Frequently Asked Questions ... 06 February 2015 ___________________________________________________________________________
The following Questions were raised at the last Patients' Open Meeting at the Practice on 06 February 2015. You can find the Minutes of the Meeting byclicking here ...
Is there a place for volunteers? They recognise the need for confidentiality but many patients have administrative skills they would like to use to support the Practice. Could patients help answer the phones, triage the queue to separate those wishing to make a routine appointment/ renew a prescription from those who need to see a doctor that day or make tea rather than doctors having to break from their surgery to do this? Maybe this is something that a member(s) of the PPG could lead on? This is an interesting idea and the PPG will be discussing this further at their next Core Meeting on 10th March 2015.
Why is the reception closed between 1 and 2 pm, since this is a key time for those people at work to try and contact SHC? Whilst reception isn’t open for patients to enquire or make appointment bookings at the reception desks it isn’t physically closed. It is open for phone calls and enquiries and a number of important tasks are carried out during this time. For example, following up GP’s instructions to make telephone calls to patients to book follow up appointments, to follow up with hospitals regarding test result, sending letters, processing new patient registrations. It is also a shift change and handover for our part-time team and staggered lunch breaks for those team members working full time.
A review of this time period and activities will be part of the analysis carried out by the Primary Care Foundation who are due to visit again to discuss their findings in the last week of February.
How are the funds you are bidding for intended to be used? What are the timescales? A short term improvement grant to make immediate improvements to SHC and a grant to undertake a feasibility study about the possible relocation to a different building in the local area. The outcome to the short improvement grant should be known in April/May. The funds for the feasibility study are in the hands of NHS properties who are responsible for their own deadlines! DG reminded the meeting that it will take two/three years for the outcomes of the feasibility study to be realised.
Are all those people who queue very early morning in real need? Some yes, but patients and doctors may have different opinions about the definition of ‘real need’. DG did add that some people queuing on the day are doing so to make non-urgent, routine appointments that could be made on line and thereby release appointments for people who really need to see a doctor that day.
What is a reasonable amount of time to wait before contacting SHC? Two weeks.
How do you know if a letter has been sent to the hospital? You can phone reception and find out.
Is it possible to have a 24 hour turnaround? No there are too many requests to achieve this.
Why does it take two weeks for a letter to be written by the Health Centre to other health professionals? RF agreed that this was not a satisfactory timescale; he explained that administrative systems were being reviewed and internal timescales were now being set to improve response rates. RF confirmed that the timescale for writing a letter is now one week.
Did the plans for the London Irish Rugby Club not include a health centre? PT clarified that the original plan (that was refused planning permission) was only to provide land for a health centre, not to build a health centre. The revised plan had a reduction in the number of houses and the land for a health centre was removed.
From April 2015 all doctors’ surgeries will be star rated. Is it a possibility that the current poor state of the building, which does not reflect the quality of the service, might impact on the outcome? The Practice is already star rated, the scenario described did happen and SHC received a low rating. The rating was unsuccessfully challenged by SHC and therefore it remains. RF clarified that the rating was to prioritise the next CQC inspection timetable and the Practice rating places us in the first group of Practices to be visited. It isn’t a rating of our services, the last rating of our services earlier this year resulted in us passing on all indicators. The Practice is confident that when SHC is revisited they will see a lot of good things and evidence of how the practice is striving to improve all aspects of its provision.
I praise the online booking system; can we make this more widely known and thereby get more people using it? We are currently undertaking a lot of exploration about the use of technology; we want to ensure as many access points as possible. Over 50% of elderly patients have access to a computer – but there are still many who don’t. Within the next few months we will be moving to an online prescription service that will automatically send prescriptions to your local pharmacy.
Are you advised of new housing being built in the area? No.
Since the highest amount of appointments that patients failed to attend were those booked on line is it not possible to release more at 2pm on the day before? It is hoped that The Primary Care Foundation will be able to provide advice once their review is complete. RF added that he is currently reviewing the use of technology within the appointments system. In particular he is investigating how to enable patients to cancel appointments more easily given the issues with the telephone system.
A number of comments were then made about a new building: ·There is no bus if you need to go to The Adult Learning Centre. ·Has the ex-Social Services building in Vicarage Road been considered? That is on a bus route! ·At a recent meeting patients did ask members of the Council if they would purchase the building (in Vicarage Road) on behalf of the community to help provide another health centre north of SHC. The feasibility study will consider other buildings within the area.
Is there anything that can be done to reduce the ‘shameful’ number of patients who fail to attend their appointment? It is a challenge! It is the appointments booked online that have the greatest number of ‘non-attenders’.
What is the equivalent full time equivalent of the eleven doctors currently working at SHC? 6.9. (NB this does not take into account the services provided by the other health care providers at SHC).
Considering limitations of available premises, would two smaller centres be preferable to one larger centre? Yes that could be an option. However there are advantages to having all practitioners in the same building, who can easily share expertise and two centres may unwittingly lead to duplication of services. The forthcoming feasibility study should provide the answer to such questions.
How does the number of patients per doctor at SHC compare to the national average? It is in line with the national average.