Online Triage

Park Medical Centre are moving to a new system for appointment requests which is called Online Triage.

From Monday 5th October, all requests to see, or speak to, a GP or Nurse Practitioner are to be made by completing an online triage form.  Any patient who does not have access to the internet or has difficulty will be able to contact our reception team who will complete the form on the patients behalf.  Patients will also be able to use the online form to make enquiries about blood test results, chase referrals and other related issues to save them having to telephone the practice.

Why are we introducing a new system?

Coronavirus has impacted everyone’s lives and has seen changes to how we all do things from shopping, socialising and also seeking medical help. GP Practices and hospitals have been able to deal with a lot of patient problems remotely – sometimes by email or text message, sometimes by telephone and sometimes by video consultation.  Patients have also taken a lot more responsibility for their own health and increased their self-management of many conditions with a great deal of success.

It is widely acknowledged that the NHS was under immense pressure prior to Coronavirus and we cannot return to that situation. We have been given an opportunity to press the ‘reset’ button and collectively, you as our patients, and us as your clinicians, need to work together to ensure we embrace the new ways of accessing healthcare.

With the new system we will deal with all requests within 2 working days but hope to deal with the majority on the same day.

Patients will still be able to see a GP or Nurse face-to-face and the new system is a sensible way of dealing with the demand for appointments and will remove the need for patients to ring for appointments as soon as the telephone lines open at 8am and enable them to complete a form at any time (24 hour service) and know that clinician will review the information submitted and get back to them within 2 working days.

How to use Online Triage?

The online triage forms can be accessed by Patient Access* or, if you are not yet registered on Patient Access* you can use the following link https://www.online-consult.co.uk/org/park-medical-centre-1.

* Further information about Patient Access, and how to register, is available here http://pmcleek.nhs.uk/online-services/

In the search bar on the form you type in a key word of your symptom. This will give you a choice of forms to use with advice and specific questions for you to complete so the doctor/nurse practitioner is best informed on how to support you best.

If you cannot find a form for the symptoms you have then please fill in the ‘General Health Query’.

The forms will also direct you to any self-management or ‘over the counter’ medication you can try. Evidence from other practices that have been using this system for some time shows that a large number of patients find they are able to treat their condition following the advice provided and don’t end up requesting an appointment. If you have already tried these options then the form will ask some straightforward questions relating to the symptoms, offer an option to type your own explanation and then submit this for review by our clinical team.

The main advantages of using the online triage system are:

  • All urgent problems can be identified and dealt with appropriately on the same day with a call or an appointment.
  • Simple requests that need telephone advice (or other information to be provided) can be addressed promptly.
  • Symptoms that can be assessed and treated in particular clinics (e.g. by our nurse practitioners or clinical pharmacists) can be booked with the right person.
  • If the GP/Nurse Practitioner needs to see you in person, they will book an appointment on a suitable day and make it for an appropriate amount of time (not limited to the historic 10 minute appointments).

Those who cannot use online forms because of difficulty with English, with reading or writing, or with using technology (smartphone, tablet or computer) can contact reception for assistance, and will be supported to complete the forms or the receptionist will complete a form on their behalf.

Patients with hearing difficulties should complete an Online Triage Form, there will an opportunity to specify the preferred method of communication, and times that you are available. Our Patient Participation Group (PPG) raised some concerns regarding access for patients with hearing difficulties. The practice’s responses can be found in the document at the bottom of this page. 

If the online system advises you to contact the practice immediately as your condition is more urgent then make the reception team aware of this when you telephone the practice and your issue will be handled appropriately.

To help ensure the telephone line to the practice is as accessible as possible for the more urgent cases we are asking all patients who have a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC to use the online forms rather than telephoning and getting the reception team to complete them – all forms are dealt with in the order they come in and getting a receptionist to complete it will not mean it is dealt with any quicker.

As part of the project to adapt this new system, we consulted with our Patient Participation Group (PPG) and Virtual Patient Participation Group (VPPG) – they raised some concerns and these are listed in the following document with the practice responses.

Document – Questions and responses from the PPG and VPPG regarding Online Triage