Medical centre to offer ‘urgent appointments only’ ahead of service update

Beccles Health Campus. PHOTO: Kieran Lynch

Beccles Health Campus. PHOTO: Kieran Lynch - Credit: Kieran Lynch

A town's medical centre will only offer urgent appointments for 19 days, as it announced there will be a change to its current clinical system.

Following a public meeting on May 1, the Beccles Medical Centre announced plans to improve the service after a public survey.

According to the patient experience survey which was conducted in 2018, 85pc of people rated the practice "good", "very good" or "excellent."

However, the medical centre was found to be below the national average for telephone access as well as opening hours - which are currently 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

In the public meeting, Dr Julia McLean outlined the vision for the practice and improvements made its service.

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These included an increase in the number of care navigators answering phones during peak times.

According to the centre, this has resulted in a reduced average call waiting time for patients.

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At the community meeting, Dr McLean announced on July 1 there will be a planned change of the clinical system, and acknowledged the migration to the system would "cause disruption".

A spokesperson for the Beccles Medical Centre said: "Beccles Medical Centre are preparing to change clinical systems with our new system going live on Thursday 18th of July. Due to the limitation in clinical system we will be able to use, we are only able to offer medically urgent appointments from Monday July 1 through to Friday July 19 inclusive.

"Non-urgent conditions should be managed in the short term, by visiting a pharmacy or contacting NHS111. We are confident that the long-term benefits of changing the system outweigh the short-term inconvenience being experienced by some patients, for which we apologise," they said

The medical centre said this new service will allow patients better access to universal services, further digital developments and will include the NHS app - which will give access to records, prescriptions and appointment booking.

Dr McLean said "We are always looking for opportunities to improve, and welcome suggestions from patients.

She encouraged patients to get involved in the Patient Participation Group (PPG) where they can formally contribute.

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