Patient Access Improvement Plan – a letter from the Practice Manager

Dear Patients,

As you are no doubt aware, general practice (which means your local GP surgery) and the whole NHS is under extreme pressure.  This affects everyone: patients, practice staff, doctors and nurses. For patients, it can be extremely hard to get an appointment, or even to get through to us on the telephone. For doctors, nurses and other practice staff, it means working increasingly harder and harder to try to provide a good service, yet being fully aware that we cannot make all of our patients happy all the time.

We understand this, and are committed to trying everything we can to improve access for our patients to the services they require. We have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, several changes to try to improve our service. These changes have been made after full discussion with our Patient Participation Group (the wonderful Leacroft Support Group), and in response to patient feedback given via our annual survey, verbally, in emails or by letter.

Changes to our appointment booking system

In response to patient concerns about the inconvenience of calling at 2pm when already at work or otherwise busy, from Monday July 2nd, we will be making some small changes to our appointment system.
The major change is that we will no longer run two separate sessions at 8am and 2pm, for same day urgent requests. All same day urgent requests, whether for morning or afternoon appointments, will now be accepted from 8am.

PLEASE NOTE: This means we will no longer be releasing appointments at 2pm. Please do not call or come to the practice at 2pm for a same day appointment.

Please also note that we will run out of appointments early in the morning – often by 8.15 or even earlier. We are extremely sorry about this, but we do not have the capacity to meet the current levels of demand.
To help us, please only call at 8am when you have an urgent medical need to see a doctor on the same day. All same day appointment requests will still be triaged,
which means you will receive a call back from one of our trained clinical triage team who will assess each request so we can see those most in need first.
If you need urgent medical care and we are fully booked, please use the Urgent Care Centre at Crawley Hospital. They are open 24/7 and provide a walk-in service for sick or injured patients who cannot wait to be seen until the following day.

Changes to our telephone system

We understand the frustration of not being able to get through to us when you need to most. We are investing in a new, smarter telephone system that will allow us to manage call demand better.
It will be able to give callers more information about the length of the wait facing them, and also about alternative ways to ask us your question. This will be implemented soon.

Changes to our website

We have recently introduced a new website. This gives patients the ability to submit almost any routine requests online without signing up or registering for the service.
If you are an existing patient, you can request repeat medication, Med 3s (also called fit notes or sick certificates), blood test results or copies of letters; you can ask a doctor or nurse a question,
request a routine appointment, chase up your referral, find advice about local support services, and many other things beside. Please take advantage of this! Our website is open and available to take requests 24/7, 365 days a year.
You do not have to queue on the telephone to submit your request, and we will respond within 48 working hours.

The partners and staff at Leacroft Medical Practice sincerely hope that these changes will help improve our service.
We will continue to try to improve what we do and investigate new ways to increase the availability of our services to our patients.
We are a caring organisation, and want to do the best we can at what is an extremely difficult time for the entire National Health Service.
We ask for your patience and understanding as we evolve and adapt to face the challenges now, and the challenges ahead.

Yours faithfully,

Matthew Cullis
Practice Manager
On behalf of all the partners and staff at Leacroft Medical Practice