It’s time for our weekly Check-in!

But before we have a look at the comments our patients have left on our Patient Satisfaction Survey and the Friends and Family Test, we would first like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

It was one of the receptionists that told me one of my doctors said I’d to wait and ring I heart between 4/6 I have a bad case of cellulitis on my lip and face and one eye was closed with it I was really poorly with it I was let down by my doctors that day it took a month before I was getting better I’ve not seen my GP for a long while I really have suffered with pain n my and lots more problems my wellbeing and I feel let down Before all the Covid happened our surgery ran great and you could get appointments same day you phoned up.and you could book an appointments but that’s all changed ur lucky some times to get to speak to a receptionist as there just so busy.

We’re sorry to hear the patient had a difficult experience. Unfortunately, our capacity for appointments does not match the demand for appointments. And, although the solution seems simple, it doesn’t quite work that way. The solution would be to increase the number of appointments, something that isn’t possible with the space and the number of clinicians we have available. Instead, the clinician assesses the details a patient passes to the receptionist to decide who needs to be seen same-day and who needs to be seen elsewhere. We hope to provide all our patients with the care they need this way, rather than simply telling them to try again the next day. The fact this patient was asked to contact i-Heart means the clinician felt the patient should see a GP the same day. It also means the capacity for same-day appointments at the surgery was reached. i-Heart, rather than just an out-of-hours service, delivers the much-needed extra capacity in primary care for same-day appointments. This way, more patients can be seen the same day if there is a need for them to be seen the same day.

I waited 45 minutes on the telephone waiting to speak to the receptionist. I was unable to get an appointment for over a week. I am 83 years of age and expected to be seen within an acceptable timescale especially with the symptoms I presented with

This patient mentions two problems. The first is the long wait on the phones. Although we have little to no power over our phone lines currently as the ICB holds the phone contract in our name, we have been informed the contract will default to the practice from April. Like our patients, we want better service and availability on the phone than we currently have. We are exploring the options that are available to us once the phone contract comes to us. Hopefully, we can find a system that works better than the current one. Although it is an improvement on the previous system, it is still far from perfect. We are realistic enough to realise there is no such thing as a perfect phone system.

The second problem the patient mentioned is the fact they needed to wait more than a week for an appointment they felt should have been sooner. We can’t really comment on this as we don’t know what the problem was and why there was a wait for over a week. Most appointments offered are for the same day and we can only think the assessment by the clinician determined that this was a non-urgent problem and no same-day appointments were available.

The treatment is good getting an appointment with your own gp is the hard part

I was very satisfied, with everything. Very polite staff & Clinicians.

Always happy with the reception help and I thank them for their help

As always freindly and polite, no complaints at all. In front of me was a elderly lady very concerned about her husband who was waiting for test results, after the receptionist talked to her and put her at ease she was reasured not to worry. Thats what you call care and compassion. Well done.

Dr Spits has been really good in sorting my pain and diagnosing me,

Took a while to get through to the surgery as when you get through you have an automated lady speak to you so you think you will go into a queue then she tells you to ring later, then you go through the same process until you get in a queue. Once you get to speak to reception excellent service

We keep our queue small on purpose. Even with a small queue, the waiting time can be significant, something we would like to keep to a minimum. Once the queue is full people will either get an engaged tone or go through the message to then be told to ring back later. We suspect the last thing happens when the last person and the queue and the one after phone around the same time and one gets in the queue while the other doesn’t. We are looking at ways to improve our phone system. Remember, for non-urgent or admin queries, you can also use our online consultations and avoid the phone lines altogether:

Very upset with them team I feel let down I’ve needed the service and help twice and got nothing in return no appointment no nothing which then as led me going to I heart and now most likely me having to go in hospital! Feel let down

We don’t know what the problem was this patient needed help with. Most likely, our capacity had been reached and the patient was therefore signposted to i-Heart as it was felt a same-day appointment was needed. Our capacity for appointments is not unlimited, however much our patient and we would like it to be. When our capacity is reached, patients will still need attention and help. That’s where i-Heart comes in as the extension of primary care. It allows patients to still receive same-day attention when they need it, even if we have no appointments left.

And here are the comments left on our Friends and Family Test:

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?
Very efficient
No wait to see a doctor
Good advice
Do you think the practice has improved in the last 12 months?
Triage system works well
Get to see a GP if necessary
Good communication
What are we doing particularly well?
As above
What do you feel we can improve on and how?
Waiting times on phone

We are pleased to hear this patient is mainly happy with the service provide. The waiting times on the phone are mentioned as something to improve on, something we agree with and are looking into to at the moment.


  1. Not all our patients are happy with the new Assessment of Need system we have had in place since April 2023. They miss the possibility of booking an appointment with a GP without being told a different service might be more suitable.
  2. Several patients dislike being signposted to i-Heart, quoting they only live around the corner from the surgery and should therefore be seen at the surgery instead. We work with a system that aims to make sure that those patients that need attention the same day, get seen the same day. We can’t see all our patients the same day who require to be seen. This is where i-Heart works as the much-needed extension of primary care to increase the capacity for same-day appointments. It is quite the opposite of what some patients have told us, we are not ‘fobbing them off’ but trying to ensure they receive the care they need when they need it.
  3. Our phone system continues to let us and the patients down. The lines go down too often to our liking. We are looking at other solutions and hope to come out with a system that suits our patients and the practice better. In the meantime, we have to make the best of it that we can.
  4. Remember: you can avoid the phone lines altogether if you have an administrative or non-urgent medical query. Use our online consultations instead and receive a response within 3 working days.