With the NHS reporting January 2018 was one of the toughest months on record despite the cancellation of thousands of non-urgent operations, the pressure on the health service is clear.
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt recognised the stresses and strains of this winter by acknowledging the current situation was “unsustainable”.
While A&E waiting times have been the worst they have been since monthly records began in 2010, general practice has been feeling the pressure too with numerous people suffering from flu, although thankfully GP consultations for flu-like symptoms have begun to lessen.
Meanwhile, general practice has been grappling with stretched budgets and competition from online GP services like Vitality, Babylon, Push Doctor, etc. that offer the extended patient access the Government is keen on. The general practice landscape is changing for good. Whether we morally agree or disagree with the new wave of competition coming to the market, it’s time to adapt or be left behind. While we cannot help GP surgeries get people better, we do think we can help general practice find cost savings and remain relevant.
We are achieving these savings with the deployment of cloud-hosted telephone systems that can cope with the push for enhanced patient access. This does not mean GP surgeries need to incur capital expenditure but there is a high probability practice running costs will be reduced due to free calls, cheaper line rentals and inclusive ongoing support and software updates.
A cloud-hosted telephone system, built for the general practice market, allows GP surgeries to:
- Control call volumes daily depending on staff resources
- Provide intelligent real-time information to waiting callers
- Improve external line access for patient services, e.g. telephone triage
- Rely on calls being recorded
- Trace and report on any incoming or outgoing calls
- Link directly to medical systems, e.g. SystmOne, EMIS, Patient Partner
- Offer patients video consultations
Existing or replacement traditional telephone systems simply do not offer the above services.
It has been a tough winter but we can at least help ease the budget pressures of the next few months and beyond to allow GP surgeries to avoid having to take the tough cost-cutting actions they thought they needed to, e.g. 6% of GP partners have already made admin staff redundant and 13% are thinking about it
More than 90% of GP surgeries that I have spoken to, and who have subsequently switched to a cloud-hosted telephone system, have reduced expenditure and improved patient access. I am passionate about helping GP surgeries. For a no-hassle, straight-talking view, contact me free on 0800 054 6789 or email me and I will call you back to discuss the benefits of general practice telephony.