Providing a reliable and trustworthy service to GP practices is the main focus of Practice Assist. We invest in detailed preparation, so the whole practice team understands and supports the system while patients are fully informed of the new development in the service.
We visit practices, often several times, and train the whole team to ensure the new structure is ready to move into place smoothly, with the least disruption to both practitioners and patients. Our team’s attention to detail in the preparation stages is what makes the vital difference in how easily the new service is embedded in the practice’s work.
We support the practice in consulting its patients – managing concerns and needs at an early stage is crucial to success, both for us and for the GPs.
Managing expectations is important too – we make it clear that, while telephone consultations will support the large majority of patients, there are some groups which are more likely to need face-to-face consultations. These include children under two, patients with language difficulties and those with hearing impairments. Our service indirectly supports them too, because it relieves pressure on the appointments system so that they can be seen the same day.
We know that some patients will prefer a face-to-face consultation and the Practice Assist system allows for that. We aim to increase ease of access, not to restrict it. But we offer a real and trusted alternative to ease the pressure.
Practice Assist supports GPs and relieves them from the daily burden of ever-expanding lists. It takes the pressure off reception staff who have to manage the morning rush each day and deal with the complaints when patients can’t get an appointment when they need one. It gives practices the confidence that their patients will receive a convenient and high quality GP consultation when required, with all the necessary follow-up, such as prescriptions and referrals for tests and appointments, that they would expect from a face-to-face appointment.