Frequently Asked Questions ... 16 June 2015 ___________________________________________________________________________
The following Questions were raised at the last Patients' Open Meeting at the Practice on 16 June 2015 You can find the Minutes of the Meeting byclicking here ...
Why was the notice of this meeting received so late? NH explained that the meeting had been widely advertised, two weeks in advance, in a number of different media however he acknowledged that there had been some IT issues with the advertisement of the meeting. It was agreed that future meetings will also be advertised in the local newsagents.
When applying for online access why can a driving licence not be the only proof of identification? RF acknowledged that the current IT provider was asking for a lot of paperwork and this is something he is looking to simplify, since it is in the interest of the SHC for patients to be able to register easily to use online facilities.
Ian Robinson asked those present to indicate by a show of hands if support in using the online system would be helpful. The response confirmed that it would be.
How can prescriptions be sent to the pharmacy directly? I am unable to locate this on the web-site. F explained that this can be undertaken at your pharmacy of choice or at SHC and PH & BC both confirmed that there is guidance on the front page of the SHC website. This system has been in place for four months and already 3.5 thousand patients have registered to use it; however RF agreed to review the guidance to ensure that it is easier to use.
Why is VHC still here when the Practice needs space? The Practice rents 45% of the building and VHC rent the other 55%. VHC has the contract to deliver a number of services that the practice needs including Health Visitors, Midwives and the District Nurses. Retendering will take place in 2017 and therefore VHC may not be interested in potentially short term changes. RF explained that the distribution of rooms in SHC was very arbitrary and doesn’t make sense or promote efficiency for VHC or the practice; however a proposal for some changes has been agreed and is currently with the CCG(Clinical Commissioning Group).
Is there any prospect of a new building? Four applications have been made in the last two years for refurbishments, a feasibility study for a new site and short term environmental gains for patients and staff. Unfortunately funding is always an issue and a major stumbling block for developments. Last week DG & RF had a meeting arranged with NHS Property Services, but a representative failed to attend. RF & DG have received a lot of support from the local MP and councillors and now that the election is over they agreed it was time to re-establish these links!
Has any progress been made on reducing the time it takes to write a letter to other medical providers? A medical secretary has been engaged to provide additional capacity however it was acknowledged that the service is still not as quick as it needs to be. RF explained that internal structures are being reviewed and the Project Group are also looking at new systems to help alleviate the delay in sending out letters.
Is it not possible to employ free lance secretaries on short term contracts? RF responded that he is aware this is in place at another practice and he intended to investigate this further.
Why is it not possible to make an appointment for the next day at reception? Can all of the appointments be booked in advance online? DG acknowledged that the allocation of appointments is a challenge to get right but reiterated that 50% of the appointments are released on the day and 50% are bookable on line in advance. RF added that the appointments system is something the Project Team is considering. DG informed the meeting that 80% of the consultancies at SHC are to see a doctor, nationally this figure is 60% - therefore does everyone always need to see a doctor rather than another health care specialist? This is something patients do need to be encouraged to consider. DG added that there are only nine consultancy rooms and two nursing rooms which does limit capacity.
Is it possible to introduce the automated telephone service earlier in the day? There are 16 telephone lines but the volume of traffic can limit the availability.
Questions left after the meeting:
What is being done about the high number of patients who fail to turn up for their appointment? Patients that consistently fail to attend are written to outlining the negative impact this has on others
It was announced today that the age limit for cervical smears is to be extended. Will SHC be adopting this practice? SHC will be advised when any changes are formally introduced and will adopt these changes in due course once they have been communicated by NHS England.
Why can SHC not be open for seven days a week? Seven day opening is an issue being discussed nationally and there is extensive debate between the government and the medical professions about this issue. The government has indicated they wish to see this happen by 2020. The British Medical Association has pointed out the challenges this will present and questioned the demand for this from patients. The practice has no current plans to open seven days a week and hasn’t the funding, staff or resources. Any update to this issue will be discussed with the PPG.
How will Dr Chapman’s patients be redistributed and how we will know who our new doctor is? Dr Chapman will be continuing with the equivalent of one session a week and his patients will be taken over by one of the new doctors starting in August. SHC will update Dr Chapman’s patients in due course when the new doctors have started and Dr Chapman’s sessions reduce.
This comment was also left: “I have used this centre since 1959 and I only have praise for the service I have received!”