During the spring of 2013 we conducted a second patient
questionnaire to seek the views of patients regarding our appointment system,
specifically around making appointments with GPs. Two very clear messages came out of the
Patients want to be able to get a routine GP appointment
within 7 days
2. Patients want to be able to get back to see or
talk to the doctor or nurse who is treating them for a current problem
While no one has yet designed a perfect appointment system
that can flex with changes in daily demand or demand for specific doctors,
we have changed our system to incorporate these two key features with the aim
of improving patient satisfaction by improving access and continuity.
89% of patients stated that routine GP appointments should
be within 7 days or less. At that time
we were only achieving 42% available within 7 days.
We have changed:
85% of appointments are held back and only made available 7
days in advance. The remaining
appointments are available up to 6 weeks in advance for patients who need to
organise their life further ahead. In
the future these appointments may only be available through online booking.
Continuity - 78% of
patient view continuity as very important, important or desirable
We have changed:
Our previous duty doctor system meant that urgent requests
to speak to a doctor always went to the duty doctor; this potentially left a
patient, whose health was deteriorating, talking to, or being seen by,
different doctors. We have introduced
telephone appointments specifically to support continuity; these are now
available each day a doctor works. There
may not always be sufficient appointments to satisfy all patients, but we hope
to be able to accommodate the majority of patient requests and greatly improve
continuity.The questions below relate to two separate time periods, the period before the 1st of July 2013 and the period after.