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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Measures put in place to improve services for patients at Highcroft Surgery in Arnold


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A GP surgery in Arnold has put in place a number of measures to help improve services following complaints from patients.

Those using Highcroft Surgery on High Street had voiced concerns to local councillor Henry Wheeler and also Gedling MP Tom Randall about lack of appointments and the telephone system.

Cllr Wheeler represents the borough on Nottinghamshire County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board. He last month raised concerns from patients with Joe Lunn, who is the Associate Director of Primary Care NHS Nottinghamshire and Nottingham CCG.

Now GPs running the surgery have met with Councillor Wheeler and also local MP Tom Randall to outline measures being put in place to boost services.

They say they have carried out a review of the prescription management process and have now employed additional staff to handle prescriptions.

They plan to introduce a new phone system in the next few weeks that will help prevent calls from dropping out of the queue

They are now offering both face-to-face and telephone appointments

Highcroft Surgery is now offering a 24/7 online service allowing patients to contact their GP for help and advice. Patients can access eConsult here: https://highcroftsurgery.webgp.com/

Mr Randall said he was pleased measures are now in place to improve services for patients.

He said: “We are pleased Highcroft Surgery has been taking steps to address patient concerns.

“We will continue to monitor feedback at the surgery closely and will be joining the Patient Participation Group as observerers to better understand the patient experience.

“Gedling Borough Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board representative Cllr Henry Wheeler and I will both be meeting regularly with the Highcroft’s Practice Manager going forward.

When raising issues last month, Councillor Wheeler called for a rescue plan to boost services being offered by GPs in the borough.

Mr Wheeler said: “In order to sort patient care issues out locally, we need an NHS rescue plan that sees patient care prioritised locally in the recovery from the Covid Pandemic, so people don’t have to wait weeks and in some cases months before getting an appointment”.

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  1. Just noted this statement from Highcroft Surgery after meeting :

    Dear patients,

    Following the invitation to join our Partners and Managerial Team, today Highcroft Surgery met with Gedling Borough Council’s Health and Well-Being Board Representative, Councillor Henry Wheeler, Conservative Member of Parliament for Gedling, Tom Randall MP and his assistant, Sam Smith. We were also joined by our Local Medical Committee Practice Liaison Officer, Stuart Hague Nottinghamshire LMC. This was to discuss the issues that constituents have raised with their MP and their Councillor regarding the struggle getting through to the surgery via the telephone.
    We discussed the problems that we have been having with our phone system, the work that accrued following the Covid-19 pandemic and the reduced staff that we have had due to shielding, testing positive to Covid, time off due to bereavements and resignations following the amount of pressure General Practice is under. We also discussed the mass of online abuse, intimidation, threatening behaviour and verbal threats that our team have been receiving from some patients.

    We have found that our current telephone system sometimes automatically hangs up on patients who are waiting to get through to the surgery. This phone system is maintained by Nottinghamshire Health Informatics Service NHIS and funded by Nottingham & Nottinghamshire CCG and who are responsible for making sure that it is working properly. After many audits, reports, training and investigation into the issues with the phone system, we have put systems in place to help with our call flow. This allows you to press 1 to speak to a receptionist, press 2 to speak to a prescription clerk, (hours open between 10am and 12pm) and press 3 to speak to a secretary, (hours open between 1pm and 3pm). Whilst this has helped with reducing the number of unanswered calls, it unfortunately has not resolved the issue. As such we are pleased to announce that we will be investing in a new phone system which will be in place within 4-6 weeks. This new system will prevent automatic hang ups and allow patients to queue until the call is answered.

    We continue to have our eConsult online form which can be accessed 24 hours a day, Monday-Friday. This form is easy to use and allows you to request medication, an appointment or make a general enquiry at a time that is convenient to you. This also helps free up the phone lines to the patients who are more vulnerable/elderly who cannot use an eConsult form. The Surgery will aim to respond to the eConsult by the end of next working day. Any patient under the age of 16 or those unable to use the eConsult form can call the surgery and speak to a receptionist who will fill out an eLite on their behalf. This is where you are asked a few questions about your health query and the information then gets added to the Doctor on Call’s ledger for them to make contact with you. Please vist the Surgery website which explains more about how to use eConsult.
    We have put on additional clinics on the weekends and our staff have attended the surgery and worked many hours of overtime. We have also employed temporary staff to assist us in actioning the work load accrued during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are pleased to update you that the majority of work accrued during the pandemic has been actioned and plans are in place to action the remaining work. We thank you for your patience during this time.

    We appreciate our patients understanding during these unprecedented times. However, despite our efforts to work hard during the pandemic and keep General Practice running, we have been faced with a mass of unacceptable behaviour including threats, abuse and intimidation which is completely unjustifiable.

    If any of our patients have a grievance that they would like to discuss, we ask that you contact the surgery and ask to speak to the relevant Management Staff. This may be a Reception Supervisor or the Practice Manager. Alternatively you may fill out a complaints form which can be found on our practice website. Any such enquiry or complaint will be responded to appropriately. We unfortunately cannot respond to any enquiry on Facebook due to patient confidentiality.

    We also discussed ways in which both Henry Wheeler and Tom Randall could support patients using our service. Both Henry and Tom will meet with the Practice Manager once a month to discuss aspects that have been working well and those that could be improved.

    We will be using our Facebook page as a platform to update our patients regarding matters pertaining to the surgery, general information and how you can help keep yourself well.

    We thank you for your support.
    Kind regards,
    Team Highcroft Surgery

  2. Well two months on from this article and the service is still as poor as ever. They clearly have too many registered patients for the current clinical, not to mention administrative, staffing levels. Add on a not fit for purpose telephone system and the results are not surprising… An abysmal service.
    Frankly, this level of service has been the same for years and, promises aside, I’m not confident they can actually address it adequately.
    Consequently my family and I are moving to a different surgery as we’ve finally had enough of their ‘jam tomorrow’ promises.


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