Missed appointments - year to date
As many patients will know, a shortage of GPs means that waiting times for a routine appointment is much longer than we would like. We are working hard to recruit more permanent GPs but our locum colleagues are, the meantime, doing their very best to help us provide the service our patients need and deserve.
It is therefore especially disappointing to report that we had a staggering 220 missed appointments in March 2018. This means that, year to date, patients have booked 444 appointments which they then failed to attend.
Put another way, this would have provided an extra whole day of GP appointments, every single week since 1 January.
The cost of missed appointments to the NHS and to fellow patients is simply unsustainable, so we are issuing this plea: If you do not need your appointment, please let us know on 01793 522710, so that we can give the appointment to a patient who does. Even if you can only give us an hour's notice, we promise we can fill the appointment! Thank you.
You said.... we listened!
We value the feedback we receive from our patients and are always pleased to listen to your views. Below is an example of the recent feedback we have been given and the actions we have taken to implement your ideas and suggestions. And if you have any ideas or suggestions to improve the practice, please let us know; we'd love to hear from you!
You said : 'We struggle to get through on the phone first thing in the morning or when the phones open in the afternoon':
We did: We have increased the number of staff we have available to answer phones during the busiest times. We will continue to monitor our performance over the coming months.
You said: ‘It is sometimes difficult to get an appointment with a doctor’ and, ‘you couldn’t always get a ‘book on the day’ appointment’.
We did: The national shortage of GPs is making it extremely difficult to recruit but we have recently recruited a Nurse Practitioner to help provide more appointments. We have also reduced the number of telephone calls requested each day by patients, to free up the clinicians’ time to offer more routine and urgent face-to-face consultations.
You said: ‘It’s not always convenient to have to visit the surgery to drop off a repeat prescription – why can’t I ask for my medication over the phone?’.
We did: We cannot accept requests for repeat prescriptions over the phone but we understand that our patients need the process to be quick and convenient, so you can order your medication online (by registering for the service here at the surgery). Alternatively, you can use the new Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) service, which means that ordering your medication is as simple as a phone call from the comfort of your own home!
You said: 'We are often kept waiting a bit too long after our scheduled appointment time'
We did: Our new clinical IT system allows us to actively monitor our waiting times and our reception staff work hard to let patients know whenever a GP is running late. We are also encouraging patients to ask for a double appointment if they know that they may need longer than the usual 10 minute appointment
You said: ‘It would be a good idea to have alcohol hand gel in reception, to help prevent the spread of germs.’
We did: We now provide alcohol gel on the reception desk and by the booking in touch-screen, which is regularly cleaned.
You Said: ‘You should send text messages to remind patients of their appointment dates and times.’
We Did: We have now introduced a text messaging service for our patients because we understand that from time to time people can forget that they have booked an appointment.
You Said: ‘It would be nice to have some music in reception. Also, it would be harder for other people to listen to your conversation with the receptionist.’
We Did: We have recently (March 2018) been given funding to apply for a licence and hope to introduce music into our reception area as soon as possible.