Further to the newsletter update regarding the telephone system; we have been getting an increasing number of issues being raised by patients about not being able to get through to the practice. We are also experiencing unprecedented demand for phone calls.
Staff have found it difficult to maintain the switchboard idea with one receptionist manning the phones and the other dealing with patients in the queue. None of us like to see a queue but we also know there is a queue of people waiting to get through on the phones.
The practice Partners have agreed to increase the hours of some of our current staff to provide additional cover for the phones; but also we now have an additional vacancy to cover the receptionist role. But we still need to recruit people.
Staff have been told they must keep one of the reception desks closed so they can focus on the telephone calls. Please do not embarrass them by removing the sign or leaning over the desk to get their attention. Our space is limited at the practice
I would also ask that when you are expecting a call back from the GP – be it morning or afternoon; that you keep your phone with you. Many of the lines are taken up by patients who have missed calls from the doctor and then ringing to complain to reception, which in itself is taking up another line.
I am aware that Ringmead is not unique with the issues we are facing with our phone systems and I would encourage you to register for online access. At approximately 7am every weekday telephone appointments are released with the chance for you to request your own call back from the GP (currently this is three weeks in advance but some will be on the day from Wednesday 25th Oct). Don’t forget though we are unable to guarantee a time the GP will call you back as there are many things that may take clinical priority when the GP comes into surgery that morning.
There are other opportunities available to you – including the local pharmacist, the minor illness clinic at Berkshire Primary Care Ltd every weekday evening and Saturday mornings. We are taking part in a local Urgent care initiative.
Thank you for your patience whilst we can this sorted out.
Dr Sachdev and the Partners at Ringmead Medical Practice
We have been getting an increasing number of issues with our phone system and we are working with our provider to provide a solution.
When you contact the surgery and make a selection; phone lines will ring across both sites as appropriate. For example, if you press 1 for an appointment then the extensions at Birch Hill and Great Hollands will ring.
We are trialing the use of a “switchboard” whereby only one receptionist is staffing the front desk—enabling the other staff to deal with the telephone calls during peak times. We ask that you check in using the appointment screen to relieve the pressure on the front desk.
You might think therefore that staff are not answering the phones when you come into the surgery but they are.
Also, we get an increasing number of patients ringing back as they missed calls they have booked with the GP. This has significantly increased demand on the phone system and we ask that you keep your phone on and voicemail off when you are requested a same day teleconsultation