Although not all comments were nice to read and several made us look carefully at the services we provide, there were a lot of nice comments, too.
We never shy away from constructive criticism. We received one criticism that clearly wasn’t supposed to reach us. This appeared to be directed towards our neighbours in Grimethorpe. It stated how the patient had tried repeatedly to get through to the surgery (not us, but it could easily have been). The daughter then phoned Shafton (this was the giveaway as we don’t have a branch in Shafton) to get through.
We will continue to do our best to improve our services the best way we can, and receiving constructive criticism and comments from grateful patients helps motivate us to do so.
Although we are fully aware we will never be able to reach perfection, this does not stop us from striving to reach it.
We would love to share a few of the comments we received from grateful patients (the majority of the complaints related to the problem with access via the phone and we will make changes that will hopefully improve this very soon). These comments really lift our spirits which our receptionists are in desperate need of following the complaints and abuse they encounter on a daily basis.
And if you believe these comments are far too rosy, here are a few of the ones that made us think about what we are doing wrong and how we could improve:
- It’s always difficult trying to get an appointment
- The only problem I had was actually getting through to the surgery by phone, I called Cudworth surgery which was constantly engaged, after 45 minutes Grimethorpe surgery answered my call. They explained they were helping out and arranged an appointment within the advanced nurse practitioner for the same morning. I was very satisfied with the lady who answered the call and the nurse, both were very professional.
- A call waiting system would be helpful letting you know how many in queue in front of you when you need to telephone surgery (we’re working on this)
- Absolutely impossible to get an appointment for a doctor. I work every day, I try to call on my way to work but I usually have to give up by 8.45 and 100 tries as I have to go to work. You should have carried on with the Internet triage system you had during covid but I guess too many patients were actually able to get in touch with a GP. I have been suffering with my condition for over a year now as I just cannot get an appointment and it is soul destroying calling every morning, at least I know its not too serious as I haven’t dropped dead….Others might not be so lucky. Why don’t you even have a call queue system like other GPs have? (we’re working on a queue system. However, the online triage via DoctorLink was not suitable for the majority of our patients. This stopped, but we do have AccuRx for non-urgent medical and administrative queries)
- Booking a GP appointment is nearly impossible. Managed to get one after 200 (!!!!) calls at 8am. App never works. It really shouldn’t be that difficult! (Hopefully, the queue system will help once it’s live. However, we will still only have limited appointments)
- Can’t get a appointment when you phone at 8.00 am. Constantly engaged can take a hour to get through then they are all gone. (We hope the queuing system will help, but we still won’t have any more appointments available than we currently have. We are limited with the number of clinicians and rooms available)
- Difficult to get through on the phone as busy tone for many attempts before finally getting to make contact (Indeed, our phone access remains a problem, and we are making changes in the hope this will bring improvements)
- Extremely hard to get through and after hundreds of times and if you actually get through their is nothing available. I think a triage system a call list would work better and being put in a que for the phone would also help. (We are working on a queuing system on the phone lines, but triage is not something the doctors feel confident about. We are, however, providing our receptionists with further training to help them gain confidence in care navigation and active signposting. This is also the reason they will ask for a brief description of your problem. Only then can they help you gain an appointment with the person most suitable to help with that problem.)
- Finding it very difficult to get through on the phone I wish you would put a queue system to make it fair as most of the time all the appointments have gone when you eventually get through (We’re working on the queuing system)
- Getting through on the phone a nightmare, but once through OK. That is providing they have appointments left that day. I don’t know how difficult this system is for an elderly or disabled patient. What happened to online appointments? And why can’t you book a forward appointment if your reason for wanting to see a doctor is none urgent? When I last tried to make a forward appointment I was simply told there aren’t any and I’d have to ring up in the morning, surely that blocks up the system for patients who really do need an urgent appointment. (We are putting a queuing system in place soon. Although we have prebookable appointments available, they are limited to allow sufficient same-day appointments. Online appointments are available and become available staggered throughout the day)
- I don’t call the doctor’s anymore as there is no point. Never any appointments, I work full time so it’s not easy to call 300 times or more to be told they have no appointments left and the receptionist’s are quite rude too. People are being turned away with potentially harmful illnesses. (Although appointments are a limited resource, we hope we don’t have to turn away too many patients. In all those circumstances, patients should receive advice where and how they can find the support they need – NHS111, i-Heart – or be offered a referral to the community pharmacist consultation scheme. We hope our receptionists are never rude and we can’t say we’ve overheard them being rude)
Indeed, there have been negative comments, too. The majority relating to the difficulty our patients experience when trying to access us by telephone. We are working on this problem and are hopeful the addition of a queuing system on the phone lines will help.
You can also use AccuRx Triage if you have a non-urgent medical query, or an administrative question (extension of a fit note, results, update on a referral), but this is not suitable to book an appointment or to ask for a repeat prescription.
Please bear with us while we try to improve access for our patients. Even if we can’t increase the number of appointments available, we will try to improve the patient experience the best way we can.
Rest assured, we listen to our patients and will use what they tell us the best way we can to improve our services.