Posted by at 29/10/2013 10:47:53
Winter is a time when health services can be stretched, but local practices want to reassure people that it’s still easy to get an urgent appointment with their GP.
All 22 practices across the Canterbury, Faversham, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Sandwich and Ash areas are signed up to the ‘Professional Standards for Urgent Care’. This means that:
- Patients requiring urgent attention should always be offered the most appropriate type of appointment with a doctor or nurse, either face-to-face, over the phone or at home;
- Each practice is available between 8am and 6.30pm, Monday to Friday (except for public holidays or training afternoons);
- Patients should never be asked to ‘please call back’ for urgent matters; and
- Practices will do their best to make sure all children are seen on the day an urgent appointment is requested.
Dr Mark Jones, Chair of NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “People sometimes believe the health myths, such as eating oranges will cure a cold and it being impossible to get an appointment with your doctor at this time of year. We want to make it absolutely clear that if you are unwell and you ask for an urgent appointment, you will be offered one.
He added: “If you or a loved one is feeling unwell, your first port of call should always be your local practice. If you say you need an urgent appointment, your practice will help you. It’s important to remember that you don’t just have to see ‘your’ doctor. All clinicians in a practice will be able to access your medical notes if needed.”
NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG’s Professional Standards for Urgent Care apply best practice findings from the Primary Care Foundation’s report ‘Urgent Care, a practical guide to transforming same-day care in general practice’.
Dr Jeremy Carter, NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG Herne Bay representative and GP at Park Surgery, said: “As part of signing up to the Professional Standards of Urgent Care we introduced a new triage system in April of this year. This means that patients can now phone up and request an urgent assessment over the phone and a GP will call them back - either as soon as possible or at a time that is convenient for the patient.
“We will continue to adapt what we offer to try and best suit our patients. So far we have had lots of positive feedback on the new system. We are pleased that we are able to offer such a responsive and timely service to those that need urgent health advice or treatment.”
If you think your practice isn’t following the Professional Standards for Urgent Care you should raise your concerns with the Practice Manager, your Practice Participation Group (PPG) or by contacting NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG (01227 firstname.lastname@example.org).