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Busy doctor's surgery vets patients' symptoms to combat high demand
9:40am Tuesday 12th March 2013 in Echo News
A SWAMPED doctor’s surgery is screening patient’s symptoms in order to cope with increasing demand for same day appointments.
Langdon Hills Medical Centre, in Nightingales, is trialling the new system as part of a bid to fit in all patients who call up.
Patients are asked to explain their symptoms to a receptionist and are put on the system for a telephone call.
The GP then decides if the patient needs an appointment.
Marguerite Cutting, practice manager, said: “It’s not the receptionist’s job to decide whether someone needs an appointment or not, it’s a way of us making sure everyone is dealt with.
“We don’t like turning people away, we like to deal with everything on the day if we can.
“Some things can be dealt with over the phone, some people may just need advice or reassurance but if a doctor feels they need to see a patient, they will be brought straight in and added to the clinic.”
The new system, which is not compulsory and patients do not have to reveal their symptoms, comes at a time when many surgeries in Basildon, Vange and Laindon are all operating with more patients than the national average of 1,800 per doctor.
Langdon Hills is one of those that is above the average, but Mrs Cutting explained her doctors were almost always staying after hours to ensure everyone gets seen.
She said: “Their days are completely full.
“Demand is getting very high, patients have high expectations and so they should have, but we do get a lot of people ringing on the day that want to be seen that day, so we’re trying different routes to meet that expectation.”