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Advanced access works for us and our patients

We have been offering advanced access in Southampton for two years. Patients are able to book an appointment on the day they phone, or on the next day, with the exception of Fridays when all patients needing to be seen are fitted in. Bookings in advance of 48 hours are made in exceptional circumstances where medical or social need dictates.

This model of advanced access has nothing to do with 'intense Government pressure' to hit the 48-hour access target (News report, July 7) but everything to do with the introducing of a system to suit our practice population and reduce the 30-40 appointments lost to DNAs each week prior to advanced access.

The new appointment system has been welcomed by staff and patients alike. In a recent survey of patient opinion, 93 per cent were satisfied with the system, 95 per cent felt they were able to see their own doctor and 89 per cent felt they were usually able to be seen on the day of their choice.

The number of appointments lost to DNAs each week currently runs at about 10-12.

We accept that advance access does not necessarily imply the restriction of advanced booking, but each practice will need to introduce a model that is suitable for its practice population and our system seems to work well for our patients.

We certainly do not feel we are trying to fiddle our figures or behaving perversely.

Dr Patrick Terry

Southampton

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