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Bourne Galletly Medical Practice is introducing a new appointment system to improve patient access

Doctors are hoping to remove the “appointment lottery” experienced by surgery patients by introducing a fairer booking system.

Staff at Bourne Galletly Medical Practice have responded to ongoing complaints from patients who struggle to get through on the phone.

A survey found 82% of respondents found it difficult to contact the surgery by telephone while 75% said it was difficult to make an appointment.

Bourne Galletly Medical Practice. Photo: Google
Bourne Galletly Medical Practice. Photo: Google

Next month the surgery will adopt a new system which staff say will quadruple their capacity and ensure all enquiries are assessed in the same way.

GP Rebecca Mitchell said: “Every clinical question or problem will be submitted via an online form to enable us to triage the request. A GP will then review the information provided and quickly reply with questions, advice or a booking link which will allow patients to book an appointment with the clinician most qualified to deal with their problem.”

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The majority of patients will be asked to submit their enquiry via the NHS app or the Galletly website.

Dr Rebecca Mitchell
Dr Rebecca Mitchell

Anyone who does not have access to the internet will still be able to call the surgery or visit in person where a member of staff will complete the online form on their behalf to ensure it is dealt with in the same way as other patients.

Where face-to-face appointments are needed, patients will be referred to the most appropriate member of staff which could be a GP, advanced nurse practitioner, physiotherapist, pharmacist or member of the medicine management team.

Dr Mitchell said: “We have responded to feedback that our current appointment system is not responsive to your needs. We want to ensure that appointment allocation is safe, fair, accessible and user friendly.

“We have seen this system working and visited GPs who have made this successful. Our capacity will be quadrupled, there will be no more appointment lottery and allocation will be fair.”

The new system will launch on Monday, April 29.

Chairperson of the Patient Participation Group, Chris Bond, said: "We look forward to the introduction of the new system at the practice as all have been acutely aware of the difficulties that patients and staff have faced in recent times.

“We are pleased that attention is being paid to those who are not currently ‘digitally active’ in the plan and look forward to working with patients and staff to make the changes as smooth as possible."

The move comes as the other surgery in Bourne, managed by Lakeside Healthcare, has recently changed its online booking system.

Have you struggled to get hold of a doctor when you’ve needed an appointment? Share your views in the comments.

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