New patient booking service
Barnsley health chiefs introduce new patient booking service to improve access for 200,000 patients
Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in South Yorkshire is introducing a new 24 hour telephone appointment booking system across most of the borough’s GP practices to improve access for over 200,000 residents. The programme has been funded by the CCG as part of the organisation’s drive to improve communication with patients, improve patient access to GP practices and reduce the number of missed GP appointments. So far, 30 of the 37 Practices have chosen to implement this facility for their patients.
The system, known as ‘Patient Partner’, is being installed at eight surgeries during the first phase of the project. The service will then be rolled out across 22 more surgeries by winter 2014.
Patient Partner enables patients to book, check, cancel and rearrange an appointment 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without speaking to a receptionist.
The first Patient Partner system went live at the Kakoty Practice in central Barnsley at the end of May. It was Practice Manager Marie Hoyle who first heard of the system and brought it to the attention of the CCG. Marie comments: “We believe that it will make a hugely positive difference to our patients who won’t have to wait until the surgery is open as they will be able to book, check or cancel appointments at any time of day or night.”
“Our staff are excited about its introduction. This is a real step forward in the quality of patient access to GPs in Barnsley and we are delighted that the CCG is supporting surgeries in this practical way.”
Chris Ruddlesdin, Lay Member for the CCG and Chair of the Patient Council, also feels that the service will make a real difference to patient care in the region. “This installation demonstrates Barnsley CCG’s commitment to improving communication with patients. The Patient Council recently had a demonstration of the system and we are very excited and supportive of this development in Barnsley. It appears to be a simple and efficient way of making it easier for patients to manage their appointments – which has to be good news for both surgeries and their patients.”
Patient Partner is currently used by around 8 million patients across the UK.
“Our aim is to ensure that we put Barnsley people first so that they receive the best healthcare service possible,” comments Dr Nick Balac, Chair of Barnsley CCG.
“We are delighted that practices in Barnsley are using Patient Partner to help with patient access and engagement,” comments Voice Connect’s MD Stefan Olsberg. “It’s important to offer patients a choice in how and when they book their appointments. Furthermore, GP surgeries are most heavily used by the 65 plus age group, many of whom may prefer to use the telephone, rather than go via the surgery website, to book their appointments.”
For more information regarding the Patient Partner click here.