How does it work?
Every effort is made for the GP of choice to be available but this cannot be always guaranteed as a result of annual leave, other commitments or simply a disproportionate demand for one GP on certain days. There are some pre-bookable appointment and some appointments that can be booked on the day. You can also register with My Health On Line to book appointments on line. The phones switchon at 8am.
The overwhelming majority of our patients find the system of great benefit, with no waiting list for appointments, a considerable reduction in patients failing to attend, greater choice for most patients who can chose the day they want an appointment and more opportunities to see a doctor of their choice.
As with most systems, we cannot provide an answer which is all things to all men. Demand on an already busy telephone system is increased and there will be certain times of day when patients may have difficulties getting through We have actioned audits, system enhancements, changes in working practices to reduce this as much as possible but have had to accept that there will still be times when demand is too great. We apologise for any inconvenience when this happens. Note that our emergency line is separate of this system and is responded to immediately.
Lack of Continuity
This is regularly raised by patients and is more of an issue in larger practices where it is more difficult to co-ordinate GP sessions. However, whilst this is perceived to be of importance to individuals, the partners would like to stress that there is little need to see the same doctor all the time in most cases.
In the past when the patients’ paper notes were used for consultations, a lot of time could be wasted ploughing through previous records and letters and consequently a GP’s personal knowledge of a patient would probably have been of use. However, now that all records are computerised, details of all previous consultations, test results, hospital correspondence etc. are available to all our GPs in seconds which makes this less relevant. Furthermore, if a GP feels there is need for a particular consultation to be followed up personally, he/she has the ability to book the appointment at a suitable date in the future anyway. Also, patients who are seriously ill or have specific needs are discussed in practice meetings so that everyone is aware of the issues and may even be allocated a specific GP if felt appropriate. Consequently the above ensures that continuity is provided if it is clinically necessary.
We have, however, reviewed the allocation of GPs at our separate sites and have simplified this so that patients will become more aware of where each doctor is working each day
We should point out that booking appointments with any doctor also improves access for all. It reduces delays or long waits in the waiting room and reduces the time Receptionists have to spend on the telephone, blocking lines while they try to find appointments.
How can you help to maximise the benefits of the system?
- Please do not telephone the surgery with routine queries at busy times of day, particularly first thing in the morning.
- Don’t waste appointments for self correcting ailments such as coughs, colds sore throats etc.
- Don’t waste appointments by failing to turn up after they have been booked. Note that this is audited and persistent offenders could be removed from our list.
- Wherever possible, please be flexible with the choice of doctor. Our GP’s will confirm that there are comparatively few occasions when a patient has to see the same doctor at all times.
- Only use the option of a request for a pre-bookable appointment if your circumstances make it totally impossible for you to telephone on the day you require and remember that these appointments are limited.
- Remember that we can never guarantee that all patients will be able to see the doctor of their choice, when they want to see them.
- Please arrive on time. If you are late you may be asked to wait or make another appointment.
- Please do not squeeze other family members into your appointment.
- Please do not save up a long list of problems for one appointment.