time they come into the practice.

• Increased continuity of care, ability to choose your preferred clinician if appropriate/available.

• Ensures better access for our most vulnerable patients and those with complex medical needs. Not having internet access will NOT be a barrier to this system.

• We end the lottery of where you are in the telephone queue as to whether you get an appointment.

• We can better ensure that the right patients get to see the GP at the right time.

• Your problem is dealt with by a GP at the first point of contact, not a member of the admin team.

• Our Receptionists are no longer left feeling helpless and you are not left frustrated when they cannot offer you an appointment once all are taken.

• You are not going to feel uncomfortable having to give very personal information over the phone to our receptionists as this will be detailed in the online form that the GP sees. The more detail you add, the better. You will also be able to attach photos to the form.

What we ask of you:

• Please remember – We are not an emergency response service. – If you need urgent medical care, please call 111 or 999 for appropriate care and response.

• Help us by trying to self-manage minor illness where appropriate using resources such as NHS online / Pharmacy advice / Over the counter medications where you know them to be appropriate.

• Recognise that we are no longer able to see all patients with minor problems where there is an appropriate community provider for this, for example community pharmacy. This frees up time for us to prioritise our most vulnerable patients or those in urgent need.

• Please use booking links where possible to help keep the phone lines clear for patients who do not have internet access.

• Most of all we’d like to thank you for your understanding and patience during the changeover. We appreciate that this is a big change and there will be teething problems that we need to address. You can help us to help you by feeding back on your experience both good and not so good! We are doing this with the very best intentions to improve our service to you.

Our GO-LIVE date is 26th March.

You have online access to the appointments request / online query contact form via 2 sources:

1) The NHS App – if not set up already click this link:

2) Our website, *no account is required* (click on the green “Contact us online” banner) –

PLEASE NOTE: Patient Access does not offer access to the appointments request / online query contact form.

As already mentioned, please bear with us during this time. We want to get this RIGHT, for all of our patients. All feedback will be very welcome.

Drs Salim, Woodworth, Ibrahim and Aspinall.