GIFFORDS Surgery in Melksham has responded to criticism from a patient who was unhappy about the time it took for the surgery to respond to his call. The surgery explained that the wait some patients are experiencing is due to exceptionally high patient demand (along with other local practices), and staff sickness and having to isolate.
The patient explained, “I spent quite a while yesterday afternoon getting through to the Surgery to discuss changing medication. After a brief chat I was told to call back today at 8am which I attempted to do. I flattened the batteries of two cordless phones listening to repeated issuings of “Your call is important to us” after a member of staff finished giving out the ‘leading particulars.’ I gave up, but eventually managed a conversation at 10.00am, to be told that I’ll be called by a doctor at 3.30pm. In these highly technological times, there has got to be a better way.”
In her reply to the patient, who did not wish to be named, Dr Abby Burgess, partner of Giffords Surgery in Spa Road said, “We value your feedback and would always prefer for patients to contact us directly with any concerns or suggestions so they can be addressed fully.
“We are sorry that some patients are experiencing a wait when contacting the practice. All local practices are experiencing exceptionally high patient demand.
“We are continually growing our care navigation team to ensure the phones are answered as promptly as possible and that the patient is referred to the most appropriate service or clinician.
“Regrettably, our staff are not immune to illness and current government isolation procedures which can impact unexpectedly on our service.
“A further challenge to us is rudeness and abuse to our staff as this results in difficulties retaining valued and skilled members of the team.
“We apologise for the wait you experienced on the phone, but we are glad to note when you called the following day you were able to speak with a doctor on the same day.
“We would suggest that if patients are calling for a non-urgent matter, for example obtaining results, administrative enquiries, and non-urgent medication issues, it may be sensible to call after 11am, as 8-11am are our peak times for urgent contact.
“Giffords patients can contact the POD (Prescription Ordering Direct) on 0300 123 6242 with any medication issues
“The practice is accessible for non-urgent correspondence via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org. We would also like to remind patients that advice and help can also be accessed via our website, NHS website, your local pharmacy team and 111.”