From Wednesday 21 April we will be getting a new telephone system, here are some questions and answers to explain how it will work.
Why are you changing your phone system?
When patients are unhappy about our service, their complaint often relates in some way to our telephone system and waiting times and we want to address this.
Although our current system is still functional, it does not have the latest technology that is now available to improve our call handling.
When will the new phone system be operational?
We will ‘go-live’ with the new system on Wednesday 21st April 2021, this will be around 12 noon. We may drop some calls around this time. However, if have a medical emergency then our advice is always to ring 999.
Will the practice phone number be changing?
No please continue to use your usual number
- 01590 672212 for Wistaria patients
- 01590 643022 for Milford patients
What will be different when I ring the practice?
You may notice a number of changes when you call the practice. These include:
We will have a new patient message once you get through to us. This may change over time but we have gone with a very simple setup to start with. Our new system allows us to change messages much more easily so we will not have to wait for an engineer to make changes.
The choice of menu options may be different so please listen carefully to ensure you are directed correctly.
All patients will now receive an announcement telling them their place in the queue. We had some problems with the old queuing system with people getting ‘stuck’ in the queue and we hope these issues will now be resolved. Please be aware some mornings the number the call queue may be high, but we do have more operators answering calls so tend to move through the calls more rapidly than the afternoons.
Your call may now be answered by our team based at any of our sites. This is aimed at reducing waiting times. If one location is quieter on any given day, they will automatically be able to relieve the pressure at another site that is experiencing a higher number of calls.
We will continue to record all incoming and outgoing calls. This will help us resolve complaints, address instances of verbal abuse against our staff and improve staff training and education.
Clinical System Integration
The new phone system will integrate with our clinical system. This means that dialling patient numbers can be done from within the patient record. This is important to us because it means that we can save time on every call that we make, speeding things up for patients. We will be able to opportunistically update patient contact numbers.
We will have access to both live and historic call data. This will allow us to see how many calls we are receiving, at what times of day and how long people had to queue. It will take some time for the data to build up into a clear picture but when it does, it will allow us to plan our staffing much more effectively, ensuring that the right number of staff are working at peak times.
What about the future?
We spent a lot of time looking at what different companies could offer us before making our final choice. Part of the reason for our final choice was that the company have some exciting ideas for the future which we hope help us continue to improve services to our patients.
We hope that nothing will go wrong and the ‘go-live’ will be smooth. But if we do encounter a problem, our team, supported by the phone company, will do our best to resolve issues and communicate with patients.
Because of the short-notice nature of any communications we will need to send, this will be mainly via Social Media and our website.
Our website address is https://www.wistariaandmilford.nhs.uk our Facebook page is @WistariaMIlford and we are on Twitter @WistariaMilford
Our staff will all be trained on the new system but it will be unfamiliar and they will be learning as we go along. Please be patient and understanding with them as they are always trying to do their best to help you, sometimes in very difficult circumstances.
Thank you in advance
Jan Lamont, Practice Manager