The way you contact the surgery is changing

 

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We are changing the way you access our services; this will enable us to continue to provide you with great patient care against a backdrop of ever-increasing demand. 

NHS data shows GP surgeries have delivered an extra 56.3 million appointments over the last year compared to 2018/19.
This increased demand can be seen at all GP surgeries including Sarum Health Group. With our triage appointments increasing from an average of 730 a week in 2022/23 to 890 a week in 2023/24, an increase of 21%. 

This level of growth put an increased strain on our teams and is unsustainable in the long term. Which is why we are acting now to ensure we can continue to provide you with the high levels of patient care you have come to expect from Sarum Health Group. We work tirelessly to ensure that we offer patients the best possible service, ensuring safe and effective healthcare that is accessible to all our patients in a timely and appropriate manner.

We our very proud of our GP patient survey results, these showed 98% of our patients were satisfied with the appointment they were offered when trying to make an appointment (The national average was 72%) and 81% of our patients describe their experience of making an appointment as good (The national average was 54%). 

 

What is changing?

Starting on the Wednesday the 17th of July we will be piloting SystmConnect for booking all triage appointments. SystmConnect is the new triage and online consultation platform that enables effective communication with our patients. You will be able to contact the surgery online to tell us all about your medical problem or ask an admin question.

Completing an SystmConnect online questionnaire allows us to quickly and safely decide on the best way to help you, a child, or an adult in your care. You will be able to access SystmConnect directly through your Online Services such as NHS App or from our website.

Please see this video for more information 

 

Our phones are busier than ever!

In May 2024 we answered a total of 6318 phone calls, up from 5859 in the same time last year. With an ever-increasing demand on our phone lines, our recipients are working under more pressure. Which is why we need to shift to using an online consultation platform for most of our triage requests. This will free up our receptionist time to deal with patient requests more appropriately. 

From the 3rd of July, patients will be directed to SystmConnect in the first instance for all triage requests. For those patients who do not have online assess, our receptionist will be asking more in-depth questions about your condition before adding you to our triage list. In doing so they ensure our triage team have all the information they need to provide the most appropriate treatment in the most appropriate time frame whilst trying to ensure that every patient receives some form of appointment when one is needed.

Our reception team face intense pressure every day and, unfortunately, too often take the brunt of patient frustration via aggression and abuse. We kindly ask that all our patients show them the respect they deserve. They are working tirelessly to ensure that all patients can access appointments and appropriate clinical support.

 

Self-care and Pharmacy First

In 2017, new guidance was introduced so that medicines that are readily available over the counter - including pain relief and hay fever medications - are no longer routinely prescribed. Where appropriate we will continue to direct patients to a Pharmacy for the treatment of minor ailments. This will now also include requesting some of our patients are seen by the new Pharmacy First Scheme, where at a local pharmacy patients can be assessed and provided with antibiotics or treatment if needed, for the following ailments: non complicated urine infections, shingles, impetigo, acute sore throat, acute sinusitis, acute earache and infected insect bites and stings.

 

Medication requests

From Wednesday the 17th of July we will no longer accept telephone requests for medication. Unless you are registered as handbound. The easiest way to request a repeat prescription will be via the NHS app or through SystmConnect on our website. More information about the NHS app can be found here.

 

Summary

  • From Wednesday the 17th of July SystmConnect will be the main way to access triage and routine appointment booking
  • From Wednesday the 17th of July we will no longer accept medication request on the phone
  • We will continue to invest in more GPs, nurses, and staff to help with our increasing list size and patient demand, to enable to continue to deliver the high-quality patient care you expect from Sarum Health Group.

Published: Jul 9, 2024