Improvements at Glenlyn Medical Centre

Improvements at Glenlyn Medical Centre

We would like to tell you a bit about the changes that are happening at Glenlyn to improve our service to our patients. These changes are in line with the national NHS project called the NHS Primary Care Recovery Programme. This affects all Primary Care in the country and changes will come to all practices in due course. Locally the project is being driven by Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care Board (ICB).

There are many elements to the project, but the three most notable ones are the introduction of

·         Improved Online Access

·         Clinical Triage

·         Additional Clinicians to the Primary Care team.

Online Access is constantly becoming easier with our improved NHS Practice website and the NHS App. Requesting help online via our website is now the preferred way for you to contact us in Primary Care. There are forms to fill in on the website that are faster, more efficient and give us more detail about your individual situation to be able to triage you most safely and effectively to receive the correct help. Requesting repeat prescriptions is fastest and safest via the NHS App.

If you choose to use the telephone to contact us, a member of staff called a Care Navigator will help take some details from you about your problem and will fill in the same online forms for you. The forms will then go into the same triage process as the other patients who have contacted us online directly. It is not faster on the telephone and we usually get more detail when patients have submitted their own forms.

We fully appreciate that some people will be apprehensive about using digital technology, but we have many elderly patients that already manage extremely well themselves or with the help of a carer.

We have many patients that have either visible or hidden disabilities that make it impossible for them to access online services. The telephone lines can get quite busy at times and we would very much like your help to reserve the telephone access for these sorts of patients where possible. Contacting us online frees up the phones for more vulnerable patients and gives us richer information to improve the triage process.

If you haven’t already then please download the NHS App and register. You can order repeat prescriptions, submit online queries to us and view your test results. More features are being added by the NHS all the time. You will soon be able to track your hospital referrals and waiting times on the NHS App too.

Clinical Triage is the process whereby a senior clinician (either an experienced senior nurse or a GP) reviews all requests for assistance or queries that come to the practice before being allocated to a member of the team. This senior clinician will decide the best, safest and most efficient way to deal with each request individually. They know the skills, abilities and limitations of all members of our clinical and administrative team and will place each patient with care. Some problems are best suited with a GP and that is where they will be directed. Many other problems may be better dealt with by an Advanced Care Practitioner (a very senior and highly qualified nurse), Clinical Pharmacist, Physiotherapist, Paramedic, Health Care Assistant or Physicians Associate. All of these clinicians are supervised by the GP team. They can ask for advice or escalate a patient immediately if needed.

Additional Clinicians are the roles mentioned above. They are an expansion of the clinicians in the practice, not an alternative to seeing a GP. They allow us to have a Primary Care Team with a broader range of skills than a doctor alone has. In fact, whilst GPs are strong at managing complex conditions and making difficult clinical decisions there are many conditions in Primary Care that are much better dealt with by other members of the clinical team. Just think how many things have already been done by the nurse for years much better than the GP: Asthma, COPD, Diabetes, Leg Ulcers, Vaccinations and many more.

Start to think of General Practice gradually moving towards being a broader Primary Care Team led by GPs. It is better to use GP skill and experience for the crucial decision making, for complex conditions and supervising a strong clinical team. Hospitals have been working like this for years.

Some of you may have read about recent changes to the medical staffing in the local media. Although we have made changes to individual members of the medical staffing, please be assured that the total amount of GP time available in the practice remains unchanged.

In summary, Primary Care is changing for the better into a rich clinical and administrative team. Online Access is accessible for the bulk of patients. It gives us excellent information about your problem and keeps the hone lines free for more vulnerable patients. The Triage process allows us to get patients to the most appropriate person as efficiently as possible. The Additional Clinicians give us more options to match a patient to the best clinician and give us a bigger team. The GP uses their skills and experience to lead and grow the team. This all increases the time GPs have available for the most complex problems.

We have been operating like this for some months now. The system is new and is growing and improving all the time as we all get used to it, but the experience for both patients and clinicians has been overwhelmingly positive. Our Friends and Family Test (live patient satisfaction survey) results have been very strongly positive over the last few months. In November satisfaction was 91% (546 responses) and in December it was 87% (526 responses).

As with all practices, we continually monitor our appointment times to understand how quickly patients are being seen and appointments times are also monitored, and published, by NHS England. Looking at our most recent practice data, most patients are seen within a day for urgent issues and within two weeks for most routine appointments (where people don’t need to be seen urgently). This means, as a practice, we are performing relatively well when compared with other areas and we are meeting national access standards.

There is always more work to do, and we appreciate some of you may have had different experiences. Although this pressure is felt nationally, we are committed to finding ways to further improve access and appointment times for our patients. As a practice, we remain committed to serving our patients and the local community, providing high quality care, when you and your family need it.

We appreciate changes can sometimes feel unsettling. We will be looking at how we can increase our communication with you to ensure we are keeping you updated on the latest developments.

Surrey Heartland ICB is our regional NHS authority and they are directing the regional implementation of the national NHS Primary Care Recovery Program. We look to them to provide wider communication across the region about the Program.

Published on 6 February 2024