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Why are patients asked to provide a short description of the medical issue when the patient calls in to request a call back?

It is very helpful to the clinician who calls the patient back to consider the issue in advance of calling back so that he/she can be prepared (advice, forms, prescribing).

The clinician can see the descriptions on screen and may decide to call back a patient immediately if the description is very concerning, potentially serious or life threatening.

If a short description is provided our reception staff can make sure that the patient speaks to the most appropriate person for those symptoms.

For example a patient does not need to see a GP to have bloods taken. If the patient gives the reason for calling the receptionist can be very helpful and book in an appointment with a phlebotomist in this case.

There is a specific phone line for repeat prescriptions as well 01546 462 003.

There is no obligation to give any detail. Our receptionists are very sympathetic and do not press for information at all if the patient is not willing to give a short description but there are many good reasons why you should and it really helps us help the patient effectively.

All our staff are bound by confidentiality agreements and can’t divulge any patient details. The reception staff are a part of a big team there to support the patient community. The staff are there to help you get the highest quality of patient care.

Why did the GP partners decide to change the appointment system in Lochgilphead?

There is a national problem with recruitment and retention of GPs as you will no doubt have read in the national press. There are presently 6 GPs in Lochgilphead.

It was necessary in order to maintain the high standards of service and keep the service sustainable and viable that we address mismatch of increasing demand for face to face GP appointments and falling numbers of GPs within the practice.

The GPs are committed to Inveraray, Furnace, A&E (24/7, 365 days) and the Community Hospital as well.

A decision was made to adopt a telephone consulting system to better manage the demand for face to face consults.

Not every patient needs to be seen.

Many enquiries are non urgent.

Patients were struggling to get face to face appointments.

There was huge pressure on the phones at 8am and a queue at the door with patients desperate to secure any on the day appointments and our staff were under great stress as well dealing with patients who were constantly being told there are no more available appointments and to ring back another time.

Now patients are told "yes" and you will be called back and we are managing each day's demand in full.

Our staff are happier. Patients are being cared for on the very day they need medical input.

Face to face appointments are available but it is the clinician who decides if it is necessary. Patients who need face to face appointments are given them.

Many patients have described how pleased they were that they didn't have to travel, lack of car park spaces and as a result saved time (waiting room time too) and money.

What are Advanced Nurse Practitioners?

Lochgilphead GP Practice expanded our primary care team during the summer 2017.

Hazel Whiston is our Lead Practice Nurse and participates in telephone consulting.

Emma Wilson and Lorna Mitchell are Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs). They are highly skilled senior nurses with advanced clinical skills. They are a welcome and experienced addition to the team.

Patients with acute (short term) illness may consult an ANP rather than a GP. ANPs can take a full medical history, carry out physical assessments and examinations, make a diagnosis and carry out treatment, prescribe medicines, plan follow up treatment and refer patients for investigations.

Patients should consider consulting an ANP if they have the following complaints:

- Coughs and respiratory infections
- Earache
- Urinary symptoms
- Back pain and other musculoskeletal complaints
- Constipation
- Indigestion and heartburn
- Emergency contraception

This is not an exhaustive list and the ANPs have constant access to the GPs for advice and support and will consult them as needed. If an ANP is unable to deal with a presenting problem the ANP will refer the patient immediately to a GP. GPs are still available to treat patients with complex needs.

The benefits to the patient are as follows:

- Increase in number of available telephone consultations and face to face appointments therefore shorter waiting time for assistance and medical input
- Patients will be referred to GP if ANP is unable to deal with presenting problem
- ANPs will enable GPs to have time to deal with complex cases
- Patients have the opportunity to build a rapport with another clinician

Please consider a call back from an ANP as an option that is available to you.

How do I provide feedback/comments to the GP practice?

There is an online form that can be completed on this website for comments/suggestions.

Patients could call 01546 462002 and request to speak to the Practice Manager if they have a complaint.

A few patients have chosen to criticise over social media recently. These comments have had a very negative effect on morale for our staff who work extremely hard and professionally each and every day. Due to patient confidentiality the practice is not able to respond to such posts and clarify exactly what happened or the rationale for clinical decisions.

Feedback is welcome via by appropriate methods.

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