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Important changes to how we are using askymyGP

We are making an important change to how we use askmyGP.

Since introducing askymyGP in 2020, it has made a big difference in how quickly and efficiently we respond to patient queries. On average, we resolve patient queries within 3 hours, and 80% are dealt with on the same day. Over 93% of patients would recommend the system.

But a combination of demand and capacity means we now need to change how we use the system. 

The Change: Standard and Urgent

From now on, ask will operate in one of two modes. 

Standard mode will be just as the system is now: you describe your issue in your own words, choose from our available clinicians and let them know how you would like your issue resolved.

Urgent Priority mode is when we ask you only to submit requests if it is urgent and you need a resolution that day.

This will come into effect at 3.30 every day we are open so that we can manage and prioritise patients with the greatest need in the last few hours of the day. 

You will see a message asking you to confirm that your issue is urgent. Please only continue if your need cannot wait until the next working day. 

We may also put this mode in place where the number of demands exceeds our ability to deal with them safely and on time. This may happen when demand increases, our capacity is reduced, or a combination of both. 

You will see this message when we have enabled Urgent Priority mode.

Why we are making the change 

There are two factors here – demand and capacity. 

We receive over 1200 requests every week, with up to 400 on busy days. This is a 15-20% increase in the last year (even considering the rise in patients since the merger with Avenue in May). 

We have recruited staff to deal with this demand as much as we can, and now cannot afford to keep recruiting to meet the growing demand. 

The funding we receive from the NHS is a fixed sum per patient, equivalent to about 52p per patient per working day. With this, we must ensure we can fund all aspects of the service we are contracted to provide you. 

At the same time, we have an obligation to our staff to keep their workloads safe and manageable. Burnout in the NHS makes retaining and recruiting staff a significant challenge across the whole health service. 

What we ask of patients 

To be clear, when you have a medical issue, we want you to continue to come forward for care, and we will help direct you to the best and quickest solution for your needs. 

Here are some ways that can help you. 

How this helps you

When patients help us prioritise the requests we receive, we can get to your urgent issue sooner. 

And if your request is non-urgent, the other options outlined above will still help you get the resolution you need – in some cases sooner. 

How this helps us

Being able to prioritise urgent requests means we can provide help soonest to the people who need it most, which will always be our number 1 aim.

It also helps to keep our workload manageable and safe for our teams so they can provide you with the quality of service we aspire to and that you deserve.

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