Corby Lakeside patients' verdict on new phone system
One patient who wanted an appointment was offered a wash from a care service provider
A month after Corby' s largest GP practice introduced a new phone system, some patients are still experiencing delays and problems speaking to medical staff.
The Lakeside super-practice has replaced the previous phone system for use by patients at the Cottingham Road base with a new version.
In May, Lakeside managers apologised to patients trying to get through for appointments and promised investment in a new phone system to make it easier for those calling, with patients given an automated call back based on their queue position rather than waiting on the phone or calling multiple times.
One patient, who is living with a long-term heart condition and has had multiple stents put in, once made 171 calls to get through only to be told to call earlier.
But he is still having issues with the new system having been left unable to get an appointment today.
The 56-year-old said: "I phoned to speak to my doctor this morning. I was 58 in the queue. I pressed '8' to get a automated call back.
"Then a call came through on a private number. I was near my phone and it rang three times but I didn't get to the phone in time.
"I called back again and said I think I had a missed call from the doctor and was told that I couldn't possibly get an appointment now because the doctors were too busy, my only option was to call back tomorrow.
"Instead I was offered an appointment with the respiratory team. Then I was contacted by an outside care service asking if I wanted them to come round to my house and give me a wash. I don't need them to do that. I had been referred to them.
"All I can do is call again tomorrow morning. The private number is a real problem for some people. Some people who are ill can't get to the phone quickly."
A spokesman for Lakeside said: "The telephone infrastructure at Lakeside Corby was installed on schedule a month ago, however switch-over to the system was delayed so potential issues, identified by management, could be resolved by the supplier. This was to ensure a smooth transition for patients and staff. The new system is now in use at Cottingham Road, with Forest Gate to follow shortly.
"The system enables the surgery to call back patients in turn to avoid them having to make multiple calls or waiting on the line for a response. We are confident that patients will experience a significant improvement as the system is fully embedded and are monitoring data to ensure staffing is matched to times of peak demand."
Other patients have taken to social media to describe their experiences using the new system.
One said: "Phoned Lakeside at 1.50pm and they've set up new phone system. If you press 8 they will keep your place in the queue and phone you back when it's your turn apparently.
"Just dialled again, pressed option one, [a] recorded voice came on and said there were more than 60 in front of me in the queue!. 60 calls in front - that's diabolical."
Another patient had waited from their initial call at 1.15pm to receive a call back at 3.35pm.
But another was satisfied. After an 8am call they spoke to a GP 45 minutes later and had "no complaints".