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Appointment Booking Update May 2024

You will be aware from the media and other sources that the NHS is facing unprecedented demand for services across all areas. Primary Care is no different. As we have come out of the COVID pandemic, we have constantly reviewed our overall service provision for our (Ladywell West) 10,800 patients. This included an upgrade to our telephone systems in an attempt to meet the incoming telephone call demand (which on days can see in excess of 300 telephone calls). We face a continued challenge in meeting both expectation and demand. The current on the day booking system was implemented in response to unsafe levels of demand on the duty doctor and in response to increasingly negative feedback from the drop in clinic.

From Tuesday 7 May, the practice will be re-introducing a system whereby a small number of pre-bookable appointments will be available. These will be for face to face appointments and are subject to availability

To put the pressures in to context;

On a particular Monday in March, we had in excess of 50 routine appointments available for patients to book allowing them to be seen in a routine appointment on the day. These routine (non emergency) appointments are available for booking from 08.00 on any given day. Due to the demand on the service, these appointments are generally taken within a short space of time. In addition to this, we also had 2 emergency doctors on call who dealt with 45 patient contacts up to lunchtime. There was an emergency doctor assigned for the afternoon who picked up the incoming emergency presentations from 13.00. In addition to the GP work highlighted, the Doctors were also dealing with scheduled telephone call reviews and follow ups, incidents reported to the surgery from the Out of Hours Service, administration and mentoring duties. Due to staff absence in the nursing team, we had 34 nurse / phlebotomy pre booked appointments for patients. The number of nurse / phlebotomy procedures, on average would ordinarily be in excess of 50 when we have full staffing. I trust that this demonstrates the volume of patients we are dealing with on a daily basis.