Appointment triage - why we are operating this system

Given increasing patient demand it has become more crucial to ensure queries are managed appropriately. This system relies on the triaging skills of experienced GPs to prioritise resources according to clinical need as well as signpost patients towards the most appropriate services. This will hopefully enable the practice to work toward implementing the BMA’s Safe working in General Practice guidance to ensure Primary Care teams provide patient appointments more flexibly, direct patients to the most appropriate provider of care and prioritise care for those most in need.

The system we have implemented is a simple and easy to use form which can be submitted to (change made to submitted) the surgery. It is also integrated with our clinical system which reduces the risk of error. We found it fast, smooth and reliable with minimal downtime and excellent user support.

Whichever system used, it is crucial that practices are able to switch off the ability for patients to submit a form especially during evenings, weekends and bank-holidays. It is clear to see that demand in the NHS is actually unlimited and NHS healthcare is essentially rationed. Traditionally the mechanism of rationing was via wait times on telephones and in queues at GP reception. This method of rationing and limiting demand is bypassed by online patient submission platforms and threatens to overwhelm already limited primary care resources so mechanisms to switch off online submissions are essential.

Published: Jun 22, 2023

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