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We are changing our appointment system for GP Appointments

What is changing:

There will be an ability now to pre-book appointments with GP in the future: both phone and face to face.

You no longer need to phone up on a specific day that your GP is in.

Online “e-consults” will be available Sunday - Thursday from 18:30 to 20:00.

We are being more transparent with our patients about our capacity for GP appointments, and aligning our work patterns with the BMA’s statement on safe working in General Practice. (https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/gp-practices/managing-workload/safe-working-in-general-practice)

Individual GPs are also spreading their capacity throughout the week.

Why is this changing:

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic we changed our appointment system by having all requests for GP appointments to be triaged first (usually by telephone). This was in response to patient complaints that the wait for appointment was too long. By triaging appointments and dealing with as much as we could remotely, we increased our throughput of consultations with patients receiving GP care far quicker than before. As it happens, the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted GP practices nationally to adopt a similar system for differing reasons.

However, the need to phone was frustrating for patients and the volume of work was exhausting for our GP staff.

Most of our GPs work 10-12 hours a day a week, mostly 3 days a week or more, with additional hours working from home when not at the surgery doing important work which is not directly patient facing but vital for patient care. This works out at around what most people would regard as “full time” over the course of a week.  On a typical day in our old system any one GP may have 30 to 60 patient contacts (mainly by phone). This is more than the BMA’s recommendations on safe working intensity for GPs. We have three to five GPs in on any one day. 

What is not changing:

There will still be an element of telephone or online triage, especially for on the day capacity and to manage demand for appointments generally. The central problem has not changed: the demand for GP time is beyond the capacity we have to provide GP appointments. It is therefore envisaged that the wait for appointments booked in advance will run to several weeks.

We continue to encourage patients to self care were possible and seek alternatives to GP appointments where more appropriate.

Our GP mostly continue to work the equivalent of full time (approximately 37.5 hrs a week) over 3 or more days a week.

What we are continuing to do:

We are continuing to monitor how our appointment system works, and are seeking to expand our clinical workforce. Frustratingly, there is a recruitment and retention problem nationally with GPs. We are also seeking to expand our workforce to support our existing GP according to government's additional roles initiative as part of working in a Primary Care Network (PCN). 

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Further information

Zero Tolerance Statement

Our staff come to work to care for others, and it is important for all members of the public and our staff to be treated with respect.
We aim to treat our patients courteously at all times and expect our patients to treat our staff in a similary way.

We take seriously any threatening, abusive or violent behaviour againist any of our staff or patients. if a patient is violent or abusive, they will be asked to stop. if they persist, we may exercise our rights to take action to have them removed, immediately if necessary from our pratice list.

The practice considers thratening behaviour to be:

Attempted or actual aggressive threatening physical actions made towards any member of staff.
The use of aggressive, threatening or abusive language, (including raising of the voice, swearing and cursing, shouting) which threatens or intimidates staff.
In line with the rest of the NHS, and to ensure this is fully observed we have a Zero Tolerance policy in place, whereby any aggressive or violent behaviour towards our staff will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Anyone giving verbal abuse to members of the staff will be sent a letter from the Practice stating that this behaviour will not be tolerated and may result in the removal from the Practice patient list. There will be no appeal process.

We hope that you will understand and welcome this policy which is in place for the best interest of our hard working staff as well as our patients.

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