We have changed the way you make an appointment and access our other services

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GP practices in the UK have never been under so much pressure. There is less funding for GPs now than there was a decade ago, there are fewer GPs – and we lose more every year – and the demand for our services is greater than it has ever been. As a result we are asking more of our doctors and other staff than we have ever done before.

And, inevitably, the large and growing gap between demand and capacity means it has become much harder for you, our patients, to access our services than it has ever been.

The place that you feel that the most is in the 8am telephone rush. It is a terrible telephone lottery with few winners.

Whilst we may never again have sufficient capacity to satisfy our total demand, we are determined to do something to fix what we can.

In early July 23 we implemented a new system called Klinik. We believe it has helped us eliminate the 8 am telephone lottery.

Whilst it will help you in a number of ways there are two primary benefits:

  • It marks a shift to effective online access to our services as we become a ‘digital first’ practice, and,
  • It supports a consistent approach to clinical triage of patient need.

Klinik has replaced eConsult but it goes much further than eConsult did. The primary way to contact the Practice is online via our website and we have Klinik online open from 7.30am to 4.30pm each working day. Of course we realise that not everyone has access online and we will still have a reduced capacity to handle telephone calls and in-person visits to our sites, but, in both instances, our care navigation team will take you through the same series of questions you would have answered if you had taken the online route.

The triage capability provided by Klinik will allow our GP-led clinical triage team to prioritise care based on needs. So, in a consistent and fair way, we will focus our efforts first on patients who need us the most. This is a dramatic shift from our first-come-first-served approach.

The clinical triage team will also be allocating patients who have been triaged to the most appropriate resource to deal with their needs. In primary care these days we have specialist non-doctor clinical resources who are extremely skilled in their areas of expertise. Roles like advanced clinical pharmacist, first contact physiotherapists, nurses and nurse associates, advanced clinical practitioners, paramedic practitioners, physician associates and health care associates have a vital role to play in delivering excellence in care. If the clinical triage team directs you to one of these practitioners it is not because they are fobbing you off, but because they have determined this is the best course of action to address your need.

What is Klinik

Klinik is both a digital front door to our practice and a ‘total triage’ portal. It is a cloud-based service accessed via our website.

We are using triage to offer safe and fair access to our appointments based on medical need.

Triage is the assignment of urgency of illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients. Triage has been used in medical settings, for example, at hospital A&E, for many years. We are adopting a model of total triage which means that every patient request for care will be reviewed before an appointment is booked. We are establishing a new GP-led clinical triage team in the practice who will ultimately be making triage decisions with the support of the Klinik triage tools.

Our Klinik online portal will be open each week day (excluding public holidays) between 7.30am and 4.30pm. Patients will be asked to submit their appointment request online and will be asked to complete a symptoms questionnaire which will ultimately be assessed by the clinical triage team.

How to make an appointment

We are aware that at the moment getting an appointment means a long wait on the phone lines (if you can even join the queue) at 8am; this isn’t fair for patients, or our call handling staff. We want all patients to have the same opportunity to access our services and for us to be able to prioritise based on clinical need.

You will be able to use the online system via our website to submit appointment requests for new medical problems or ask for assistance with a range of other services. The screenshot below shows you what the interface will look like. The system covers various different areas and should be the main point of contact with the surgery.

Using the online forms will be the quickest and most efficient way for you to tell us about a new medical problem. Please be assured that the online form is not the only way to access our care. You can still call us if you’re genuinely not able to use the online form. Our team on the phone will guide you through the same system and ask you questions about your medical needs. Please be factual and courteous with our staff, the more information you give them the better able they will be to direct you to the right person. We will also have touch screen tablets available for patients to use at our three sites (ask at reception). These can be used to submit requests for care.

What is a Care Navigator?

In advance of the Klinik roll out we have upgraded the role of our receptionists and they will now be care navigators. Care navigators are an important part of the health care team, providing the first point of contact for all patients who get in touch with the practice. Their job is to make sure patients get access to the right care as quickly as possible. If you do call or visit AMP instead of using the online services you will be talking to one of our care navigators. If you are seeking an appointment they will need to take you through the same triage pathway as if you completed the online journey yourself. This means they may ask you more questions than you have been used to in the past.

Please be assured that confidentiality of patient information is of the utmost importance to them. Asking these questions is necessary to ensure you get access to the best care. They are not prying, so please be understanding as they undertake their job.