Finding it difficult to access appointments?




Recently we have seen a rise in the amount of feedback from patients who are finding it difficult to access appointments.

We fully appreciate how frustrating it can be when faced with long waits on the phone followed by difficulty obtaining appointments when you need them.

Demand for our services is up considerably, even on pre-pandemic levels. As a GP surgery we have to offer a variety of different services including health checks for chronic conditions, health checks for new babies and their mothers, vaccinations and immunisations, annual reviews and regular blood tests for people on certain medications as well as the routine and urgent appointments that most patients contact us for. Over the course of the pandemic we adapted our appointment model to try to maximise appointment availability for patients. A lot of the above services and requirements were put on hold to enable us to continue to meet patient needs and have been fully reinstated creating a backlog of demand which has to be met.

In July 2021 we returned to offering patients the option to choose between a face-to-face and a telephone appointment at the point of booking (provided the patient is not reporting any Covid-19 symptoms). Despite what seems to be a growing opinion, a telephone appointment is still a full appointment. They are not any quicker than seeing someone face-to-face. We continue to have to triage patients with potential Covid-19 symptoms over the phone to ensure we protect vulnerable patients and staff in the building.

Our phone lines are incredibly busy. Our telephony staff are working non-stop to answer them as quickly as possible.

We are doing our best as a practice in what really is a difficult time and asking you to consider some of the following things that you can do to help us:

Firstly, consider if the surgery should be your first port of call.

Support our Reception team

  • Support our Reception team when they ask you the reason for your appointment.
  • Our team work to a protocol designed by our GPs which enables them to put you in with the right person, first time.
  • We have a multidisciplinary team here at the surgery with staff other than GPs who can help with a wide range of problems.
  • They are highly skilled and many of them are able to arrange prescriptions, scans and other investigations without the need for a GP appointment.
  • Please have patience with the Reception team – many of them are new and learning the role, and they are all doing their best to support you

Familiarise yourself with how our appointment system works.

  • Currently we have a number of routine appointments which are available to book and also have appointments which are targeted to release at periodic times throughout the week to try to meet the demand on a regular basis.
  • If you are unwell and feel that your condition is something which needs to be seen “on the day” then our reception team will assist you by taking a brief history and arranging a call back from a member of the duty team who will assess and consult you via the phone or invite you down to the surgery to be seen.

We appreciate your patience during these difficult times. Hereford Medical Group is committed to providing a high-quality service to you and I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to maximise availability of appointments.

For and behalf of HMG Partners

Published: Jul 25, 2022