GP appointment data shows practices are busier than they’ve ever been, says BMA. Please view further information on the BMA website.
At Stow Surgery we certainly echo these findings.
Throughout the pandemic our clinical team have been responding to most patient’s urgent, medical concerns the same working day.
This level of engagement is no longer sustainable and as a result we are making some changes to our appointment booking process.
Our Clinical Administrators are receiving additional training in signposting patients to appropriate services so that patients receive the right level of care from the moment they call rather than waiting for a GP to call and provide this information. This may result in patients being advised to make an appointment at the Minor Injury and Illness Unit, visit a pharmacy or self refer (for physiotherapy for example).
If a patient is calling in about an urgent matter, their call will be triaged and a member of the duty team will contact them within a clinically appropriate timescale. This may be the same day (if clinically urgent) but likely to be within 48 hours. Contact may not be by the patient’s usual GP but will be by a GP / Advanced Care Practitioner with full access to the patient’s records. Our Clinical Administrators are communicating this message to patients currently and are not always receiving great feedback. This step is a necessity to protect our GPs from burnout and to ensure that those who are very unwell receive appropriate care, quickly.
We are currently undertaking a piece of work to understand the urgency of the demand to determine whether a different split of urgent / routine appointments is required. We will communicate our findings and any changes in the next 2 months.
We’d like to thank patients for their patience and understanding of these new processes as we move forward.