Why do I need to go online now to contact the practice?

Posted by: kara - Posted on:

On Friday 01 December, Tudor Lodge went live with a new appointment and telephone system to improve your experience of getting what you need from us faster and more easily.

As a patient, you should now contact us online if you can, and our clinical team will read your message within 2 hours when we are open. So no more having to ring at 8am.

If you’re new to our website or haven’t tried contacting us online before, talk to Dot, our chatbot, in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. She’ll guide you to the page or form you need and explain what to do.

Anyone who struggles online can still call the practice, and our team will fill out an online form for you. More people using our online service means our call waiting times should be shorter, whatever time of day you call.

What happens after you receive my request?

All medical requests go directly to our clinical team to assess and respond to (as they do now). They will use the information you give to choose the most suitable doctor, nurse, health professional or service to help you.

Depending on your needs, you may be offered a same-day appointment, a routine appointment, or signposted to an alternative service if we feel they can help you better.

Repeat prescriptions and queries about test results, sick (fit) notes or anything admin-related are directed to the right team in the surgery to handle and respond to.

How quickly will you respond to my request?

Our clinical team aim to respond to all urgent queries within 2 hours when we are open. All admin and non-urgent requests will be handled within 48 hours.

Requests made after 3pm on weekdays or after 11am on Saturdays may not be attended to until the following working day.

Not everyone uses the internet. Won’t this make it harder for patients to contact you?

Absolutely not! These changes ensure that each patient’s needs are met in a fairer, more timely manner regardless of how or when they contact us.

  • It’s fairer for patients who work shifts or need to leave the house for work at 8am. You can contact us online whenever we’re open so you don’t have to ring at 8am and sit in a queue.
  • It’s fairer for patients who feel uncomfortable calling and telling the receptionist what it’s about. You can contact us online with your medical query so it goes directly to the clinical team.
  • It’s fairer for patients who just need a routine or follow-up appointment. You can contact us online and also tell us if you’d prefer a specific doctor, nurse or health professional to respond (which we’ll do if they’re available).

Patients without internet access can still call the surgery so our receptionists can complete the online form on their behalf.

More people using the online services means our call waiting times will be much less for those who need to call us.

Not everyone’s tech-savvy. What help is available?

  • We’ve invested time and care in the Tudor Lodge website, and it meets NHS guidance on being user-friendly and accessible so you can find what you need more easily.
  • We have Dot, our new digital assistant (also known as a chatbot) who will ask you questions to guide you to the right information on our website and explain what to do if you’re not sure. Just look for the little chat icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.
  • Our telephone system now has new options to guide you quickly and easily to the main services you require, for example, appointments, prescriptions, and test results. For those with a smartphone, skip the phone queue to receive a text message link to send us your request securely and confidentially online.

We’ve been letting patients know about the change, which moves us in line with new NHS contract requirements that all GP practices need to have, since the start of November. We believe the new system is going to make a massive improvement for everyone, staff and patients included but we know change can be scary for some. Even our team are still getting used to it.

All I ask is that you come and talk to me or any of the team directly if you have any concerns or worries so we have a chance to allay your fears and help you. That’s what we’re here for.

Crystal Short – Practice Manager