This facility allows you to select your problem and answer a list questions. The information you provide is sent to a doctor who then decides the next step needed and you would be contacted accordingly.

Please note this is only to be used for routine admin related queries such as fit note requests or an ongoing referral query. This is also not to be used for urgent on the day care as it can take up to 5 working days for the GP's to action.

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Dear Patient,

During the Covid-19 pandemic many practices moved towards a telephone appointment system. Over the past 6 months we have been actively monitoring patient feedback and have also carefully considered the results of the most recent GP Patient Survey. We took part in the NHSE General Practice Improvement Programme (GPIP), signing up to the Intermediate Support package, during which time we gathered and analysed data with the aim towards improving our service delivery to our patients.

The GPIP works with practices to move towards the NHSE Modern General Practice Model. One of the findings of our GPIP was that we have limitations in what we can change because of not being in a local Primary Care Network (PCN). A PCN is a group of practices that can access additional funding and resources. After two years of discussions, we are no closer to be being able to join a PCN and we have had to look an innovative ways to maximise our resources, staffing and limited space.

Over the past couple of months, we have gradually introduced changes which we hope have brought improvement to patient experience in accessing appointments at Charlton. Although it took longer to get up and running due to IT issues, and there were a few teething problems in the beginning, the introduction of our upgraded telephone Call Back System has been welcomed by both patients and staff alike. We have had very positive feedback from those that have used the new system. The option of a call back without losing their place in the queue, allows patients to continue with other things without needing to hang on the phone listening to repeated music and messages. The call back system operates during our peak telephone times of 8.30am-10.30am and 2pm-3.30pm. We are grateful for your patience whilst we ironed out the creases to get this system fully functional and whilst we provided our Reception team with the training required to operate the new system.

Another change which you will have noticed is that we have been steadily moving our GP appointment books back to a predominantly face-to-face model. We appreciate that many will have got used to the option of a telephone appointment, but we have listened to patient feedback through the GP Patient Survey and the media in general and have taken the decision to move our GP appointments back to face-to-face. As a result, you may find the waiting rooms busier at times and we would like to draw your attention to the upstairs waiting room which has a quiet area for patients that struggle with sensory overload. PLEASE NOTE: If you are using the online appointment booking system, these appointments are face-to-face and you are expected to attend the surgery for your appointment. You will not be offered the alternative of a telephone appointment.

If you ring the practice for an on the day appointment, our Reception Team will ask you some simple triage questions. They have been trained to ask these questions so that they can book you an appropriate appointment or direct you to an alternative service such as the Community Pharmacy Consultation Scheme, 111 or A&E should this be suitable. Please note that our Reception Team are only able to book the appointments that are available. They cannot “squeeze in” extra appointments as our clinical team need to work safely within the time they have available to provide good patient care. Our Reception Team will not be able to offer telephone appointments instead of face-to-face appointments. Our housebound patients are reminded that you need to request a home visit BEFORE 11am for a home visit to be allocated, if the request is considered appropriate and you are considered housebound by the surgery.

We have been fortunate to be able to recruit 6 new administrative team members over the past 6 months, and we have 3 administrative vacancies on NHS Jobs which we are confident we will fill. We ask our patients to be considerate to those that are in training. It may take them longer to find the answers to queries as they are learning how to navigate our systems and processes. This is a reminder that we will not tolerate any abuse of our staff (verbal or physical) and any incidents will be fully investigated and our Zero Tolerance policy will be rigorously adhered to.

We will continuously monitor and review the changes we have introduced alongside feedback we receive, and we may need to make further adjustments to the appointment system.

It is our hope that you will embrace the changes we have introduced and that there will be further improvements to the service we are delivering and the patient experience. We welcome constructive feedback which we can use to bring about further positive changes where required. We also love to be able to share good news stories and positive experiences amongst our team, so please do feed these back to us too.


Yours Sincerely

Carrie Anne Wood

Practice Manager