A: Patients can still call reception who will complete the form on their behalf.
A: The new GP contract was only released a few weeks ago and, as a practice, we decided on how we were going to implement a change that would allow us to comply with this new contract. This decision was only made at the end of April and, since then, we have endeavoured to get the word out, via our website, Facebook, and by leaflets in the practice. We have also been trying to get our telephone message updated for almost 2 weeks now but, due to circumstances beyond our control, our telephone provider has only just updated the message this morning.
The new appointment system does not require any prior knowledge of its implementation, nor does it require patients to have prepared in any way. Anyone who calls the practice and doesn't already know about the change, will have the new system explained to them. Any who are able to, can go online to complete the form. Any patients who cannot do this for themselves will have the form completed on their behalf by our reception team. This means that everyone is triaged in exactly the same way regardless of their circumstances, and the feedback from patients has been incredibly positive and supportive. Patients who needed an appointment were offered one, and 0 patients were asked to call back again tomorrow at 8am.
A: The new GP contract states that “patients should be offered an assessment of need, or signposted to an appropriate service, at first contact with the practice.” We can no longer ask patients to call again at 8am the next day because we have no appointments left. The only way we, as a practice, can offer every patient an assessment of need, is by allowing the GPs to triage every request for an appointment.
A: I’m sure you can appreciate that we have a finite number of appointments, and this new appointment system will ensure that every patient has their clinical needs assessed by a GP and the appointments are given to the patients that really need to see or speak to a GP. Some patients may be sign-posted to other services that are better suited to their needs, and some patients may be given advice on self-care. We may be able to deal with some patients’ requests without an appointment at all.
Bottom line: Our previous system was to give an appointment to every patient who asked for one, regardless of whether they actually needed one or not. Once all our appointments had gone, we would ask patients to call back again the following day at 8am. Patients didn’t seem to like this. The new system means you don’t have to queue on the phone at 8am, and if you need an appointment, you will get an appointment. The GP is the most qualified person to make this decision.
A: To triage simply means to conduct a preliminary assessment of each patient in order to determine the urgency of their need for treatment and the nature of treatment required. Previously, GP appointments were given to whichever patients were lucky enough to get through on the phones first in the morning. That system was unfair to many, and resulted in a lot of appointments being wasted on things that didn't need a GP appointment. The only feasible way to prevent this is to allow a clinical person (i.e., a GP) to assess each patient's request to determine what the best course of action is. You may be offered a same day appointment if needed, but you may also be offered a semi urgent appointment within 7 days or a routine appointment which could be in two or three weeks. If appropriate you may also be offered an appointment with another member of the practice team, advised to attend another NHS service or provided with information for self care. The bottom line is that rather than giving our appointments to anyone who WANTS one, the GPs are giving them to everyone who NEEDS one.
A: The form states that your request will be read by a staff member within 2 working days. That is our aim, and so far nearly every patient has had their request responded to within 24 hours. Be aware that there are GPs reviewing these requests throughout the day, so if your request is more urgent the GP will make sure that it is dealt with sooner. If your request is less urgent you may have to wait an extra day to get a response but, if you do need an appointment, you will still be offered one.
A: The way that the self-booking system works is that it shows you all the available pre-bookable appointments by date and time. We are liasing with AccuRx to see if this can be changed to show who the appointment is with. For now though, rest assured that if the GP has sent you a self-book link that means they are happy for you to see any GP. If you have requested a specific GP we will always try to accomodate these requests but our GPs don't have clinics every day and it's not always possible to provide every patient their first choice of GP. If you have SystmOnline or the NHS App, you can check which clinician you are booked to see under your appointments.
A: This is something we discussed at length and, at least for the time being, we have agreed that this is the safest way for the practice to manage our capacity. We appreciate that there may be times when you would like to be able to contact the practice outside of our working hours however, there are other NHS services available that would be better suited for this purpose. If you, or someone you care for, are taken ill during the night, or over the weekend, rather than sending an AccuRx request and waiting for us to see it when we open again, you can call NHS 111, and receive medical advice straight away. There could also be instances where you submit a request on a Friday night, and by Monday morning you no longer need to see or speak to a GP (if, for example, the problem had resolved over the weekend) but that request has already been sent and the practice would then be spending time dealing with a request that would no longer be necessary.
It may be that in the future we consider increasing the hours during which you can send requests, even if it’s just for admin requests, but for now, until the system is fully embedded and we are confident we can deal with the capacity we are receiving, the online triage will remain closed when we are.
Please be aware that currently, AccuRx Patient Triage closes at 2pm, not 6pm. The reason for this is to prevent any urgent requests from coming through too late for the emergency GP to be able to action them. If you need urgent medical assistance between 2pm-6pm you can still call the practice and the emergency GP can assess your needs and arrange to see you if necessary.
  • The GPs find it really helpful if you can provide as much information as possible when completing the form. In the box that asks “How long have these symptoms or concerns been going on? Have they got better or worse?” please be as specific as possible, as to whether this is a new problem, or an ongoing one, and if it’s suddenly getting worse. It’s also useful to let the GP know if you have been trying anything to help the problem, such as taking any over the counter medication. The box that asks, “How would you like us to help?” is really useful to let the GP know if you are expecting a face to face appointment, a telephone call, or maybe just a text message with some information. Including any specific days or times that you are unavailable really helps as well, in case the GP needs to book the appointment for you rather than sending you a self-book link. 
  • If you have received a text message, or a letter, from one of our GPs asking you to make an appointment (for example to discuss test results or review your medication) you can contact reception to book this appointment. In these instances, you do not need to be triaged because the GP has already asked you to make an appointment
  • Nurse appointments, HCA appointments, and blood tests can still be booked in the normal way, by speaking to reception. Blood test appointments can also still be booked via SystmOnline
  • If any patient is unable to go online to complete the form for themselves, they can still speak to reception who will complete the form on your behalf. Parents and carers can also complete the form on behalf of a child or someone they care for
  • In addition to medical requests, AccuRx Patient Triage will also allow you to submit admin requests for things such as sick notes, test results, and referral queries

Crossley Street Surgery
Crossley Street
West Yorkshire
LS22 6RT
01937 543 200     

Surgery hours
8.00am - 6.00pm

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