Duty Doctor Arrangements and
Triaged Appointment Booking
We have adopted a different model of appointment booking that releases fewer appointments in advance but keeps more available for the duty doctor to book.
The aim of these changes is to give priority to patients on the basis of clinical need rather than the old 'first-come, first-served' system. In order to achieve this we have been arranging for a doctor to ring and speak to patients who request an appointment for that day or the same week.
In doing this we hope to be able to offer more timely and appropriate services. We have found that many patients seeking medical advice are able to discuss things with the doctor on the phone and not require a face-to-face appointment, while others who need to be seen in the surgery will usually be offered one within a few hours of calling. We are also able to make arrangements for necessary tests to be performed prior to an appointment so that the doctor will have the information to hand when a patient is seen.
A change from the traditional appointment-only arrangements is essential in light of the dramatic increase in the demand for medical services, despite the fact that we have more doctors working longer hours and no significant increase in the number of patients on our list over recent years.
Although early indications suggest that there is a high level of satisfaction with the new arrangements, we recognize that they may be an unwelcome change to those patients who expect to be offered an appointment with a doctor as the only option. We also appreciate that any new system needs some time to 'bed down' and may need further refinement as we discover what works well and what does not.
We hope that this new system will prove safer, quicker and more convenient and are grateful for comments from our patients so that we can continue to improve the service we offer.