On Monday 5th June, we relaunched our online total triage service. The service is being used for all requests for appointments with our medical team or for advice about medical issues, using the AccuRx online request form.
Medication enquiries, sick note requests and other administrative queries will be also be directed to use the AccuRx online request form It is important that all requests are processed using the triage system, so even if you don't have access to the internet you may phone reception in the usual way and a member of the team will complete the request form for you.
The service will be used for both routine and urgent appointment requests and all will be triaged on the same day by a member of the clinical team. The online system will be available to use from 8am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday. For urgent issues after 3.30pm it will be necessary to phone reception so that a member of the team can take the details of your request and pass these to the triaging clinician. They will decide if further action is required that day or whether it can safely wait to the following day.
When your request has been triaged you may be given a face to face or telephone appointment. This may be with a GP or an advanced prescribing nurse practitioner, but it may be more appropriate for your problem to be dealt with by another health care professional, such as a paramedic, pharmacist, physiotherapis, mental health worker or another member of the team. Although you may feel you need a certain type of appointment, the actual decision will only be made by the triaging doctor. The reception staff are unable to bypass this system so please do not demand your appointment request is dealt with in any other way.
We appreciate that new systems can seem daunting at first, and there will inevitably be some who reflect on the 'good old days'. Unfortunately the previous system was unable to deal with increasing demand, and we have been forced to look for a better way of working that improves access for all our patients. Triage is not entirely new to the practice. We first trialled it during the pandemic to help us to manage patients remotely, and accompanied by developments in software it was very successful. Unfortunately, it was also heavy on practice resources, and as we emerged from the pandemic we faced not only an increase in demand but also a reduced workforce. This meant we struggled to maintain the service and eventually had to take the difficult decision to suspend the service in December. Since then we have increased our staffing levels, and learned from other practices to ensure we are able to manage demand. We know total triage works very well in other areas of East Cheshire, including Wilmslow and Macclesfield, and with everyone's support we are confident it will work in Holmes Chapel.
If you require their assistance to complete the online triage form or have any queries about how it works our reception staff are there to help you. If you can, it will be quicker for you to complete the online form yourself, or someone else does this on your behalf. This will also ensure our phone lines are less busy for those who truly cannot do it themselves. Our reception staff are not able to bypass the system so please do not ask them to do so.
Please be kind to our reception team who are our ‘front line’. We understand that being a patient can be frustrating, and we apologise if we cannot always provide the service you want, but there are always reasons for this. Please do not take this out on our staff, as inevitably the problem is not of their making. We are grateful for any patient feedback, particularly if this allows us to improve our service, but please be aware, we have advised all staff to follow our zero tolerance policy when faced with inappropriate behaviour or abuse of any kind.
We hope that reverting to an online system will reduce the demand on our phone lines, but inevitably there will be peak times when it is difficult to contact the practice by phone. Use the online service whenever possible. Please do not attempt to contact the practice for an appointment via email - this is for administrative purposes only and therefore is not monitored to a level that allows us to respond to email queries about medical problems or requests for appointments within a safe time frame.