Access Update

Royal Primary Care Access Update
- November 2023

Through our recent patient survey and our Family & Friends Test, you've had your say, we've listened and now we're putting change into action to make access to our services easier and more convenient for you.

In this access update, we’ll be sharing some exciting new changes and additions to our services that will be coming into action at our 8 Chesterfield surgeries.

We can't wait to see the difference these changes make to your experience, but we would like to ask that you please bear with whilst we implement these changes to make our services the best they can be for our patients.

Changes to our Appointments System

In October's patient survey, 95% of patients said that they would be happy to see any clinician on the same day for a problem if they were unwell with a recent and new illness.

Following successful GP recruitment, we have now been able to create a team of clinicians to provide clinics specifically for those patients who need an on the day assessment, improving access to our same day appointments.

For ongoing or lifelong illness, being able to see the same clinician can significantly reduce; unnecessary visits to the surgery and hospitals, unnecessary medications and investigations and improve health outcomes.

We will now be offering appointments specifically for ongoing problems where continuity counts. These appointments may not always be with a GP but may be with a member of our clinical team with specialist skills.

Our call handling team have been trained to direct you to the most appropriate clinic and clinician for your problem, ensuring that where necessary you get to see the same clinician for ongoing episodes of care.

Changes to how we book your Appointment

So far this year we've had over 6000 responses to our Family & Friends test. We've been looking into your feedback and using this to make decisions about how we can make our service more accessible.

You've said you find it difficult to get through on the phones first thing in the morning, so we're introducing a new system to make it easier for you to contact us when you need us most.

From Monday 6th November when you ring the surgery with a medical problem, your call will be directed by one of our call handlers who will ask the nature of your call to assess what kind of outcome is required. The Decision Support Tool built by our clinicians will advise the receptionist whether you require a:

(1) Same Day Appointment

(2) Appointment Within 2 Weeks

(3) A referral or signposting to another service such as a local pharmacy or physiotherapy service.

If a same day appointment is required, you will be offered an appointment that day (for requests later in the afternoon, appointments will be offered for the following morning). If you are calling before 10.30AM and you do not require a same day appointment, you will be added to our call back waiting list where one of our call handlers will contact you within 24 hours to discuss arranging an appropriate appointment or referral. If you do not require a same day appointment, we would ask you to consider calling the surgery after 10.30AM that will allow us to help patients who need a same day appointment more efficiently and ease the telephone pressures at our busiest times.

Changes to our Telephone System

Following on from our patient survey last month, 79% of our patients said they would opt for a call back if they rang the surgery for an appointment to discuss an ongoing problem and the line was busy.

We are pleased to announce that this function will be available from today, Wednesday 22nd November. Instead of waiting on the line for your call to be answered, simply select the call back option and we will call you back within 24 hours to discuss your problem.

Please note that the call back facility is only suitable for patients wishing to make an appointment for an ongoing problem. Please do not use this facility if you feel that you need a same day appointment.

Changes to our Staffing

Recruitment in Primary Care has become increasingly difficult over the last few years with more GPs leaving the profession than joining, which has made taking on new GPs a very difficult task.

With this in mind, we are so pleased to announce that we will be welcoming 9 new GPs who will be joining our team across the next few months. 8 of these GPs are GP Fellows who have specialist interests in areas such as Musculoskeletal health, Dermatology, Women's Health and more, bringing a whole wealth of knowledge with them that we know will really benefit our patients.

One of the common themes in feedback we get from our patients is around telephone access which is why alongside our 9 new GPs, we will also be adding 5 new members of staff to our call handling team to help us get to your call quicker.