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How we've made triage a success in our practice

We started a nurse triage system just over two years ago when our list size had increased.

Initially it reduced the need for urgent GP appointments, helped reception staff immensely and reduced the number of unnecessary same-day appointments.

It did not result in an increased reattendance rate for those patients seen only by the nurse.

A survey revealed a good level of patient and staff satisfaction with the service. Patients were dealt with promptly and seen by the most appropriate person if required.

Unfortunately, our nurse found it increasingly difficult to cope with triage among a routine list so there are now two mornings when she does triage solely from 09.30 to 12.30, and on the other three mornings a doctor does a short triage session prior to starting surgery. This is working very well.

The doctors are more used to, and therefore more effective at, triaging to advice only, whereas the nurse will see more patients in surgery herself on the mornings when she does triage.

Our nurse has not been on a triage course because there are no suitable local courses. She was already very experienced and I provided additional protocols for common problems. She refers to a GP whenever she needs to and for signing of scripts.

We feel this system works well for us.

Dr Fran Dore-Green

Tewkesbury

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