Changes to access and appointment booking systems

Posted by: Mark - Posted on:

Dear patients,

We are changing our appointment system so that we can make it as fair as possible. The new appointment system will start on the 22nd of May 2023.

Our priority will be to give better follow-up and be able to obtain a GP appointment in a reasonable time frame (1-2 weeks). We aim for patients with more complex medical needs will be better prioritised to see a GP or clinician rather than urgent care and minor illness. As you will be aware, there are not enough GPs to meet all of the demand we see and we will therefore need to prioritise which patients are seen when. We want to avoid telling anyone to call back the next day, but instead try to facilitate getting you seen or spoken to by the most appropriate person within the right time-frame. 

A key part of this is for our receptionists to be able to ask questions to ensure you are placed with the most appropriate team member. All our reception team are bound by confidentiality and the information you provide them will be added to the appointment you need. Please be patient with them and understand that it is important you are as honest and forthcoming with information as possible when discussing your problem with them as the information you give will then be considered by our triage team to ensure the most appropriate outcome for you. We will endeavour to let you know the same day what the outcome of your request is if you have contacted us in the morning (and in most cases those that have contacted us in the afternoon). 

For those patients where there is a more urgent, one-off issue or minor illness problem, the reception team have been trained to recognise that there may be other services we can book you in with – for example, Community Pharmacy Consultation or alternative clinics in the local area with Nurses, GPs and Paramedics. Please accept these appointments where given as they will usually be the most appropriate person for your to be seen by. 

If there are no routine appointments available and your problem is an ongoing or more routine issue, we will need to place you on a waiting list to be seen by the most appropriate person. We will proactively inform you if this is the case and keep your informed about your position in this list and when an appointment will become available for you. 

It will be much easier for you to contact us using our “Online Consultation” link on the website in order to request an appointment as for those who use this service already, they find it much more efficient, allowing you to get on with your day whilst we process your request. 

Calling the practice via the phone will not give you priority over those who have placed a request using the online consultation service. 

As before, if a GP or Nurse needs to follow-up on the result of a test, we will get in touch with you proactively to inform you of the outcome or book a follow-up appointment. 

What does this mean for urgent care at Central Medical Centre?

Central Medical Centre has always provided some urgent, same day care when we are able to for our patients. This will still happen, but there will be a balance between

urgent and routine care. Routine care with continuity and improved access for follow up are the key messages in the changes we are making. 

Our reception staff will ask you how long your problem has been present for and what the issue is. If the issue is urgent and we have capacity, you may be booked in with one of our clinicians including a Physiotherapist, Nurse practitioner, Clinical Pharmacist, Practice Nurse or GP. If we have filled all these appointments and your needs are more urgent, they will signpost you to: NHS 111, Peterborough A and E. Minor Illness and Injuries Unit. 

We ask for your patience whilst all the team get used to a new system, and we ask for kindness to the reception team who are aware that patients may get frustrated with the system but are trying to help you get the best care possible. 

We will continue to monitor this and make any changes necessary based on feedback and experience.