Consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic
We ran a survey for patients regarding how we are consulting during the pandemic and getting patient views on their experiences
In November and December 2020 the practice sent emails to patients who had requested an appointment. The number of surveys sent out was 718 and the number of responses was 97 (13% of the total). The practice offered many more appointments during the period but some patients do not have email addresses recorded on their medical record and we did not send multiple surveys to the same email address.
The age range of respondents is reflective of the age distribution of the practice in general.
60% of people wanted to speak to someone on the phone while 29% hoped to be seen in person. Once contacted, 46% of the issues were dealt with in the first call and 29% were asked to come into the surgery. 7% were referred elsewhere and 15% needed to have some tests done before they could be treated.
91% of respondents are satisfied by their treatment which is very pleasing during the current circumstances. 2% were neutral. We have analysed the 4% (4 patients) who were dissatisfied and found one was caused due to missing the calls of the GP, one was because they wanted the flu jab before the practice had been allocated and two patients were concerned about the number of people waiting for phlebotomy with no social distancing (an issue we have raised with the building managers). We do not run the phlebotomy service but its closeness to our practice means that it needs to be well managed. After our complaint the service put in more control mechanisms to prevent overcrowding.
We asked for suggestions for improvement. Thanks for the many messages of support for the way we are working. We have had many suggestions to keep the current system of a GP calling before any appointments are given (we will keep this under review).
Here are a few comments regarding suggestions made:
- Allow patients to pre-book appointments. We were directed to remove patient self-booking to ensure that all requests for appointments were screened to ensure the patient did not have COVID symptoms. We need to check on the day of booking that the patient is symptom free-advance booking would not work with this.
- Do more video consultation. We would like to do this but we do have some constraints caused by the patchy phone signals in the area.
- Patients wanting to be seen in person. The clinicians will determine the best way to deal with an issue safely. They will bring someone into the surgery if there is an absolute need to see them in person.
- The phone lines are busy and we are sorry. This has been partially caused by having to suspend the facility for on-line booking as advised by NHS England. We are having to deal with many more calls with a fixed number of staff and some pretty large space restrictions. Many lines are taken up by clinicians calling out. We appreciate your patience and as soon as we are allowed, we will restore more on-line booking but for now this is a safety measure to ensure anyone with COVID doesn’t come into the surgery.
- If you miss a call from a clinician, they do try to ring back (our policy is to try again). Unless there is a personalised message on your phone giving your name, we can’t leave a message as we can’t be sure of your identity. Your confidentiality is very important to us.
Published: Feb 17, 2021