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News Archive > General > Surgery ‘needs to improve access to appointments’

Surgery ‘needs to improve access to appointments’

By Natasha Swift 2nd August 2017

Surgery ‘needs to improve access to appointments’
Wheal Northey surgery

A ST AUSTELL doctor’s surgery has been praised for treating patients with compassion, dignity and respect, but been told it needs to improve access to appointments by the health watchdog.

Wheal Northey, which is run by St Austell Healthcare, has been rated as good overall by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in a glowing report following an announced inspection over three days in April.

Inspectors rated the surgery as good for being safe, effective, caring and well-led but was told it required improvement for being responsive to people’s needs.

The report said results from an in-house patient survey showed patients were treated with compassion, dignity and respect.

It said improvements had been made to the quality of care as a result of complaints, and that all of the patients had a named GP.

The CQC said vulnerable patients, their carers and staff at care homes were given a direct access phone number, which gave faster access for urgent appointments.

It found patients were able to access urgent appointments on the same day at the Carlyon Road Health Hub from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday with patients able to see either a GP or minor illness nurse.

But the CQC said that when it had spoke to patients they said they found it difficult to get through to the Hub to make a routine appointment.

The report said: “The practice had audited the appointment system twice and made changes, but we found further improvements were needed to improve patient flow in the Hub and on the telephone.

“The majority of verbal and written feedback from patients highlighted their frustration with the journey of access to make appointments. Patients reported issues with the telephone system with long waits in getting through to the practice.”

Last month St Austell Healthcare announced it was changing the way patients could book appointments and patients would be able to ring at anytime between 8am and 7.30pm from Monday to Friday and ask for a telephone consultation with their usual doctor or doctor who has been dealing with their problem.

The changes have been made made after the group admitted its current appointment system was not working and it said it realised routine appointments go very quickly which was “frustrating” for patients.

Several areas of outstanding practice were also highlighted by the CQC.

By Natasha Swift 2nd August 2017

SteveM 10th August 2017 10:34
I tried to get an appointment in the last week, the experience was not good. No way to get through on the phone within a reasonable time so I booked the appointment online. The only appointments I could book was a "call back" this is where a doctor calls you at a set time slot 3 or 4 days later. This worked as intended but I would like to point out that booking an phone call is not a doctors appointment. It´s a phone call, you would then have to wait a further period of time to get the appointment to see the doctor. I accept that many routine appointments can be dealt with over the phone however it is not what one expects when booking an appointment to see the doctor. You want to "see" the doctor not have them give you a phone call several days later.
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