A surgery under pressure from housing developments is cutting its number of GP appointments by introducing telephone consultations.

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Roundwell Medical Centre off Dereham Road, Costessey, will introduce a new appointment system from July 30 to cope with patient demand.

They said: “We know that we are struggling to meet the demand for appointments both routinely and on the day.

“We have been trying to identify a practical solution which aims to continue the ethos of the traditional family doctor, which we have been so proud of and balancing the demand for appointments.”

Patients will tell receptionists what their symptoms are and a doctor will call them back within two hours.

If the GP then thinks a consultation is necessary an appointment will be made for the day or later that week with a doctor or nurse.

Costessey county councillor Tim East, said the plans were “wholly unacceptable” and “ludicrous”.

He said: “If you are planning to restrict appointments to conversations with your doctor then I think that is retrogressive.”

But the surgery hopes to slash waiting times and wasted appointments with many cases being dealt with through a consultation over the phone and a prescription arranged by telephone.

In its June newsletter the surgery put the rising demand down to a growing population as more housing is built around Costessey.

There are plans for a further 580 homes near the surgery at Lodge Farm, and Queen’s Hills will also expand.

Surgery manager Jan Hardinge said the developments would mean an extra 3,810 patents which would be split between Bowthorpe, Beechcroft, and Roundwell.

Roundwell surgery was build with capacity for 14,500 patients and has 11,265.

Mrs Hardinge said: “Patients will be seen appropriately by the right health care professional.

“There will be a prompt service.

“Doctors will basically triage patients before they are given an appointment.”

She said the new system would mean waiting times would be reduced and patients would no longer have to call at 8.30am to get an appointment for that day.

Other surgeries that have trialed the system have reduced face-to-face appointments with GPs by two thirds.

•Do you have a story about Costessey for the Evening News? Contact reporter Tom Bristow on 01603772313 or email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk.

6 comments

  • Maybe the GP's can take a pay cut from the £100k+ salaries so that other GP's can be employed.

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    Crazy

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

  • If a patient feels that they need to be seen by a Doctor then surely it is the Doctor's responsibility to see them. I worked in a GP surgery for 20 years and know that patients do not like having to tell receptionists what their symptoms are - there could be a misunderstanding on the receptionist's part and messages passed on that do not signal the urgency of the appointment - it is already hard enough to see a doctor, this just seems to be putting another obstacle in the way. Elderly people - who often don't like to be felt a nuisance - may put off their telephone call knowing it is being intercepted , young mum's may leave things that need to be picked up on. The doctors seem to be getting further and further away from the vocation that called them in the first place. Why not take on another doctor if the lists are growing.

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    MrsP

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • Maybe the GP's can take a pay cut from the £100k+ salaries so that other GP's can be employed.

    Report this comment

    Crazy

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

  • This system discriminates against the deaf deafened and hard of hearing who may not need to use type talk phones as a matter of routine because it is pretty much possible to manage with a PC and sms messages but who will have to buy a type talk phone in order to communicate with their GP. As well as the alarm systems to let them know their GP is calling them back. It is also a system which makes it difficult for those who have to arrange transport with a third party.

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    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

  • Maybe the GP's can take a pay cut from the £100k+ salaries so that other GP's can be employed.

    Report this comment

    Crazy

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

  • This system discriminates against the deaf deafened and hard of hearing who may not need to use type talk phones as a matter of routine because it is pretty much possible to manage with a PC and sms messages but who will have to buy a type talk phone in order to communicate with their GP. As well as the alarm systems to let them know their GP is calling them back. It is also a system which makes it difficult for those who have to arrange transport with a third party. I have experience first and second hand of this call back system and it is very inconvenient. It might work for the GPs, because when this system is operating waiting rooms are empty and there seems to be slack time in between appointments. I also have experience of a GP making a diagnosis over the phone rather than make a home visit. The diagnosis was badly wrong and the person concerned was admitted to hospital as an emergency and nearly died. How a GP can suggest prescribing over the phone is sound practice unless it is a repeat prescription confounds belief. It is no wonder that A&E and walk in clinics are so popular.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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