Patient Communication September 2022

The Phoenix Health Group is aware of some recent negative threads on local social media. It would be inappropriate for us to engage in discussion in these forums so request that any feedback be given to the Surgery directly and we will do our best to help.

We are aware of the difficulties in getting through by telephone and are in the process of recruiting extra staff as well as making changes to the telephone system. A typical Monday sees upwards of 8000 incoming phone calls across the Practice. Demand has increased year on year, and it is challenging to field the volume of calls without there being a delay. Sadly, we have had staff leave due to being spoken to rudely or aggressively. We therefore encourage patients to speak politely as retaining staff will help us answer the phones faster.

We are also aware of dissatisfaction with being unable to book directly to see a doctor face to face. Unfortunately moving back to booking face to face appointments directly will lead to much longer waiting times. It is widely acknowledged that General Practice is under pressure Nationally. This is not just an issue locally. A survey was recently taken in the North Cotswolds of waiting times for patients to see a doctor face to face in surgeries where these appointments were directly bookable. The average wait time to see a doctor across the Practices was 4 weeks. At the Phoenix Health Group we can provide a discussion within a few days if the call is routine or on the same day if it is urgent. Patients are then invited in to see a doctor face to face where appropriate. We regularly review this approach but believe the current compromise maintains access whilst still providing face to face appointments when needed. We would also like to confirm we have seen patients face to face throughout the pandemic, contrary to reports in the main media and on local forums.

Since 1st April 2022, 99% of patients have been able to get an appointment with a GP within 2 weeks. Our Friends and Family scores remain stable with 95% of 420 patients that responded in August 2022 ‘likely’ or ‘highly likely’ to recommend the Phoenix Health Group to their friends and family.

If you would like to be more involved in shaping primary care, please contact us directly or better still, join our Patient Participation Group where we welcome all constructive ideas.