New appointment system at the Wivenhoe Surgery

edited July 2014 in Health Centre
The following has been received from Zoe Cronin, practice manager at the Wivenhoe Surgery. It concerns the new way of managing GP appointments that has been adopted since the end of June. The new system was pioneered in 2000 by the GP practice in Stour, Dorset, and has since been trialled in a number of GP practices in the UK.
Now the Wivenhoe Surgery has decided to adopt it, and Zoe Cronin says "it is being trialled in the best interests of both GPs and patients." The surgery welcomes feedback from patients on how they think it is working.

"The new Triage System is currently being trialled at the surgery.  The objective of the new system is for the GPs to be able to better manage their workloads and ensure that patients are seen by the most relevant clinician within an appropriate timescale.  The GPs were finding difficulty in seeing all of the patients who requested an urgent appointment.

Patients who contact the surgery requesting an urgent appointment are advised by Reception staff that they will be added to the triage GP’s list and he/she will contact them direct by telephone.    Dedicated clinic sessions (late morning and late afternoon) are available for the triage GP to use for booking patients with urgent problems into.

The new system does not provide facility for patients to attend the surgery and simply sit and wait to be seen.  Patients must have received a telephone triage phone call from the GP.

The triage GP will also ensure that if a problem is not urgent for that day an alternative appointment is provided with the most appropriate clinician.

The new system is aimed at preventing patients attending the surgery unnecessarily if their problem can be easily resolved over the telephone.

The GPs are reviewing the system on a weekly basis and will of course take into consideration feedback from patients."

Zoe Cronin - Practice Manager at Wivenhoe surgery,  24th July 2014


  • This just sounds like another way of keeping patients at arms length.
  • I'm certainly aware of a neighbour who had to wait hours beyond the time arranged at which the GP would call him. It doesn't really seem as if this is a 'patient friendly' development.  What are others experiences...?
  • @puffin, would this perhaps be the sort of thing that the surgery is hoping to hear by way of feedback to them?
    They've asked for feedback on the experiences of the new system but I'm not sure that includes reading Forum posts - just a thought.
  • Better this forum than the feedback form on the surgery's website - it's a tick list with v limited choices of questions. And no acknowledgement of whether form received.
  • Marika, I already suggested that to my neighbour, but his response was similar to Theresa's above.
  • edited July 2014
    There is a Questionnaire which gives a tick list, but there is also a Feedback section where you can leave a complaint, compliment, or comment...,42936.htm

  • The Stour Surgery link says that - You will eliminate the need for two thirds of appointments.  Two thirds!
  • The new appointment system is " in the best interests of the patients."

    Not so long ago, you could get a non-urgent appointment with somebody within a week or two.
    I rang last week and was offered an appointment in 33 days time. "Best interests." Oh, that's good to know.

    I went to the Walk In Centre yesterday, got lucky and was called just as I'd sat down. Was home with a prescription really quickly.

    If two thirds of appointments are eliminated, why isn't it easier to get one?
  • I have just got off the telephone to the surgery and I have an appointment for next Friday which considering its not urgent is more than acceptable to me.
  • I used it this week when I had problems with my current Asthma meds. Dr Cope phone me within the hour and I went up to get a new prescription after a discussion with him. 

    Personally worked for me, very happy I didn't have to go in when it can easily be dealt with by phone. 
  • unjiniyela - you just got lucky with an appointment on August 1st.

    When I phoned, I was offered August 21st and when I expressed surprise, was told that was the earliest appointment.
  • mazmaz
    edited July 2014
    Perhaps I'm just getting far too cynical in my old age, but this is the last straw for me where the surgery is concerned. I have no idea who my doctor is since Dr Hawley retired and I'm pretty sure whoever it is has not the first clue about me or my health issues (which, thankfully, are few and far between). Now they will see even less of me and know even less about me (if that is even possible !)

    Self treatment and the Walk in Centre for anything more serious in the future it is then.

  • Origanally when I rang before you jray I was told the earliest appointment was 27th August a wait of five weeks. 
  • Sorry about spelling.
  • Rang today and 4 week wait to get appointment. Yet,according to their website they are still taking new
    registrations ! 
  • New patients are not allocated to a specific doctor. I think the list was closed a few years ago then opened when there was space. Maybe the surgery is not allowed to do this now. The new system of appointments on the day has worked for me. I recieved a return phone call within an hour and was asked to come straight to the surgery. Seen within ten minutes however to make a general appointment four weeks!
  • edited July 2014
    4 weeks should not be acceptable. The waiting time has increased 4 fold over the last couple of years. Over 75's do get allocated a specific doctor. The waiting list should be closed so as not to put present patients at risk. How do you know if a "minor" ailment could be serious ? And don't say go to the Walk in Centre, you have a doctor and he/she should be available within a reasonable time.
  • I've been allocated several "usual doctors" over my 30 years residence, but the last one left last year and I seem to be unattached. I don't mind as long as someone is available.
  • Interesting news item suggesting that phone consultations require more subsequent visits to the doctor and are not the 'silver bullet' to reduce patient visits.
  • Yup,seems this system won't save time and effort at all.
  • I also heard this news item, which simply underlines people's experience here...sigh.
  • Has anyone noticed this in today's Daily Mail? 

    It would appear that someone is trying to set up an alternative surgery to rival the present one instead of just trying to find new premises.

    "And in Essex, residents  frustrated by long waits to see a GP are trying to start their own medical centre.

    The bid to run a GP surgery funded directly by the community in Wivenhoe is particularly intriguing because it has echoes of the Free Schools initiative started by former Education Secretary Michael Gove."

    Read more: 
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
  • That story may refer to this old one:
    The journalist may have dug it up in a search.
  • That probably explains it. Just an old story being misread and being presented as current.
    It is an attractive idea though to be able to set up our own surgery so that we have more choice and not have to wait so long for an appointment.

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