Corby Lakeside surgery group to invest in new phone system to ease pressure
The new system will be rolled out over the summer
More staff, better phone systems and more training - that's what has been promised by Lakeside Healthcare managers of the NHS 'Super-Practice'.
Lakeside Healthcare has surgeries across Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire including Lakeside Surgery and Forest Gate Surgery in Corby, Brigstock Surgery, Headlands Surgery in Kettering and Oundle Medical Practice.
Earlier this month this paper reported that patients trying to access their GPs by telephone had reported waits of up to an hour at the practice, with their frustration compounded when no appointment slots available.
Lakeside Corby patients had voiced their dismay with the provider forming the Facebook group 'Lakeside Surgery Dissatisfied Patients'.
A spokesman for Lakeside Surgery Corby said: "Measures are being put into place at Lakeside Surgery Corby in response to increasing patient demand over the past few months.
"The practice has recruited additional staff to bolster its regular team, has trained all its staff as call handlers and is also recruiting to a new same day multi-disciplinary service that will start in August.
"Lakeside is currently investing in its telephony infrastructure across the Group and at Corby, to improve capacity and patient experience.
"The roll-out will start over the summer. It is cloud based which means that there is no constraint on the capacity of calls it can handle. It also has call-back functionality which means that patients won’t have to wait in a queue and their position is kept ‘virtually’ allowing staff to call them back in order."
Throughout the pandemic, the surgery has been providing face-to-face appointments to those with a 'clinical need'. Demand nearly doubled in a month leaving the system unable to cope effectively.
Patients have been offered clinics through its health care assistant, practice nurse, first contact physio and social prescribing teams.
People have been encouraged to use the eConsult online platform which allows patients to book appointments logging between 800 and 1,000 unique visits a week on average.
GP Partner Dr Rosaline West said: "We understand and acknowledge the problem that our patients are facing and we are sorry for that.
"In April we were receiving contact from approximately 4,000 patients per week and in May that rose to over 7,000 patients per week so there has been a vast increase in patient contacts in a very short space of time."
Hub manager Emma Down added: "The Lakeside Corby team would like to thank our patients for their continued understanding. Please be assured that we have, and will continue to offer, face-to-face appointments for all those that clinically need one."