Cofton Medical Centre

Providing NHS Services

Access Improvement Plan

Dear Patients

At Cofton Medical Centre we are committed to delivering the best access possible with the resources available and within both local and national legislation.

We have decided that change is now necessary – the long telephone waits and the early morning rush for appointments, whilst common to many GP practices, is not acceptable. We have attempted many small scale changes recently however these have proven to be ineffective against demand.

In line with the NHS England national plan to restore primary care access and recent contractual changes we have drawn up a practice Access Improvement Plan.

The Access Improvement Plan covers three areas:

  • Improving access to appointments at the practice

This includes improved care navigation and signposting to enable you to see the ‘right person first time’ and designing a new appointment book structure to enable more flexibility when booking appointments.

  • Improving telephone access to the practice

You may have noticed that we have already changed the recorded message on the telephone system so it is shorter, whilst remaining informative. Changes in other areas of access should also reduce the number of calls coming into the practice.

  • Improving digital access to the practice

63% of our patients aged over 13 are already registered for the NHS app. The app is constantly being reviewed and updated to make accessing the practice (and the wider NHS) easier for patients.

We will also be looking into introducing an online triage system which allows you to submit a non-urgent query for anything from requesting an appointment to checking a prescription. Trained care navigators will review each query.

We recognise that making too many changes at once can become confusing, having the opposite effect and making access worse. For this reason we will be implementing these changes in stages over a number of months to ensure each stage is running properly.

We are going to start by introducing improved care navigation and signposting for patients contacting the surgery. This will begin on Monday 8th April 2024. The introduction of different roles at the practice (such as paramedics and physiotherapists) and community pharmacy schemes (such as ‘pharmacy first’) by NHS England means that there are now many things that can be seen by someone other than a GP – and sometimes not at the GP Practice!

The GP Partners at the practice will be training the Care Navigators in reception how to deal with different requests, including how to decide what can safely be seen elsewhere and what needs to be seen by a clinician at the practice. For this reason you may be asked a few questions when you contact the practice including information about your problem. This will help us find the best place for you to receive care. You may even be told that you do not need to be seen at the practice.

Over the past few years there have been huge changes in the NHS and we are hugely grateful to how our patients have adapted to these. We hope that this same approach, working together, we can improve access at the practice, ensuring we are available for those who need us, when they need us.

Thank you in advance for your co-operation and understanding.

Dr Blackford, Dr Noor, Dr Lloyd, Dr Pinder, Dr Kent and Dr Gupta

GP Partners at Cofton Medical Centre