PARK GREEN SURGERY
Open letter to all Patients from GP Partners
All the GPs and staff would like to thank you all for your patience at this difficult time! We have been receiving an increasing number of comments and complaints from patients about the difficulty in contacting the surgery by telephone, we appreciate this is very frustrating and stressful and we are looking at ways to improve the situation. At present we have 6 telephone lines which are answered by 6 receptionists from 8.00 am until 6.00pm, they take calls for the following –
- Test results enquiries
- Home visits
- General administration queries i.e. insurance reports, medicals, referrals
- Covid vaccines
Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic we have had to change the way we worked and all appointments were changed to telephone consultations to comply with social distancing to protect the health and safety of patients and practice staff. We also had to accept repeat prescription requests by telephone, this has had a massive impact on the use of the telephone system. We are currently liaising with our phone system provider to provide more telephone lines (we added 2 extra in June 2020) and hopefully this will happen within the next few weeks.
The Practice has been looking at ways to improve the current situation further and the following changes will be made to free up the phone lines
Repeat Prescriptions – From 1st May 2021 you will no longer be able to order repeat prescriptions by telephone, unless you are housebound or elderly. The alternative ways to order to your prescription are :-
- Online via SystmOne online – please speak to the reception team to sign up
- Counterfoil (the back of your prescription) indicating which medication you require by ticking the box at the side of the medication and placing in the prescription box at the surgery,
- In writing by post
- By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Appointments – All appointments will initially be booked as a telephone call – unless previously requested by the clinician. The clinician will call you from a withheld number. Many problems can be safely dealt with over the phone without you needing to come to the surgery or be examined. However there are some cases when the clinician may need to examine you. For certain complaints, this can be done via video consultation. It would be very useful if you could advise the receptionist if you have the facilities for this or not. Other things will need a face to face assessment and if necessary the clinician will ask you to attend the surgery for this.
Clinicians will use mobile phones to contact patients, which will come up as a private number, they will only ring twice, if there is no answer it will be recorded as did not answer. We will be offering more pre-bookable appointments, so if your problem is not urgent, you can book up to 2 weeks in advance, then you won’t have to keep ringing on the day for an appointment.
Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) for monthly medications – patients who are on a repeat medication and are suitable will be signed up for electronic repeat dispensing. The benefits of using eRD are:
- You can save time by avoiding unnecessary trips or calls to the practice every time you need to order a repeat prescription
- You can order or cancel your repeat prescriptions online if you signed up
- pick up your repeat prescriptions directly from your pharmacy without having to visit the practice
- spend less time waiting for your prescription in the pharmacy or GP practice, which means you can stay at home and avoid face-to-face contact when you need your repeat prescription during the coronavirus pandemic
- You can find more information at: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/eRD-patients
Offering e-consultations – You can input your symptoms online and will receive a response – usually that day, if a request is received within the Online Consultation daily request times. You will either be given advice, directed to other sources of support such as the pharmacy, receive a telephone consultation or if necessary booked in for an appointment. You can also use the system to contact us about test results, sick notes, referral letters and medical reports. It’s easy to get started, just try it and you might save yourself time and a journey. If you click on this link https://engage.gp/15057/#/login it will take you to the sign up page.
Re-introduction of Care Navigation – all of our receptionists have been trained in care Navigation. The partners have asked that this is carried out for all appointment requests. This involves them asking you some questions about your problem. This is to ensure that you are booked in with the correct clinician who has the skills to deal with your problem the first time. Many problems do not need an appointment with a doctor or nurse and can be managed by alternative services instead such as the community pharmacy, opticians, urgent treatment centre or Emergency department. You therefore may be advised to use these services first. This helps to free up appointments with the doctors and nurses for those who need them.
Contrary to popular belief and media coverage, our practice has been open all through the COVID pandemic, with all staff working extremely hard to provide a continuing service for patients. The GP Partners appreciate it is increasingly frustrating when you are trying to get through to the practice and fully understand the anxieties, stress and worry that has been caused by the ongoing pandemic. However we are receiving an increasing number of complaints and verbal abuse aimed towards reception staff, which they find very upsetting, when they are all working extremely hard to provide service for over 10,800 patients in difficult circumstances. We do operate a Zero Tolerance policy and any patients being verbally aggressive and abusive to any member of the practice team will be removed from the practice list.
Dr M Sinha
Dr D Shutt