Click here to read: Letter to patients from Dr Matt Bull

Changes to the appointment system:

As you know, General Practice has changed dramatically over recent years and The Three Spires Medical Practice is determined to continue to provide the best care to our patients in the face of these changes.  You will have recently seen that we have trained our Patient Advisers in ‘active signposting’ – enabling them to get you the right help as quickly as possible from the most appropriate member of the Practice team (see our ‘A new way forward – Part 1’ and ‘Making Appointments’ pages for further information).

We have also invested heavily in our Practice team by employing more salaried GPs (doctors who see patients on behalf of the Practice Partners), nurses and health care assistants.  We have also employed a Clinical Pharmacist, Care  Co-ordinator and Social Prescriber.

The next step was to evaluate and change the way our GPs see our patients and the appointment system which we have now done.  We are confident that these changes will ensure that we can adapt to current and future demand, whilst maintaining our personal list system and protecting the future of the Practice.

From 1st April 2019, the appointment system will follow these principles:

  • If your problem is urgent and you need to be seen or contacted on the same day we will provide this, but this will not necessarily be with the person of your choice.
  • If you want to see a specific doctor that you know about a medical problem then you will be able to pre-book with that doctor, but it might be several days until that named doctor is available.
  • When you contact the Practice we will ask for much more information about the reason for your call so that our Active Signposting team can get you seen or answer your question as quickly and as safely as possible.
  • If you have a minor or self-limiting illness or injury then you will be directed to seek healthcare advice from other sources such as pharmacists, minor injury centres or online via the excellent NHS Choices website.
  • Doctors will have a set number of face to face and telephone appointments available and once these are full subsequent calls will go to the duty team for triaging.
  • We are asking everyone to consider the cumulative demand made on the system when you request a ring back or phone the Practice. Every Monday we receive 1500 phone calls (10% of our registered patients) which place an enormous strain on a finite workforce. We often have appointments available later in the week and not everything needs to be dealt with on the day that you call.
  • Home visits use up a lot of GP’s time and are an inefficient way to consult. Home visits are reserved for the truly house-bound and terminally ill. If you can get to a hospital appointment or to the hairdressers then you can get to the surgery.

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