Author and Owner
Dr Peter Milton
6th July 2023
6th July 2023
Date of Next Review
6th July 2024
A New Model of Care at CMP from July 2023.
From July 2023, Cranleigh Medical Practice will be introducing a new system for booking GP appointments and requesting medical advice. This ‘Direct-To-Your-Doctor’ approach will provide a more responsive system with a focus on improved access to timely GP-led care.
We will no longer be offering routine GP appointments booked in advance. This change means that all requests for medical input will be passed directly to the GP team to make a decision based on clinical need.
If required, an appointment with a GP or a member of the wider practice team will be offered on the day. Alternatively the GPs will assist you without the need to attend the surgery, linking to self-care, offering advice on how to manage your issue over the phone or video call, or by accessing other local NHS services.
How will “Direct-to-your-Doctor” help you?
We continually monitor our service and have listened to your feedback about the difficulties of booking a routine appointment.
The new approach will put you in direct contact with your GP. Usually this will result in a response within 2-4 hours, and an appointment booking if required. By adopting this system, together with our recent investment in our phone and web-based technology, we believe we will strengthen our ability to provide sustainable and high quality NHS GP services.
Importantly, all requests will now be dealt with based on clinical need, not a first-come-first-served principle. We believe this will result in a much fairer approach and provide better patient outcomes.
How will “Direct-To-Your-Doctor” work?
1. Please contact us using the online contact form, found in your NHS app and on the practice website, or if necessary by phone. Please try to contact us before 12 noon and only consider contact later in the day for urgent issues.
2. Please do not attend the practice in person without an appointment - there is no advantage to attending the practice directly. Online submissions, telephone calls, and walk in requests will all be dealt with in the same way.
If you choose to call or walk in to the practice, the team will request information using the same form that you can complete yourself and submit online.
3. Provide as much detail as possible in your request – the online form is the best option to do this in your own words. Your GP may request additional information by sending a questionnaire or form for completion by text message, to better understand your symptoms and inform their decision making.
4. Ensure that you are available to receive a return call or message on the day - normally within 2 hours. We know that mobile signal in the Cranleigh area is problematic so think about your movements in the hours after requesting input. We know that some patients prefer contact on their landlines for this reason.
Benefits for patients
You do not need to be the first patient to contact us on the day to secure an appointment. It is the nature of the problem that will determine the need and speed for an appointment, not the timing of the request.
All requests will be handled in the same way. We would prefer that you use the online form through your NHS app, also found on our website, but you can still telephone or walk-in, if necessary.
You will have direct contact with the clinical team sooner and according to your clinical need.
You can move more quickly through the system to receive care, with earlier identification and prioritisation based on your clinical need.
You can be confident that the system is fair to all patients in Cranleigh, on the basis of clinical need, not just those that ‘get in first’.
This is not a complex process. We have spent time looking at other practices, learning from what works well, and taking time to design the simplest and most effective system for our patients.
Benefits for the doctors
We are striving to do more with less, making the best use of available time and limited NHS resources. We have worked hard in recent years to build a team of GPs, supported by trusted and valued Advanced Nursing and Paramedic capability, with the skills and experience to offer care for more urgent problems and unscheduled issues through a rapid access service. While General Practice is not intended to exist as an emergency service we will endeavour to support on-the-day-urgent-need, if we are best placed to do so. This means that sometimes your GP will ask you to be seen by a member of the rapid access team in whom we have invested heavily for your benefit. There will be situations however where it is most appropriate to direct you to other NHS services such as the pharmacy, urgent treatment centres, or A&E.
We believe this will enhance levels of communication and improve patient outcomes while also increasing patient satisfaction.
We hope it will increase staff retention – building a sustainable GP team for the future, with increased professional satisfaction driven by enhanced patient care and better workload management.
How to get the most from ‘Direct-To-Your-Doctor’
‘Direct-To-Your-Doctor’ works differently from a traditional appointment model so please take some time to think about what this means for you and how best to use the system.
If you wish to speak with your own GP, try calling on one of their routine working days (please refer to website for this information). While it will not always be possible to guarantee that your doctor is available, we will try to match you to the clinician best placed to help you. If you do not feel you need to be seen quickly, think about phoning the surgery on a day when it is more convenient to receive a call back from your GP and try to avoid our peak times which tend to be earlier in the week on Mondays and Tuesdays.
If you have any particular time constraints, or a preferred number, to receive a call back please provide this information when contacting us – we will try to accommodate this wherever possible, but please try to contact us on a day that you can engage with your doctor if needed.
If you visit the surgery in person to book an appointment, for yourself or someone else, the receptionist cannot book you an appointment. We will ask you to provide details of your problem by completing a form, or suggest that you use the online option to submit your query, and your request will be handled by the GP team.
Some Important Points
‘Direct-To-Your-Doctor’ is about dealing with your health care needs more quickly, effectively and delivering a higher standard of patient care. In the past, the patients who were first through on the phone or turned up at the surgery could be the ones to get the earliest appointments regardless of whether they were the ones that needed them the most. In many cases, GP appointments are simply not required at all, but were booked and this impacted on wait times for others. High demand, with fixed limited capacity, means that these historic issues have resulted in long wait times. By adopting a ‘Direct-To-Your-Doctor’ system, GPs can ensure that patients who need to be seen more quickly are seen more quickly. GPs can also speed up the care pathway for any patient requiring tests prior to a face to face appointment, for those requiring review of medication or a pre-existing condition or for those with a straightforward diagnosis for which a prescription can be raised following a telephone consultation.
‘Direct-To-Your-Doctor’ is about putting patients directly in touch with their doctor at the earliest opportunity, in order to deal with their clinical needs in the most effective way and according to clinical priority. With ‘Direct-To-Your-Doctor’ you get to communicate with the doctor on the day you contact the practice rather than having to wait a number of weeks to see your doctor face to face to discuss your health issues.
Your doctor may offer you telephone advice, adjust your medication on the basis of a telephone consultation, or offer you a prescription following discussion of your symptoms. However, he or she will only do this where it is clinically safe to do so, based on the symptoms or condition that you have and with the benefit of full access to your clinical notes and medical history.
There may be a small number of patients who cannot operate in this system, and we will work with you to agree arrangements that support equitable access to your GP.
Nursing appointments will continue to operate with no changes to our current system. The majority of contact with our nursing team is co-ordinated by the practice through invitation for ongoing care or review. We hope the new system will enable more efficient working between the nursing and GP teams, co-ordinating care in the most appropriate way, at the right time.
Dr Milton 6.7.23