Lakeside Healthcare, which has surgeries across Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire, apologised in June when patients said they were waiting for an hour to get through or were cut off.
Now a spokesman has said they are rolling out a cloud based telephony infrastructure which means that there is no constraint on the capacity of calls it can handle. It also has call-back functionality which means that patients won’t have to wait in a queue and their position is kept ‘virtually’ allowing staff to call them back in order.
Shoosmiths, which has an office nearby in Northampton, believes that whilst this is welcome news, telephone appointments, even if easier to obtain, should complement face to face appointments and not be a substitute for them. Andrea Rusbridge, head of the clinical negligence team in Northampton, says:
“A GP consultation starts from the point the patient enters the room and sometimes it is the way that patient walks into the room which is a relevant clinical sign as to the nature of the underlying problem giving rise to the symptoms the patient is presenting with. However, the patient may not appreciate the significance of the limitation in mobility, particularly if it is one of a range of symptoms, and not mention it during a telephone consultation and there is then a lost opportunity to make the correct diagnosis or consider a differential diagnosis.”
Andrea expressed the hope that the new telephony infrastructure will ensure that appointments for both telephone and face to face consultations can be made with ease.
Affected surgeries included Lakeside Surgery and Forest Gate Surgery in Corby, Brigstock Surgery, Headlands Surgery in Kettering and Oundle Medical Practice.