We often hear media reports of how medical staff in the NHS are constantly overworked, under-resourced and, as a result, claims of medical negligence are at an all-time high. GPs, for example, consistently have high workloads due to the plethora of patients that they have to see on a regular basis.
Image SourceMany people might question why GPs earn annual salaries of up to £80k per year, but considering their level of skill, knowledge and the long hours they work, as well as the pressures to keep up with NHS targets (some of which can be deemed untenable), they have a huge amount of responsibility and stress to deal with on a daily basis.
But there is one thing that GP surgeries can do to lessen the burden on their staff, and it’s so obvious that you would fail to understand why many of them have not implemented such an idea before now. I am, of course, talking about telephone consultations!Why GP surgeries do not widely make telephone consultationsSome of the main issues surrounding the lack of take-up when it comes to telephone consultations, or their being promoted to patients, involve time, money and knowledge.
GPs have an exhaustive workload, and it is not uncommon for doctors to be working anything up to 12 hours or more per day at their practices. This is because they generally have to see patients within a set time slot, but more often than not time slots can overrun.
Put it this way; when was the last time you ever arrived for an appointment to see your doctor, and you’ve been called to see him or her on time?The second issue revolves around money, which sadly is what a lot of things in life revolve around. Practice managers believe that telephone consultations will cost their practices lots of money, not just for telephone call costs but also for the time spent by GPs on those calls.
Thirdly, there is also the question of knowledge (or lack of it). I don’t mean a lack of medical knowledge, but what I am referring to is a lack of knowledge on the available telephone system options out there.
Practice managers will, for the most part, assume that it can be quite difficult and time-consume to set up, maintain and use telephone systems equipped to help doctors organize telephone consultations.
The benefits to telephone consultationsLet’s face it; many patients who visit their GP often do so due to minor ailments that could be diagnosed and advice given not just over the phone, but even by pharmacists. One of the most classic examples is people who have a cold.
A GP can make a telephone consultation with the patient, identify their symptoms and then qualify those symptoms as to whether the patient needs to visit the GP for an examination or not.
If you contact a telecommunications provider, they will be able to advise you on the best and most cost-effective telephone solution for your practice, so that you and your doctors can save time and money.