Major change to GP appointments set to affect millions – are you impacted? | The Sun
GP receptionists will stop telling patients to “call back later” under plans to boost face-to-face appointments.
Instead, they will have to tell callers that same day how they aim to sort them a booking within a fortnight at the latest.
Ministers want to end the “8am scramble” where people are forced to phone their practice first thing if they hope to see a doctor.
An average surgery reception is inundated with 100 calls in the first hour on a Monday.
To cut the logjam, Health Secretary Steve Barclay is announcing £240million of funding for centres to replace old phones that leave patients despairing at engaged tones.
They will be upgraded to either keep callers in a queue or to provide a call-back feature to arrange a slot.
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Mr Barclay plans to rebrand NHS receptionists into “care navigators” who will take details from patients and find them the most suitable doctor.
They will also ensure patients who want to see a preferred GP can do so, while others will see the duty doctor.
An urgent call will be seen to that day, and all calls must result in an appointment within two weeks.
Mr Barclay said: “We are improving technology and reducing bureaucracy, increasing staffing and changing the way primary care services are provided, which are helping to deliver on the Government’s promise to cut waiting lists.”
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Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said: “The reason people can’t get a GP appointment is the Conservatives have cut 2,000 GPs.”
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