You may have noticed some changes at the surgery recently when asking for an appointment with a GP. A recent study by the NHS Alliance found that across the country 27% of GP appointments could potentially be seen more quickly by other healthcare professionals or simply that patients didn’t actually need an appointment. As part of the General Practice Forward View the Government training is being offered to General Practice in active signposting for receptionists. Many surgeries are introducing these changes as their clinical teams expand. Patients are not always aware that their medical condition could be dealt with by another healthcare professional or their query could be dealt with by someone else.
What has changed?
The receptionists will sensitively ascertain the nature of the patient’s need. Not all medical conditions require being seen by the doctor, so by making sure the patient is seen promptly and by the correct clinical staff has huge benefits to the patient’s health but also to the system as a whole. Those needing to see a clinician are booked an appointment with the most appropriate person within the practice such as a GP, Practice Nurse, Physio, Chronic Disease Nurse, Healthcare Assistant or Phlebotomist.
By asking for a brief idea of why you need to be seen the receptionist can explore safe and appropriate options to see if another member of the team is more suitable. It is possible that you don’t actually need to be seen by a GP. It also helps the clinician prepare for your consultation if they know why you are attending
Benefits for practices: Currently, a lot of a GP’s time can be taken up by seeing patients with conditions that do not warrant an appointment with a doctor and which could be dealt with by an alternative healthcare professional. This would then free up an appointment with a GP for a patient who really needs it.
Benefits for patients: This new initiative gives patients more control over their own care because it offers them the choice of a service that better suits their health and wellbeing needs. Active Signposting also improves access for patients who do need to see a GP, as patients who do not necessarily need to see a GP are directed to a more appropriate service. It also means that it is easier for patients to get an appointment with the GP when they need it.
Thank you for helping us to book you in with the right person. If you do not wish to tell the receptionist why you are attending then that is okay too, just let them know.