Friends and Family Test

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FAQs

Following a review of feedback through our friends and family test system, we have looked at some common areas of feedback and offer some information below:

  • 1. Why doesn’t the surgery offer blood tests rather than having to go to hospital?
    Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust holds the contract in our area to provide blood tests and these are available at the hospital in Harlow and at Herts and Essex Community Hospital. Blood tests do not form part of the main NHS contract for GP practices in this area.
  • 2. I have been waiting a long time for a steroid injection, why is this?
    We offer steroid injections as an additional service as it is not part of our main NHS contract. We offer this service to our patients so they don’t need a referral to hospital where they would be added to a waiting list. The injections are carried out by specially trained GPs in clinics at our practice and we aim to fit patients in as quickly as possible.
  • 3. I work in London and can’t get to the surgery for the sit and wait clinics or during your opening hours.
    Appointments are bookable on Saturday mornings at South Street and on Monday evenings at Bishop’s Park and these have been available for a number of years now to accommodate patients who find it difficult to attend normal daytime surgeries. There are also plans in the local area to offer evening and weekend surgeries as part of a hub. Patients have recently been consulted on this.
  • 4. I don’t think the reception area is private enough to talk about personal issues.
    We understand that this can be an issue for some patients, and we have tried to eliminate this by installing privacy booths and ensuring those queuing are separated as much as possible, but this is difficult in a small reception area. If you explain to the receptionist that you have a personal issue, they will ask you if you’d prefer a pen and dry-wipe board to write it down. These messages will be wiped off as soon as the receptionist has read them.
  • 5. Why do I have to pay for my GP to write me a letter?
    Our GPs are willing to write letters, but these have to be done outside of clinical hours – effectively in the doctor’s own time, because writing letters for patients does not form part of our contract with the NHS. This is why we have to make a charge for these, rather than not providing such a service.
  • 6. Why do I wait so long on the phone? Why don’t you have a queuing system that tells you where you are in the queue?
    We have been experiencing issues with our BT lines over the past few months, our telephone system has been affected and our ability to answer calls at both sites has been an issue. Our telephone provider is working to rectify these issues. We worked with our Patient liaison group to review the telephone system last year, resulting in a change to our message, cutting down on the length of time that the recorded message lasts, and also changing some of the available options. We looked into providing a queue placement service, but it was felt this may not be useful as some options on our system take precedence and will place a caller back in the queue. We will review the telephone service again next year.
  • 7. Why can I not use the online appointment system to book a nurse appointment?
    Our nurses have different skill sets and not all of them are able to carry out reviews of all the long term conditions we manage. The system cannot prevent bookings that are not appropriate to the individual clinician, and so to avoid wasting appointments and patient frustrations at not being able to be seen, we are currently not offering this service.
  • 8. You don’t seem to have enough receptionists. There are often long queues.
    We have a large team of receptionist, mostly working part-time, and unfortunately we have had some vacancies in recent months. We are now fully staffed but are training our new members. We appreciate your patience and understanding whilst they are training.
  • 9. Appointments aren’t long enough. 10 minutes is not enough.
    Standard NHS GP appointment duration is 10 minutes which maximises our clinics and ability to see our patients. Occasionally some patients with more complex needs will be offered a double appointment if agreed with the named GP. If you feel that this is something you require, please take to reception about this.
  • 10. Why am I not always seen at my appointment time?
    Sometimes GPs will over run if there is an emergency, for example, or if they are seeing a patient with complex or additional needs. We always try to inform patients of delays where possible.
  • 11. There is always a high turnover of GPs at South Street – I never see the same GP twice!
    Our main GP team of Partners and Salaried GPs has remained stable for a number of years now. We are a training practice, and often have training GPs and Junior Doctors working at the Surgery for short term placements. These can be 4,6, 12 or 18 month placements.

Friends and Family Test