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New phone system
We are aware of a current issue with our phone system, patients are reporting being cut off after waiting in the queue system. This has been reported to One-call who are currently looking into this issue.
A brief explanation of the new system.
We no longer have a switchboard operative instead you will hear a list of options, to avoid wait times please select the correct option that suits your request. If you prefer not to call the surgery, please consider registering for our online service here:
Again, we apologise for any problems you may have encountered with the phone lines and hopefully the issues we are having will be resolved quickly. Our reception team are trying their very best to deal with every request that comes into surgery as quickly as allows whilst still trying to provide the best possible care to each patient.

 


Busy Phonelines and Long Waits

Dear Newgate patients,

We want to apologise unreservedly for the very long waiting times on the phone when you ring the surgery.

There are many reasons for this, and I just want to help you understand why this is and what we are going to do about it.

The problem

1.)     The stress of working through the pandemic, the hugely increased workload, and the very busy phonelines have sadly taken a toll.

There are staff who have fallen ill (long term) and there are those who have left the practice due to the unrelenting work-stress. This has a direct impact on the availability of remaining staff to man the phones, deal with patients at the desk and sorting medical and nursing problems for patients.

2.)    Since the easing of lockdown, we have seen an enormous increase in patients contacting us for help. The pent-up demand of 16 months has led to patients bringing complex problems, some who are very sick. What is also clear is that many are bringing multiple problems all at once.

The sorting out of every individual person with multiple problems on the phone or face-to-face is taking a much longer time and this has also resulted in the longer waits.

To give you an example:

Newgate Medical group has over 30’000 patients to look after.

Previously the average duration of a receptionist phone call was 4 minutes. It is now 12 minutes. Therefore, you can understand that if > 20 – 30 people are calling at any one minute in the busy period and each one takes at least 12 minutes or longer, this inevitably creates longer waits

In the last year alone, the practice had 157,191 patient contacts - face to face and via telephone.

I can assure you all our staff are working our hardest to help our patients.

Certainly professionally, we have never worked harder or longer hours than at any time in our professional general practice life.

Improving the Situation

1.)     We are busy recruiting more staff to cope with the demand and workload.
Please give us some time to get them settled in and train them to do the best job possible.

 

2.) We also offer an online service for booking appointments, requesting prescriptions, and accessing your medical record – to sign up please follow the link

https://www.newgatemedicalgroup.co.uk/register-for-online-services

 3.) A new telephone system will be introduced at the end of September, which should reduce wait times.

4.) We have added dedicated prescription line, to help free up the phone lines for patients ringing for appointments and any other health enquiries.

I hope this communication helps to provide an insight to the challenges the practice is facing and what we are doing to improve our services.

Newgate Management Team

 

 


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