It’s our weekly check-in with comments made on our Patient Satisfaction Survey and Friends and Family Test again.

Image showing Patient Satisfaction Survey, tick boxes and pink marker pen

Another week has passed, and it’s time to check in with the comments left on our Patient Satisfaction Survey and the Friends and Family Test again. We are grateful to all our patients who have commented to help us improve our services further. Our team is currently brainstorming how exactly we can improve our appointment system for the benefit of our patients, clinicians, and wider staff. Although the new system has many positive characteristics, it has created an unmanageable workload for our clinicians while several patients are also unhappy with the new system. We won’t be able to continue with the system in the current format for that reason and will need to review and make changes. Your comments are essential in helping us do so.

Here are the comments left this week:

How likely are you to recommend our GP practice to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?
Extremely likely
Can you tell us why you gave that response?
Quick response which was very reassuring.
Do you think the practice has improved in the last 12 months?
Always found the practice to be quite good, past and present.
What are we doing particularly well?
Showing patience under pressure .
Very helpful .
Pleasant and efficient.
What do you feel we can improve on and how?
Probably the requirement to initially ring for an appointment is worrying. Not sure how this can be improved given the number of patients requiring a doctor or nurse.

As this patient mentions, it won’t be easy to do anything about having to phone for an appointment. We will include this in our discussions but believe this is likely to be something that will remain.

How likely are you to recommend our GP practice to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?
Neither likely nor unlikely
Can you tell us why you gave that response?
Not always easy to get appointments
Do you think the practice has improved in the last 12 months?
What do you feel we can improve on and how?
Remove the voicemail

We are a little unsure what this patient meant by removing the voicemail as we don’t have voicemail on our phones.

Long call hold times and generally difficult to get an appointment. Frustrating when directed to third party providers as the main option offered

Although it is unlikely we can improve the call hold times significantly, it is one of the things we will bear in mind during our discussions and brainstorm ideas surrounding this too. The third party provider is possibly something that hasn’t been sufficiently explained to people. i-Heart was started as an out-of-hours service to provide medical care to our patients during evenings, nights, and weekends. This has evolved and is now an extension of the GP practices in Barnsley. The practice now has both their own appointments to offer to their patients, and also appointments at i-Heart, which increases the capacity within primary care. Patients are not ‘fobbed off’ when they are directed to i-Heart, but they are offered a GP appointment at a different location to the practice instead. Sometimes we can book those appointments already, sometimes the patient will need to contact i-Heart instead.

I have been very much let down by the surgery. I put in 2 requests for a repeat prescription and never received them. The first one did receive eye drops which I never asked for but part from that nothing. This surgery has really dropped it’s standards and is not professionally run.

We are sorry to hear things went wrong with this patient’s prescription and we will look into what happened. If this happened in the last week, this may be related to a reduced number of staff due to sickness absence, but it should still not have happened. Occasionally the problem does not lie with the practice, nor with the pharmacy, but there can be an issue with the electronic transmission of the prescription. We apologise for the inconvenience caused to the patient.

I found staff helpful satisfied with wanting paracetamol my needs were met not keen on telephone appointments would rather see the doctor

Sometimes a telephone consultation is best, however, the majority of our appointments takes place face-to-face. Where it is patient preference, and the patient’s problem is suitable for a telephone appointment, we will consider this.

I contacted the surgery to make an appointment for my son and was placed on hold for approximately 20mins, which, I don’t have a problem with. Once answered, I was told that my query would be passed onto a clinician and I would receive a text. Again, I was fine with this. I then received a text message 4 and half hours later informing me of an appointment the following day. As I work full time the 9.45am slot wasn’t convenient. I contacted the practice and was asked why I hadn’t given times when I wasn’t available. I explained that I was never asked. I asked if it would be possible to change the appointment and was told that it wasn’t possible over the phone. The receptionist needed to contact the clinician to send another appointment. I decided to just stick with the original appointment and take time off from work as it was likely the second would be inconvenience as well. When I did see the GP, he was excellent and I can’t fault the care and treatment he provided for my son. My main issue is that how is it not possible for a receptionist to change an appointment? The system feels broken. I appreciate these are challenging times but surely there is a more efficient way of managing appointments.

The problem mentioned by the patient with the current appointment system, is one we hear from other patients too. They are not given a choice of appointments and want the receptionist to simply change this to suit with their needs. Although we can understand the patients’ desire for these changes, they are not easily sorted within our current system. We are brainstorming to find a system that will hopefully be better than what we have now, a system that currently is better than the previous one. One thing is already known: there is no perfect system. That doesn’t mean we won’t keep looking for improvements to our systems in place.

The doctor I saw was run off his feet ,looked very rushed we need to respect what they do for us thank u from me anyway x

Thank you for your kind remarks. And you are right, the doctors are currently under a lot of pressure. We will need to look for solutions to ensure the doctors are also looked after. After all, you can’t look after others if you don’t look after yourself first.

Excellent advice from Doctor Lannon and a prompt referral for an ongoing optical problem as well as a current concern. Surgery rang me about my referral the same day I had seen the Doctor, couldn’t expect a better response.

After 5 mins of phone queuing I was told I was 5th in the queue. Then I waited another 45 minutes with no other information, just the strident hold music which is not suited to the limitations of the phone system, before my call was picked up, just before I hung up thinking my call had been lost in the system. Regular queue updates would have been preferable.

We have no idea what happened there because the system is supposed to give regular updates on the position in the queue. A new message or position in the queue should be given on a regular basis. We have just checked the system, but were not able to find the exact timings between the messages but this is set at less than a minute we believe.

No changes needed always happy services.

I appreciate your help and thank you so much. And to send a feed back is a great idea to inform you of any shortfalls. Thanks.

When I ring to see a doctor then I want to see a doctor and not spend far too much time on the phone trying to explain that I just want to see the doctor

We are sorry the patient finds this part of our system unacceptable. However, sometimes the doctor is not actually the best person to see the patient. Sometimes a patient is better served by a dentist, a pharmacist, a first contact physio, or an optician to name a few. Our system aims at getting those patients that need to see a GP to see a GP, and those people who are better served by another option, to that other option without delay. This is a part we would like to see maintained in whatever solution we come up with to serve our patients best.

It is always a chore to go to the surgery and I do tend to get a bit anxious. Thank you for seeing me so quick and efficiently.

And that concludes the comments left during this week. Some food for thought and we thank everyone for their honest feedback and suggestions for improvement. We really do appreciate it. Thank you!