September 2014 Results

On 23rd September we started our Friends & Family Test survey to receive feedback from our patients. Thank you for all the positive comments. They are always lovely to hear!

Out of our 39 responses:

  • 18 people are extremely likely to recommend us
  • 16 likely
  • 3 said they were neither likely nor unlikely.
  • One person said they couldn’t comment as it was their first appointment.
  • One person said they were extremely unlikely to recommend us.

This means that 87% of people are likely or extremely likely to recommend us to their friends and family.


We asked what we could do to make their experience better….

  • 8 people said there was nothing we could do to improve.
  • 4 people said it should be easier to get appointments over the phone.

We would be happy to receive suggestions as to how we could improve this. Currently all our phone lines are used to take calls for appointments; we cannot get more phone lines or afford more staff but are looking into online booking which should potentially improve things.

  • 2 people said doctors should run to their appointment times better.

We do work hard to try and see people in 10 minutes. Sometimes people have complicated problems or conditions which make this impossible.

  • 2 people said they would prefer not to be asked why they wanted to see the doctor when they were making an appointment.

We do know this is an issue for some patients. It can be very useful at times – for example when patients are ringing for an appointment for severe chest pain when they should be calling an ambulance! However we will review how this is done.

All the rest of these points were made by individual people:

More experienced doctors.
We have 11 permanent fully qualified GPs working here plus 3 trainees (who are qualified doctors but more junior). You should be informed if you are seeing a junior doctor. All junior doctors are overseen by a fully qualified GP every day.

Later hours.
We do have extended hours till 7.15 every day. This is addressed more under the commuter section.

Should be able to make an appointment later the same week.
Appointments and how to make the appointments system as good as possible for as many people as possible is a very difficult problem and one with which we grapple constantly. Currently with this system we get far fewer complaints about appointments than we have had for years. At the moment most of our appointments are on the same day with about 25% being pre-bookable. Some of these pre-bookable appointments are available later in the week but some doctors get much more booked up than others. Again if anyone has any suggestions as to how we can improve that we would be happy to listen.

There should be more nurse availability.
We have 3 nurses and have nurse appointments every day of the week. Our nurses often have free appointments.

I would like to know the “rules” of how to make appointments.
You can phone reception or come in to make an appointment. You will be offered an appointment on the same day or in advance. We will try to accommodate your request if you wish to see a particular GP but this is often difficult. Appointments can be booked from 8 in the morning. Appointments can be face-to-face or on the telephone. Doctors CANNOT book an appointment for you; there is no point ringing a doctor to try and bypass the system and get an appointment. If there are no appointments left that day and you feel your problem cannot wait, the duty doctor will ring you and may offer you an emergency appointment.

We would like a list of all the doctors as they have recently changed.
We have had a period of significant change within the practice after years of stability. We hope we are now returning to a more stable situation although in the current NHS this is never easy to guarantee. Our website is always up to date. We have 11 permanent doctors working here: Dr Newton( started here in 1982), Dr Amarin (started here in 1993), Dr Vincent (started here in 2000), Dr Dresler (started here in 2007), Dr Matloob (started here in 2008), Dr Larkin (started here in 2014), Dr Woolf (started here in 2011), Dr Pollara (started here in 2014), Dr Green (started here in 2014), Dr Isiodu (started here in 2014) and Dr Coutinho (started here in 2014). Currently we also have Dr Gordon who is covering Dr Woolf’s maternity leave and Dr Friel who is a lecturer at University College London who is working with us for part of her week. Most of the time we also have 3 more junior doctors who are training with us and whose names can be found on the website.

The automated attendance machine should be working.
You are right and we will try to get this mended as soon as possible.

It should be easier to see my “own” doctor.
Unfortunately this is very difficult and going to get worse the more hours general practice is expected to work. Some doctors are very popular and get very booked up. Many of the doctors are now working fewer hours or doing managerial work instead of seeing patients every day. Although it is always best to try and see the same doctor for the same problem, we are very confident that all of our doctors are excellent.

I would like more appointments on the day.
Nearly all our appointments are on the day. We offer well over 80 appointments on the day (and more on Mondays and near to Bank Holidays). There aren’t any more appointments to offer unless we move to only giving on-the-day appointments which would upset all the patients who want more appointments to be available booked ahead.

I don’t want patient’s names on the screen – no confidentiality.
Almost every practice now runs this system. Previously names were called out over a tannoy system. Either way a name is made clear in the waiting room. It is not easy to imagine another way to call people.

Quicker referrals to specialists.
We write the letters within a week of seeing you. Any delay after that is due to the appointments system at the hospital over which we have no control at all. 90% of our referrals have to go to a referrals triaging service which delays the receipt of that referral at the hospital. The triaging service is also able to request more information or to reject the referral which causes further delays. Any complaints should be made direct to the appointments system at the hospital.

More staff on reception.
All our staff are working all of the time. Some are visible on reception; others are scanning in letters, printing out hundreds of repeat prescriptions or taking phone calls. I am afraid we can’t afford to employ any more staff!


What do we do now that is good or excellent?

  • 7 people said we had good reception staff.
  • 8 people said we had excellent staff.
  • 3 people said it had always been a good surgery
  • 2 people said the text reminders of appointments were good.
  • 3 people said the availability of telephone consultations was good.
  • 3 people said the GPs were good.
  • 2 people said that we did “nothing” that was good or excellent (but both were likely to recommend us to family or friends).

These were other individual responses as to what we do well:

  • Same day appointments.
  • Friendly service.
  • Good availability of appointments.


What changes would you like to see?

  • 6 people said they didn’t want anything to change
  • 4 people said they would like to be able to book appointments on line. This is coming. This will be possible by April 2015 and possibly before.
  • 2 people said the waiting room could be improved. Hopefully you have noticed that this is happening at the moment and should be finished by the end of October.
  • 2 people requested a Saturday surgery. This is currently being looked at again.

Currently we offer later evening appointments instead of Saturday appointments. When we did offer Saturday morning appointments the take-up was poor and the rate of patients who did not turn up was very high. As you will be hearing in the press there is quite a lot of pressure to move to weekend appointments. Obviously this will reduce continuity of care because GPs will not be able to work 7 days a week so most weekend work will be staffed by locums.

These were all individual responses:

Make the surgery larger.
We are not quite sure how we could achieve that but hopefully we make good use of the space we do have.

“Why can’t old people book appointments later in the day so workers can be seen sooner?”
This is an interesting observation as we had always assumed that working people would prefer to be seen later in the day after they have finished work. Currently our evening appointments are rarely used by commuters but by people who are at home all day. I don’t think realistically we can expect older people to only book appointments at certain times (this would class as discrimination) but we could look at blocking out earlier appointments for commuters if this would be welcomed.

Weekend access all weekend.
You can currently see a GP all weekend if you have an urgent need – that is what Barndoc is for. We are not quite sure what the current political moves mean but, if GP practices are open all weekend, it will not increase availability. None of the GPs are available to work more hours than they currently do.

Upgrade the toilet.
Renovations to the toilet are on the list of things to do. Financial constraints mean that these renovations will not take place this year.

Friendlier service.
I am sorry you don’t think we have a friendly service. Obviously, given our other responses, people have different opinions about this. If you have any specific instances you wish to relate then please contact the practice manager.

Longer appointments.
As you will have noticed from reading all the suggestions, some people are complaining about not being able to get appointments. If we had longer appointments we would have fewer appointments. However, if you feel you need more than 10 minutes you can ask for a double appointment.

To be able to book an appointment later the same week.
See previous answer.


Commuter question – extended hours

19 people responded to this of whom 4 admitted to not being commuters/workers. Only 8 gave their ages (18-56) and 10 gave their place of work (Barnet, West End, local, Harlow, Hertford, Covent Garden, Charing Cross, Central London, Heathrow and West London).

Of the 15 people who may be commuters: 7 preferred Saturday mornings (8-11am), 5 preferred evenings (6.30-7.15) and 3 preferred early mornings (7.15-8am). Amongst these preferences 3 people said they didn’t really mind which of these options was offered.


For the PPG

For everyone who wants more appointments on the day someone else wants them to be more able to be booked ahead. We can’t please everyone all of the time but our complaints about appointments are relatively low and we probably have reached the optimum appointments service for our population group.

Suggestions for the PPG:

  • Upgrade the toilet facilities
  • Upgrade the automated arrivals machine
  • Online appointments booking
  • Re-visit extended hours from April 2015 – with proper mail out to commuters finding out what they really want