Without feedback from precise measurement, invention is doomed to be rare and erratic. William Rosen


Frequently asked questions

This looks great for patients, but is it hard on GPs?

Many practices started on this method in order to make their workload more manageable, and still provide a better service for patients.  They are still doing it because it does both.  Chris Barlow began in 2000.  "We never, yes never, have an extra at the end of normal surgery."  Frequently GPs say that it is intensive, with more patient contacts per day, but it's more rewarding because appointments are with appropriate patients.

Does it work with personal lists?

Yes, a number operate personal lists and try to respond to their own.  Continuity is very important for both doctor and patient.  However, flexibility is also needed for example with part time doctors - which is more important to the patient?  Speak to someone today or wait until own doctor is in?  Patients soon adapt.

What about holidays and locums?

In the normal way, holidays need to be covered with adequate medical staffing.  Locums who are unused to the method may need some help, or can be used to take appointments from a first line telephone response.  But many practices report reduced need for locums as they are better able to meet demand with permanent staff.

What about training practices?

A number are training practices.  Often a partner will call patients, and bring them in to see a trainee, knowing the problem and next steps.  This enables the partner to feel more confident in the trainee seeing appropriate patients, and better able to oversee.

Will we need to change our computer or phone system?

Not generally.  Computer systems allow for telephone consultations, but the appointment system will be set up in a different way.  Phone systems need to have enough lines, though some use a mobile contract for outbound calls, which are then free to patients' mobiles.

Training is a part of many Patient Access practices