Peartree GP surgery manager speaks out about patient survey

PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 September 2018

Peartree Surgery

Peartree Surgery

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Peartree Group Practice has responded to the most recent GP Patient Survey where it received mixed reviews.

In the national survey, conducted by Ipsos Mori, patients rated Peartree worst in Welwyn Hatfield on three key measures: getting through on the phone, meeting patients’ needs, and overall experience.

Fifteen per cent of respondents had said their needs had not been met at their last appointment.

Peartree, which comprises surgeries in Peartree, Moors Walk and Hollybush, has only since 2017 been taken out of special measures and is now rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as a result of what it called ‘significant changes’ at the surgery.

Practice manager James Brookman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times about the changes afoot that he says are starting to be felt by the group’s 20,000 patients.

“There has been a significant overhaul in our service provision and inevitably, the patient experience may vary as systems take time to embed,” he added.

He also pointed out that, while the GP Patient survey was conducted in January and March, the surgery group’s own Patient Representation Group (PRG) had done a more recent poll during June and July which had more positive results.

The surgery has implemented a new telephone system, which Mr Brookman argues patients need time to get used to.

Where the GP Patient Survey found that just 38 per cent of respondents said it was easy to get through on the phone, the later PRG polling put this at 64 per cent.

And while only 60 per cent of patients in the GP Patient Survey rated the practice as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, the PRG survey found that figure to be 94 per cent.

Mr Brookman added that the PRG polled roughly twice the number of people who responded to the GP Patient Survey.

Another change has been adding a telephone triage system, which offers an urgent telephone appointment to all patients who request one.

“Our system offers huge flexibility and GPs can either give advice, or offer patients a same day appointment in surgery,” said Mr Brookman.

“Practices which have an established triage system have very high accessibility scores and we fully expect the same at Peartree.

Peartree has also recently recruited a new GP, a clinical pharmacist, a nurse practitioner and two prescribing minor-illness nurses. The new nurses will hopefully free up GP time, explained Mr Brookman.

“Consequently, all of our GP appointments are assigned more substantial and usually complex medical problems.

“Inevitably this can result in a slightly longer consultation,” he said, in response to the survey finding that around one in five patients were experiencing over half an hour’s delay in the waiting room.

“Crucially, we are now able to ensure that patients are seen by the most appropriate clinican, at the most appropriate time,” he added.

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