Patient Notice regarding e-Consult and wait times

I would like to address the current dissatisfaction with wait times on the phones, along with general appointments and explain how our current system works, so you have an improved understanding what to expect when you contact us, please.

Over the last four months we have had an unprecedented number of communications. In that period, we have received an additional 14,500 calls and requests via our various channels based upon the Covid Vaccination Programme. This represents a huge volume of work which are endeavouring to get through, giving each request the appropriate attention to ensure we meet deadlines for people’s vaccines. As people have commenced venturing out more and the upcoming flu season, will increase workload. We are trying our hardest to get through all enquiries as quickly as possible.

We request your patience and understanding please, especially when contacting the surgery. Your request will be seen to and dealt with as soon as we are able. If you need to be seen urgently and we are at capacity, the walk-in centre is open 7 days a week from 7AM until 9PM. Please understand this is not the Surgery “Fobbing Off”. This service is used by all Norwich Practices when Doctors appointments are exhausted on the day.

Recently we introduced e-Consult as a further method of contacting us. Whilst we firmly believe that e-Consult provides the best patient experience to getting the appropriate help as soon as possible, there are areas that we would like to bring your attention to, to help you know what to expect when you contact us this way. When you initially put your e-Consult through to us, you will receive an automated message stating that it has been received at the Surgery. You are also informed you will get a response by 18.30 the following day. This message is fully automated and something that we do not control. We will try and fit in appointments in the time period if clinically required and we do try to get back to each patient within the time frame to inform of a date a GP will make contact for an appointment. We are currently unable to meet this every day due to the volume of incoming requests we are receiving, so your patience in this matter would be appreciated please.

Our aim is for e-Consult to be patients’ main point of contact for any health problems that you need our help with, however, accepting some people do not have internet, devices or cannot use a computer, the phone can be used to contact us. You can call and speak to one of our receptionist team who can signpost you to the appropriate department.

We believe eConsult is a strong system for us to be able to meet all requests in a timely fashion. The Doctors experience less time in identifying problems, allowing more time to look at solutions. This breaks down when we receive duplicate requests through various contact methods. We have had patients putting their requests through e-Consult, and then through our website soon after, only to then phone in a matter of hours. This duplication of work has an adverse impact on us, so really needs to be avoided please.

We also have our FootFall website (www.thorpewoodmedicalgroup.nhs.uk) as an avenue that can be used to contact us. This is for new patient registrations and registration for online services amongst a small number of other services.

Be assured that we will get to your request in due course. If your problem becomes urgent then there are options such as the walk-in centre as mentioned earlier.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Kind regards,
Thorpewood Medical Group