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Final Report on Patient Reference Survey 2014


 Introduction  

 

The full compile of the results and statistics from the survey, along with the action plan as outlined below can be seen in the PDF that this information is taken from, this can be downloaded from the Documents & Downloads section of this website.

 

 The Actions & Outcomes from the Previous Survey  

 

The action plan and the outcomes of the action plan from the survey of 2012-13 are reviewed below:

 

 1: The Telephone System Top 

 

The difficulty in getting through on the telephone and the inadequacies perceived in the current phone system were by far the most commented on aspect of the survey and stood out in the overall comments section.

  • The Practice will therefore investigate ways to improve the current system. This may mean:
  • New underlying technology
  • A review of how the system is used e.g. peak times.
  • A meeting to brainstorm other ideas to help ease congestion or improve the patient experience.

 Outcomes: 

  • The Practice investigated the possibility of upgrading the current telephone system (either the software and/or hardware). Our system supplier informed us that the system had no ‘upgrade’ pathways. The only way forward would be to update the system as a whole. A new system may offer many benefits that the current one cannot:
  • Better queue handling; this would mean more people would be able to queue instead of getting an engaged tone at peak times. There would be feedback to reception so they would be aware of the number of people waiting. A new system would also be able to feedback to patients and inform them of where they were in a queue. 
  • The possibility of making appointments automatically, We had a demonstration of a system that could allow patients to book appointments via the phone, 24 hours a day using an automated service. 
  • Better menu management, voicemail options and voice recording. These would help streamline and make current services more efficient. 
  • We looked at the possibility of a call centre (run by the local out of hours service) taking calls at peak times. 
  • We reworded and streamlined the recorded messages. 
  • Four companies were approached to provide quotes on an update strategy for the phone system. 

Unfortunately two obstacles have prevented the Practice from completely upgrading the phone system during 2013:

 

Cost - the system is complex and costly no matter how we decide to upgrade.

 

Shared service - the phone system in place at the moment serves the whole building, not just the GP Practice. It has not been possible to meet agreement with the head(s) of other departments to discuss possible upgrades. To fully proceed we would need to agree for other departments to either, move to a new system with us (and find funding for this) or agree to take over the running of the current system if we move alone.

 

Investigating ways to improve the phone system will remain an action point for 2014-15

 

 2: Continuity of Care Top 

Carrying on from last year, the practice will look at ways to improve this aspect of the patient experience.

Outcomes

This is a large scale task that will not see immediate and wide scale change. The practice has started to prioritise smaller groups of patients to ensure that they have a ‘named GP (or two)’ that are responsible for their care.

 

The two groups that the Practice have been working to achieve this with, for 2013, are end of life or palliative patients and those identified as frail and vulnerable.

 

Work will continue on this project.

 

 3: Speaking to a GP on the Phone Top 

There will be discussion and if necessary changes implemented to help improve and standardise this option for patients

Outcome

Patients can now specify a preference for an am or pm telephone call. It is still not possible to offer an exact time as GPs carry out their phone calls outside of a normal surgery’s’ hours and their variable workload for that day means they cannot guarantee their availability at a specific time.

It was agreed that a free-text comment of any conditions specified by a patient (e.g. “after 3pm would be better”) can be added to the appointment slot so that the GP is aware.

 

 4: Public transport to the Practice Top 

Ways to improve the bus service to the Practice will be investigated

Outcomes

This was discussed at several PPG meetings and the PPG have been liaising with the local council to try to find ways to improve the local bus link to the Practice. However little progress has been made as the council is in the middle of a savings exercise and a local review of public transport was also delayed due to redundancies.

 

This remains on the PPG agenda.

 

 5: Opening Hours Top 

 

At present the doctors do not plan to extend current Practice opening hours, but it will be kept as

a discussion point for future meetings.

 

 6: Reception Staff Top 

 

Ways to improve how reception and the public interact will be investigated.

Outcomes

All reception staff now use an adopted ‘script’ that is similar to the one used in the local Out of Hours service. If a patient calls for an on the day emergency appointment (i.e. via Triage) the receptionist should make it clear they are not a medical professional before asking for some basic symptoms/details to identify who is the best person for the patient to see.

 

There is a protocol that also guides the receptionists on this.

 

Customer care training was also offered to all reception staff during the compulsory half day training sessions that the Practice participates in every few months.

 

 7: Frequently Asked Questions Top 

 

Answers to commonly raised questions will be published on the website and perhaps in leaflet form - the questions will be based on the comments raised by patients in the survey and from a workshop meeting with the Patient Group, later in the year.

 

Patients’ questions and answers

At a PPG meeting there was some discussion about publicizing specific questions and answers.  Suggestions included: 

  • Asking patients for their questions at the flu clinics
  • Putting frequently asked questions (FAQs), and the answers, on the Patient Group notice board at regular intervals
  • Publishing FAQs and answers in the local press

A full list of questions is still being compiled and will take into account any further ones raised from the comments of this year’s survey.

 

Outcome & Action Plan 2014

 

The survey has indicated that there has been an improvement in some important areas. Including:

  • Access via the telephone
  • Seeing a GP within 2 working days
  • Seeing a nurse
  • More positive comments overall than previous years.

The PPG & Practice met on 6th March 2014 to discuss the results and the minutes from this meeting are summarised below. Further updates will be made to this document and online as various aspects of the action plan are carried out or discussed in more detail. Updates and achievements will be published throughout the coming year.

Getting through on the phone

There has been a steady improvement in telephone access over the last three years. 

Action: 

  • Group to discuss further improvements to phone service.
  • Possible training sessions for patients in how to use on-line services.   

Opening Hours

The system involving doctors doing triage and nurses dealing with minor injuries is working well.   Patients are still asking for extended hours, especially at weekends.

Di asked what the Practice’s contracted hours were; Dr Richards said they were from 8.30 – 6.00 with cover from Shropdoc from 8.00-8.30 am and from 6.00-6.30 pm.

Action:  Dr Richards to discuss extended opening options again with partners.

Getting appointments in advance

Currently appointments can be booked up to 3-4 weeks in advance.  This poses problems if doctors ask patients to book another appointment but none are available far enough ahead.

Dr Richards said that booking too far ahead would result in appointments being cancelled because of changes to doctors’ schedules, but the booking period could be extended slightly.  Doctors booking their own appointments did cut down the number of transactions involved.

Action:  Dr Richards to explore extending the booking period.

Specialist doctors and nurses

Di asked if the special interests of the doctors could be publicized more widely.    Michele commented that reconstructing the nursing teams had resulted in specialist nurses having more time freed up.

Dr Richards asked about putting nurse appointments on-line.  Joe said that the problem was the differences in length of appointments, but clinic appointments might be appropriate. 

Action: 

  • Role of specialists to be discussed further.
  • On-line bookings system to be reviewed.

Getting to the Practice

Several patients had asked for improved bus access to the practice, and a number had complained about the footpath from Maer Lane being closed.  Ann mentioned that there was no dropped curb in Maer Lane for patients approaching from the direction of the closed footpath. 

Action: 

  • Bus service re-routing to be flagged in the survey report; copies will go to Town Council and the Community Plan group. 
  • Reasons for footpath remaining closed will also be explained in the report.
  • Request for a dropped curb to be taken to the council. 

Car Park

Several patients had commented on safety issues with the car park.  Michele pointed out that changing the number of parking spaces had complex implications for rent etc. Roy asked if car park safety had been addressed in a risk assessment.

Action: Michele to check the position in the most recent risk assessment.

Action: Everyone to read through the comments made in the survey to see if there are any key points that were missed in our discussion today.

Touch-screen booking-in system

Ann highlighted recent problems with the machine.  Joe said a recent software upgrade had improved the functioning but it was still slightly unreliable.

 

Action: 

  • Patient group to consider helping with training patients how to use the touch-screen.
  • Practice IT as a whole to be reviewed.

Action Plan summary

  • Group to discuss further improvements to phone service.
  • Possible training sessions for patients in how to use on-line services.
  • Continue to investigate a phone system upgrade/update
  • Dr Richards to discuss extended opening options again with partners.
  • Dr Richards to explore extending the booking period.
  • Role of specialists to be discussed further.
  • On-line bookings system to be reviewed.
  • Bus service re-routing to be flagged in the survey report; copies will go to Town Council and the Community Plan group. 
  • Reasons for footpath remaining closed will be explained.
  • Request for a dropped curb to be taken to the council.
  • Action: Everyone to read through the comments made in the survey to see if there are any key points that were missed in our discussion today.
  • Patient group to consider helping with training patients how to use the touch-screen.
  • Practice IT as a whole to be reviewed. 
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