Dr. Caroline Taylor, GP Partner at Calderdale’s Beechwood Medical Centre, was surprised at the ease with which the Practice Assist service was implemented.
Dr. Taylor said, “Practice Assist has provided an excellent alternative access opportunity for our patients, allowing us to increase our capacity to offer timely consultations.
"The administrative systems that have been put in place have worked well and with relatively few problems considering the large number of GPs that work to provide the service."
Dr. Taylor explained, “I expected many more issues with getting the systems specific to our practice to be followed properly but it has been quite straightforward especially since we increased from a four to five day service. Once we have the same offer for patients every day it was easy for both patients and staff to understand and utilise, meaning our face-to-face appointments are reserved for the patients who need to be seen.
"We’re seeing positive feedback from our patients about the Practice Assist service since a phone conversation with a doctor doesn’t interrupt a patient’s day as much as having to come into the surgery does. When a patient speaks to a doctor who feels they do need to come in and be seen, they are happy to do so because they understand the need and the reason behind it. We’ve had no complaints about the service from our patients and in fact many have been positive in their feedback.
"We are very concerned about how we will go back to managing without practice assist at the end of the pilot!"