Changes to arrangements for Patient Appointments  

Earlier this year, West Wirral Group Practice (WWGP) changed the way requests for appointments are handled.


What has changed?
When patients request an appointment the receptionist will ask for reasons for their request, so that they can direct them to the best person to assist them. Staff have been fully trained by Healthwatch, with accreditation/endorsement from National Open College Network, to enable this change.

Why did it change?
The demand for services from WWGP is growing constantly as it is throughout the NHS, and this trend is not expected to reverse in the near future. It is essential that the Practice makes best use of all resources to provide the optimum service to all patients.

Sometimes a patient sees a doctor when they could /should have been seen by another member of the Practice team; Our Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Practice Nurses or Health Care Assistant. We also have teams who can deal with queries such as online access, prescriptions, referrals etc. These teams are Administration team, Prescribing team and Secretarial team. If a member of the team is able to deal with your problem then this will free up the Doctors to deal with problems that can only be dealt with by GPs.

WWGP is not the first practice to introduce this approach. A number of practices across the country have already done so successfully.

What difference will patients experience?
When a patient requests an appointment the receptionist will ask for the reasons for their request. They will then be offered an appropriate appointment to make the most efficient use of the resources available.

If a patient feels that their reason is personal, and do not wish to give details, they will be able to say so and this will not prevent them being given an appointment if one is available.

What are the benefits?

For patients the benefit is that they will see the member of staff best equipped to deal with their care. Some conditions necessitate multiple appointments with GP and nurse, the receptionist will be able to organise this more easily. Some conditions require a longer appointment, the receptionist will be able to organise this too.

What hasn’t changed?
Advance appointments are still be available to book on line up to four weeks ahead – patients are already asked to give a reason for the appointment when submitting these requests.

Most appointments will still be same day, available to patients calling each morning, as happens now.

This has clearly been a significant change to the way the practice works and if there is any feedback you wish to share with us, please let us know by email to [email protected], or by leaving a note in the PPG mailbox in the Practice reception. The PPG will not respond to every single email, but will consolidate queries and issue further communication via the Practice website to address the concerns raised.

Also please let us know if you have encountered any issues since the change has been introduced.

Such information can only help the practice to improve the experience for patients