Telephone Triage Service Explained

Triage is the process by which patient access is managed in this surgery when all of the routine appointments have been taken. Telephone Triage is a method by which a health professional contacts a patient and manages their care based on the outcome of that telephone call.

  • Is this to stop me getting an appointment?
    No not at all – it is to ensure that Patients who need to be seen THAT DAY are seen by the appropriate health care professional. Additionally a telephone call by a health care professional often manages the patients concerns even if an appointment is not required.
  • How does it work?
    Any patient who needs to be seen urgently on a day when all the routine appointments have gone has their name and contact details put onto a triage list. A Nurse Practitioner then contacts the patient and either books them into an emergency clinic set up precisely for that purpose or else the problem is dealt with appropriately in another way
    e.g. blood test arranged, referral completed, prescription discussed, appointment made with another health care professional

Why is the Practice doing this?

  • To improve access
    Typically there are 600 wasted GP appointments (100 hours) and 600 wasted nurse appointments (150 hours) in a six month period where patients do not turn up for their appointments
  • To optimise GP appointments
    We have a highly skilled workforce and many issues can be managed effectively by other members of the health care team
  • Reduce waiting times
    Feedback from patients has highlighted that they do not always want to come to the surgery and feel that a telephone consultation is more appropriate e.g. medication queries, requests for blood tests or results

We regularly audit this process to ensure that it is achieving the goals and expectations that we set and is helping us to improve access. We will continue to listen to feedback and work with both patients and our Patient participation group to improve and develop our service.