Practice ringing in the changes
A GP practice is changing the way its doctors see patients.
From Monday, patients calling to make an appointment at the city's Groby Road Medical Practice will first speak to a doctor over the phone.
The GP will then decide whether they need to be seen or not.
Bosses said the change had to be made as an increasing number of patients had led to difficulties getting appointments.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
The practice has nine doctors, not all full-time, looking after 8,700 people.
Practice partner Dr Paul Danaher said: "We have almost reached saturation point. Patients were finding it almost impossible to make appointments.
"We needed to so something and we believe this system is going to be much better.
"A lot of patients don't need to be seen in person, but with the new telephone system we will book them in for an appointment the same day.
"Another benefit is that on most occasions, they will be called back by the doctor they usually see, who knows them."
Dr Danaher said the system "would take a bit of getting used to" for both staff and patients. "But in the long term, I am sure there are going to be benefits and they will have more contact with their doctor," he said.
Six GPs at the practice will begin work on Monday by manning their phones and ringing patients.
Patient Katrina Thurman, 55, has welcomed the move.
"I think it's a really good idea," she said. "It means you don't have to take time off work or ring first thing in the morning to try to get an appointment because you know you will be seen if you need to be."
A similar system was brought in at the Thurmaston Medical Centre, which has about 6,400 patients, about a year ago.
Practice partner Dr Kam Singh said: "It is definitely a success and patients seem to be happy with the way it is working.
"I can make about 30 calls in a morning but would not be able to see as many patients in the same time. I am also booking in people who need to be seen."
He said changes needed to be made as GPs' workloads were increasing.
Cossington businessman Harry Longman, who helped set up the system in the surgeries, is now helping to launch two more schemes in Scotland.
"It means patients don't have to wait days for appointments any more," he said.