Information about our trial of a new text messaging booking system for routine appointments.
When is it happening?
From 16th November 2023 – phone line opens between 0900 – 1000 the number to call is 02892474002
Why is the system being changed?
Currently everyone who wants an appointment whether it is urgent or routine calls at 8.30am and goes into a queue. This blocks the phone lines for those patients with a more urgent problem. It is also inconvenient for some people.
What happens if I have an urgent problem?
For urgent problems the system will stay exactly the same, patients with an urgent problem that requires an urgent appointment that day should phone through from 8.30am in the morning to speak to a member of reception who will take some details. These details will be reviewed by the GP covering urgent care that day.
What is changing if I want a routine appointment?
Patients will be asked to call and leave their contact details on a voicemail between 9am and 10am Monday to Friday. We will then send you a text message which you will be able to reply to with details of your problem. Once we have received the text message a GP will review the details and decide on the best course of action. This may include issuing a prescription, arranging further investigations, arranging a telephone consultation or sending a booking link for a face to face appointment in the next 2 weeks.
What if I can’t receive a text message?
We are aware not all patients are able to receive text messages, if they advise us of this when they leave their voicemail we will arrange for a member of reception to contact them to get further details instead.
Why can I not just send a text to the surgery without leaving my details on a voicemail first?
Unfortunately it isn’t possible for a patient to send a secure text unless we send a text with a link first. We wanted a way for patients to tell us they want a routine appointment without having to go into a phone queue. We have successfully used a voicemail for script requests for a long time now and have decided we would set up another voicemail box for routine booking requests.
Why can I not just book an appointment with the GP without providing details?
Like all GP practices we are struggling to cope with patient demand for our services. The way General Practice works has had to change. The GP may not always be the most appropriate person to help. Sometimes the practice pharmacist or an Advanced Nurse practitioner may be more appropriate. Gathering details allows us to be more efficient by directing patients to the most appropriate care. This is turn allows us to help more patients.
Is this a permanent change?
We are planning to trial this for a month, if it is successful then we will continue with it. If it doesn’t work we will revert back to the previous way of working.