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CAMHS won't see you now

Keeping on top of access problems

Dr Shabbir Ahmad's practice has progressively amended its advanced access appointments system in order to solve the problems raised by the Commission for Health Improvement.

For a month before it set up the system in July 2002 the practice, which has a list size of 6,500, hired a locum to clear the backlog of appointments.

It then set up a process to constantly monitor demand. This showed Tuesday was the busiest day ­ so GPs avoid all other work that day ­ and mornings were the best time to run slots for advance bookings. A quarter of the available appointments can be prebooked.

The practice has also introduced a duty doctor system, where the two-and-a-half partners, on a rota basis, are available for same-day appointments. The duty doctor also deals with some calls by phone.

Dr Ahmad said: 'Patients couldn't believe it when they could see someone the same day. It's important we can offer the chance to book in advance as well.'

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