**PLEASE READ*** LETTER TO PATIENTS FROM DR RULE
25th February 2015
First of all may I offer an apology to those of you who continue to have difficulties with the Appointment system here at Peartree Lane.
As you will have heard, the NHS is struggling to cope with the demand nationally both at GP surgeries and in Casualty. We are all growing older and there has been a shift of care away from hospitals and back into the Community. On average in General Practice 10 years ago we would see each of our patients twice a year; we now see them 5 times.
This has had a tremendous effect on our workload. You will have noticed that Drs Turner and Creak retired within the past twelve months and whilst we have been very fortunate in finding talented replacements for them, younger doctors are increasingly difficult to tempt into General Practice. Many nowadays, for a variety of reasons, need to work part time and so continuity of care is becoming more and more difficult.
To try and help you and the practice we altered our appointment system during the Autumn of 2014. Like many practices in the U.K., we have been operating a triage system. Each day 2 Doctors spend all day phoning patients who require urgent help to assess them and either help over the phone, or arrange an appointment in the most appropriate place with the most appropriate health professional. This does mean that we have had to keep some appointments free which have implications for your ability to book through our receptionists. It has however rid us all of the awful queue in the morning and the large number of patients who were told to “come down and sit and wait” in the evenings.
The system is not ideal and some of our GPs are meeting regularly to monitor the situation and alter the system as required so that we can improve our service. It may be helpful to you to bear in mind that when we are triaging telephone calls, we often receive 90 calls before 9.30 am and so phone back to the patient often takes 4-5 hours. If you phone later in the day you are much more likely to be phoned back promptly. We still have appointment availability and advice if you phone in the early afternoon.
If you have any comments or suggestions about appointments please feel free to talk to your doctor or contact the Patient Participation Group who are taking an active part in contributing to the Practice and regularly meet on your behalf do discuss these sort of issues.
Dr M Rule
***CHANGES TO THE APPOINTMENTS SYSTEM***
From Monday 21st July, patients will have noticed a change in the way appointments are made, and have been offered greater choice in the type of appointment they have.
Please note the following:
1. For routine and follow-up appointments, there is more capacity for advanced bookings.
2. For on-the-day and urgent appointments, a new system has been introduced. When your call is answered by a receptionist, you will be asked some brief questions which helps us to triage your call. You will then be offered either a telephone discussion with the on-call GP, or a same day face-to-face appointment. We recognize that some problems can be resolved over the telephone and patients may find this more convenient than attending surgery. The on-call GP will aim to call you back within two hours. He or she may subsequently book you in for a face-to-face consultation should this be appropriate.
3. To effectively triage your call, the receptionist will ask you to briefly describe the nature of the medical problem. The GP on-call finds this information extremely useful. We fully respect patients' right to privacy and understand that some patients would rather not disclose this information to reception staff.
4. Same day appointments may be booked online which avoids the need to call the surgery at a time which may be inconvenient for some patients, such as those commuting to work. Please ask a member of staff for further information regarding our online services.
WELCOME TO THE PEARTREE PRACTICE ONLINE
The doctors and staff at The Peartree Practice Welwyn Garden City are proud to offer the highest standard of patient-centred healthcare. The surgery operates across 3 sites at Peartree Lane Surgery, Moorswalk Surgery and Hollybush Surgery.
We run many clinics for the management of chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes and offer a wide variety of other medical services including antenatal and postnatal care, minor surgery, childhood vaccinations, joint injections, learning disability health-checks and well-person check-ups.
In addition to everything you need to know about the practice you will also find a wealth of health-related information in the menu on the right hand side. Please explore the site: we would welcome your feedback.
If you wish to use the website to order repeat prescriptions or book an appointment on line, please speak to the receptionist first and ask for authorisation to use these facilities. They will print out your Logon ID and Passcode which you will need to register on line.
(Site updated 20/07/2015)