Okay … I think we can all agree that the past couple of years have not been exactly what we expected or what we had hoped for. COVID has, let’s be honest, royally mucked up everyone’s plans, no matter how big or small they were.
Here at The Cambridge Practice, we have been doing as much as we can to protect you – our patients – and our staff; this has included ensuring the Government guidelines like mask wearing, social distancing and hand sanitising are all followed, a new telephone triage system to reduce footfall in the Practice, which has helped reduce the risk of spreading the virus, and even an isolation room during the height of COVID. We know it’s not been easy for you all – in fact, it’s been very frustrating for you – what with things such as the new telephone triage system and more use of E-Consults, but we want to take this opportunity to thank you for bearing with us as things have changed so rapidly. Everything we have done, and everything we are doing, is to help keep you all as safe as possible – our goal has always been to protect you as much as we can from the risk of COVID and to keep the stability of a contactable GP Surgery at a time when everything else around us is changing.
Of course, then there’s the vaccine centre, which everyone has worked so hard at to get it up and running and to keep it that way; everyone has contributed something to the centre, from time help to give the vaccines to patients, to the kind volunteers ushering patients around the centre, making us all feel welcome and comfortable – because, let’s face it – vaccines can be hard for some people, so a friendly face greeting you and looking after you during the vaccination process can go a long way.
As well as dealing with COVID, the Practice underwent a CQC inspection, and we are very pleased to say we are rated Good under the CQC rating system.
On 14th December, the Practice was involved in a Patient Participation Group (PPG) meeting, and one of the main outcomes of this was an agreement on the emphasis of the benefits of patient access for booking appointments. As a patient, you are able to book your own appointment online via Patient Access – to me, this sounds perfect; it enables you to book something that suits you, and also means you don’t have to wait in the phone queue, so can book appointments at your ease, from your own home – even your own bed if you want – no early mornings spent on the phone line, no having to get your brain functioning before 8am in order to sound presentable on the phone … and if you’re able to … no early morning full stop!
On a slightly different note – I don’t know about you, but I find the itty-gritty details of things can be very interesting, and one of the things within the Practice I find fascinating is the phone recording system. In the Call Handlers room, we have fitted a screen that displays several values – how many people are currently waiting in the phone queue (I am pleased to say that when I viewed this screen, there were 0 waiting – how good is that?!), the average waiting time for those in the call queue, active calls (how many calls are currently being answered), the average time spent on the phone by our Call Handlers, the overall number of answered calls (which was an impressive 544 already when I saw the screen), and how many calls have been abandoned / how many people have hung up. It is extremely interesting to see how these values change each day, and it helps the Practice get an idea of how we can improve the service we provide based on the data this screen gives us.
Anyway, I have rambled on enough; the time has come for me to bid you farewell. I don’t know what the future holds (we can all hope that whatever it holds is better than the past couple of years) but regardless of what happens, enjoy.
My answer comes from the words of Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape.
“After all this time?”