Patient Notice: New Appointment System from 4th January 2022

Alert: New Appointment System

At Ailsa Craig Medical Practice, we strive to offer a high-quality service for people of Longsight, with patient centered care and up to date medical knowledge at the core of our principles.

We have listened to your feedback and there are two common themes:

  • It is difficult to get through to us on the telephone
  • The wait for a routine appointment is very long.

I would like to reassure you all that we are working our hardest to resolve these issues so we can provide the high level of care that we strive for.

The past 18 months have been challenging for the entire nation and Ailsa Craig Medical Practice is no exception. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to provide care for patients as well as taking a leading role in vaccinating the local community. Unfortunately, increased demand has caused the waiting times for routine appointments to be much longer than we want for our patients. This is despite offering 20% more appointments than we were 2 years ago prior to the pandemic.

It is time to make some changes that will improve the access to our service for those who need it most.

  • We are continuing to recruit extra clinicians and extra administrative staff so we can increase the number of people answering the telephone and offer even more appointments.
  • Over the past 18 months, we have recruited a practice-based pharmacist, a first contact physiotherapist, a nurse associate, a focused care navigator, a new practice nurse and 2 new GPs and I hope some of you have experienced the excellent service they have been providing.

Most importantly, from 4th January 2022, we will be introducing a new appointment system where we will aim to deal with most of your problems the same day. This will mean not having to wait weeks to see your GP. We will be running morning and afternoon sessions Monday to Friday with appointments available to patients who request an appointment during that session. You can continue to request an appointment in the usual way by ringing the practice or by filling in an online form. Our administration team are undergoing training so they will be able to collect information from you in order to deal with your request in the best way possible.

What do we ask for from you?

  • Please ring on the day that you wish to be seen. For morning appointments, contact between 08.00-1030 and for afternoon appointments between 13.00-15.30. Most of the day’s appointments will be available to book in the morning. We recommend that you ring in the morning to avoid disappointment. Please try not to ring on a day if you are not available to be seen that same day. This will keep phone lines free at our busiest times for those patients who need to be dealt with on that day.
  • If you are house bound (do not leave the house) and feel that you need to see a GP, please make your request before 10am. All visit requests will be triaged by a clinician.
  • The more information you can give to our administrative team, the easier it will be for them to help. They have received extensive training in how to help deal with your requests.
  • If you can use the internet, please use our practice website to request an appointment. These appointment requests will be dealt with in the same way by our admin team and they may contact you to gather more information if needed. By doing this, it will keep the phonelines free for those patients who cannot use the internet and reduce waiting times.
  • Our administrative team may offer an alternative solution to your problem which we want you to accept. Not everybody needs to see a GP and a referral into a different service, or another member of our team may be recommended. We understand that some of these options may be less familiar to you, but the team have received training to understand who has the best skills to help you.
  • If you are ringing in for results, chasing referrals and other non-urgent requests, please ring between 11.00-13.00 when we should be less busy. We will not be booking appointments at those times. We need to keep the lines available in the morning for those patients who are unwell.
  • As always, think twice before you contact us. Is there another service who can help with your problem and have you tried self-care measures? You can also use the practice website for advice about minor medical problems, requesting medication, requesting sick notes and requesting results.

Finally, we kindly ask that you are patient with us at this challenging time. We understand how frustrating it can be when you cannot get through to us or when you do not get the outcome that you wanted, but I can assure you we are working hard to improve things.

A change of policy can be difficult and there may be some bumps along the way, but we expect that this will improve the level of care we can provide moving forward.

We operate a “zero tolerance policy” and raised voices, abusive language, swearing and threats will not be tolerated. As always, we encourage your feedback, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Many thanks,

Ailsa Craig Medical Practice