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GPs ordered to review appointment booking systems

GP practices in South Wales have been ordered to rethink their appointment booking systems as part of a major review of primary care services.

The Community Health Council, an independent regulator, made recommendations in its General Practice Monitoring report that will see all 67 practices in the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board area undertaking the review of telephone systems, triage arrangements and online/automated appointment booking procedures by 31 March 2015

They will also have to provide updates to the CHC on a bi-monthly basis and will be given six months to update their systems and make any changes, as well as informing patients of those changes.

This was a result of a survey of 80,000 patients and an inspection of the 67 practices in the region, which found that the majority of patients (74%) said they found booking appointments ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’, while 46.5% rated their experience of their GP practice as excellent and 46.3% rated it very good or good.

However, the board raised concerns about variations between practices, as 18.5% of patients said it was difficult and 7.3% ‘very difficult’ to book an appointment.

The chair of RCGP Wales, Dr Paul Myres, told Wales Online: ‘Appointment systems are difficult, if not impossible, to run in a perfect way as patients’ need for urgent or routine services does vary from day to day.

‘While satisfaction levels with general practice are very high, access is likely to get worse if NHS Wales does not address the issue of increasing workload on practices with diminishing capacity.’

Readers' comments (11)

  • 'GPs ordered to review appointment booking systems'

    I love it! we're all actually in the army and can be ordered to do things..either that or we are public slaves ...they can be 'ordered' too. I cant think of anyone else who gets to be 'ordered' to do anything..maybe you order food in restaurant...but i don't think thats the kind of 'ordered' implied here. Its soooo coool working in primary care these days...aint it?

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  • I really do not know what to say

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  • The DoH and its flunkeys have been trying this distraction for at least 15 years now. It's not the lack of GPs and the over-demand by the public stoked up by selfish politicians that is to blame, the entire fault is GP appointment systems and if only GP managers and staff would spend hours and hours reviewing and changing them, everything would work and magically there would be an appointment today for every patient at a time that suits them.

    I have heard this rubbish over and over again for at least 15 years since "Advanced Access" etc wasted everybody's time. it dodn't work then, it never worked since and it won't work now.

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  • Harry Longman

    They've done a survey - not my favourite way of finding things out, but never mind. They've reached conclusions, great. They've ordered that things must happen, not the way to win hearts and minds, but well intentioned. The question is, will this approach work to deal with the problem identified? Hmm. But it is a real problem and it does need to be addressed.

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  • I would want to know - is there any evidence that it is the appointment system that is at fault rather than the balance between demand and supply of GP time?

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  • we are slaves, be it to the government or to the public. Patients more often than in the past treat us as scum at times. Just had one, rude from moment came in, failed to accept there is a sign on the door to knock before entering (having been politely informed), had to be in the right to come up with an excuse for not knocking, and threw in a personal attack on me at the same time.
    Accept it, there is no respect in society for a profession because consumerism is the right to complain if one doesn't get their own way - well, let them treat themselves with potentially lethal medicines and see how they survive!

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  • Hazel Drury

    My attitude would be to say to he CHC "So what if I don't? Will I get the sack? Bearing in mind there's a chronic shortage of GPs in my area? (North Wales)."

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  • We tried all sort of appointments systems : open surgery , booked on the day booked 48 hours in advance none of them actually solved the core problem which is not enough appointments to meed the demand . until this address there is no hope let them order me few more months I planned my way out .

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  • Dear Community Health Council

    We have done an extensive review of the entire appointment system through all the practices and decided it is fine. We have decided we have an excellent system with three quarters of the public finding it easy to make an appointment and over 90% describing the overall experience as good or excellent.

    If you think you can provide a better access system for the same resources, please trial it in one of the practices run by a local area team and we will consider it. If the results show access and overall experience is considerably better than our surgeries we might consider adopting it.

    Yours with love and devotion,
    All the GP Partners in Wales.

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  • Medical Record System / Doctors Appointment System for clinic
    ==============================================================
    This application is built for Clinics. Every Clinic can maintain their doctors, patients and appointments record easily using this application.
    Applications is useful for Small and Big Clinics and Doctors.

    1. Record patient biography details.
    2. Record patient's blood levels, and other conditions.
    3. The Application will then suggest possible diagnosis. The doctor then selects the one that matches his/her own diagnosis (fever, hypertension, hypoglycemia, etc)
    4. The Application will then suggest treatments based on the records available in the database.
    5. Enter treatment details. Medicines and dosage instructions for patient.
    6. Appointment with doctors, Patient can schedule Next Appointment
    7. Appointment Cancellations.
    8. The Application dashboard will show a summary of things.
    8.1. Number of patients treated so far
    8.2. Upcoming appointments
    8.3. Overdue/missed appointments (call or email patient directly)
    8.4. Common Diagnoses ( Hypertension, Diabetes, etc)
    8.5. Last treated patient’s bio.
    8.6. Show a graph of the number of patient visits per day, week, month or year.

    9. Application is fully protected with UserName/Password

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