Our number one project that we have been planning for in 2017 is to Improve Patient Access. This has been ramping up since the start of 2018 after many months of planning, recruitment and the last few weeks of training phase two of new recruits. This does not just include increase of staff on the phone lines but also changes to admin roles and job titles in some cases:
- We realised we didn’t have enough staff able to cover when Patient Services staff are ill, sometimes we also short when staff were on holiday or combination of a number of staff on holiday and then one or more staff call in sick.
- We knew with NHS cuts we had to be strategic and careful in how we covered the cost of solving patient access. This continues to be an issue as we implement our changes and plan for how we will solve the problem long term and gain consistence in that it is solved everyday no matter what happens.
- We realised on the current staffing plan even when we had all staff in, the call wait times first thing in the morning and sometimes late afternoon were to long.
- We identified Patient Services staff needed more training on how to book in with what clinician for what condition.
- We have created a new admin role called “Medical Assistant” to work along side clinical team to support GP workload and act much like a PA in many cases.
- We identified the need to train more non clinical staff to answering the phone so that this can be done first thing when many other tasks are not time specific.
- We identified that sometimes it will be better to call a patient to book an appointment and not send a letter asking patients to call us. This is an area that has started and will be increased!
- We identified that we need to keep up with technical changes including text messages for appointments, but also as a general communication tool texts would be beneficial and cost effective.
- We are also reviewing the messages that are on phone system and the type of music that is played. We are looking to add personal messages by the Partnership and are reviewing the options for music.
- 3 more phone lines are being added to the system hopefully these will be in place this week or next. We hope that the snow disruption last week will not delay these going live, we will keep adjusting and adding lines till we get it right for you.
Business and Finance Manager