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Patient Updates and Your Feedback

It’s been three months since JHP merged with Avenue, and we wanted to give patients an update on how things have been going, the feedback we’ve received and a few suggestions.

Thank you

Firstly, a big thank you to everyone for their patience during the merger process.

From announcing the plans in February, the patient engagement programme, and the necessary changes to the clinical system at Avenue and bringing everyone onto the askmyGP system, it has been a busy few months.

Our priority throughout was to minimise disruption for patients, which isn’t easy when there is the need to convert to a new clinical system, merge our IT and telephone systems, unify our approaches, and then finally combine two clinical systems into one.

Alongside this was the engagement programme, the contractual merger and, of course, integrating two teams of staff.

Senior Partner Dr Ben Davies said:

“We are grateful for everyone’s patience over the last couple of months. We know practice mergers aren’t the easiest and they can bring some concerns over continuity of care and availability of services. I’d like to thank all our patients – now more than 16,000 – for sticking with us through this process.

“We are now in a great position to continue provide first-class, patient-focussed primary care services to patients in Jesmond and beyond.”

Senior Partner Dr Ben Davies said:

Your feedback

Patient feedback is important to us. Not just hearing positive comments about our service but also understanding when things haven’t always gone right and areas where you would like to see improvements.

We track a lot of this through the NHS Friends and Family test. It’s widely used in the NHS to ask people how likely they would be to recommend services to those closest to them.

You’ll normally be sent a link to take the friends and family test after an appointment, or you can have your say here.

Over the last three months, over 94% of patients who have used our services said they would be likely or extremely likely to recommend us.

Here’s a selection of your comments:

“It is absolutely genius to have an online messaging service. Every GP should have this!”

“I am really happy with the results from my requests on ask my gp recently . My queries have been answered the same day and totally to my satisfaction . Thank you”

“Unbelievably quick and helpful response, have never organised a GP appointment so easily”

As we said though, negative comments can be as helpful to us as positive ones.

In the last three months, we’ve spotted two small trends in your feedback that we wanted to address.

askmyGP and face-to-face appointments

One theme is around the use of askmyGP as the first port of call for patients and a worry over getting face-to-face appointments.

These two are linked. askmyGP allows patients whose issues can be resolved without being seen to get quick solutions. In turn, this means that when patients do need to be seen in person, then we are able to arrange these appointments promptly, usually on the same day.

The aim has never and will never be to completely replace face-to-face appointments – they are a vital part of providing GP services. It’s about giving each patient the most appropriate way to have their issue dealt with.

All requests for medical help go directly to our Doctors, who use their skill and clinical judgement to determine the best course of action for you.

Sometimes that will be an appointment at the practice with a GP. Other times it might be with a Practice Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, or another member of staff. And in many cases, our Doctors will be able to help without you needing to come to the practice.

Prescription Requests

The second issue is around prescriptions, specifically the time taken for requests to be processed or the wrong medication being issued.

This is obviously something we want to avoid, and we do investigate problems when they arise. There are also things we can do and suggestions to help.

Marilyn in the Reception Team says

“Over the last couple of months, the number of calls on our prescription line has gone up by 50%. So, it is taking us longer to manually process these through onto the system. Some Mondays, the number of requests over the weekend can mean that a member of staff spends all day and often into Tuesday processing them.

“When there is a big backlog, like after a Bank Holiday, we can put more staff resource on it, but that means that other tasks then take longer.”

Marilyn in the Reception Team says

Prescriptions request that come in on the prescription phone line need to be manually added to our clinical system, whereas requests through the NHS app flow in directly.

With recorded messages, it also increases the chances of mistakes, with names or types of medication not always 100% clear or there not being enough detail to be processed, which can lead to delays.

Marilyn adds “The great thing about using the NHS app is that not only is it quicker for patients and faster for us to process, but all medication available to be reordered is listed with doses and all the details, so it’s always accurate.

The NHS app is free to download and use for iPhone and Android smartphones. Once installed, a repeat prescription can be ordered in just seven taps of the screen.

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