How We Will Be Working
Engage consult is a system we have been using over the last year to try and help with issues patients have been experiencing contacting the surgery. It allows patients to create an account and then send queries to the surgery. These can then either be dealt with by reception or passed onto a medical practitioner where appropriate to arrange the appropriate care. This may be a a telephone call or an electronic appointment with messages being sent back and forth via Engage consult. We look to acknowledge and reply to any message sent to the surgery before 11am on the same day. Any messages sent after this we will also look to respond to as soon as possible, and no later than the end of the next working day.
We appreciate this is not a system everyone will want to use, however, if it is something you would be keen to try then please Follow the link on our homepage
We are pleased to confirm that as of 21st June 2021 we have reopened our reception. This now means that patients who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 can come to reception to make requests if they wish.
We would still encourage patients to either telephone the surgery or use Engage Consult if possible however we are aware of the difficulties some patients are having using these methods.
The phone lines have been a major source of frustration for both you and us for a number of years now. We have been trying to get these updated for the past 3 years and we have been informed that we should have a new phone system in place by the end of July 2021. We hope this will mean that patients are able to get through to us more easily via telephone. Please trust us when we say we want people to be able to contact us as easily as possible.
As many of you will be aware we have started using Engage Consult over the past year. More details on this can be found below. We know that this method isn't perfect and some patients will not feel comfortable with using this system. This is why we are so keen to update the phone system and reopen our reception.
The past 18 months have been challenging for all of us for a variety of reasons. As we hopefully move out of this we are facing a new set of challenges:
Firstly we have been heavily involved in the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. This has been tremendously successful but has required a significant amount of GP, Physician Associate, Nursing and Reception time.
Secondly, we now have to catch up with all of the chronic health reviews that were put on delay due to the pandemic. We have looked at the numbers at Churchfields and this will take up most of the nursing time over the next 12 months.
Thirdly, General Practice has seen a dramatic rise in the demand for appointments. In March 2021 there was a 15% increase in appointments compared to March 2020.
We are committed to providing the best care possible for all of our patients. To achieve this despite the above issues we have had to look at how we provide care as we move forward. We have come to the decision that returning to the previous way of working where all patients were seen face to face is unrealistic and unachievable. Although not perfect, being able to have telephone appointments or Engage Consult messages as the initial contact with Face To Face appointments being arranged as needed following this assessment has allowed us to help with more patients more quickly than we could under the old system. We will therefore look to continue with this method going forward. We would, however, expect to see that a greater number of patients will be invited for face to face examinations as we move out of the pandemic.