Jubilee Field Surgery is a four-GP surgery in Chippenham, Wiltshire.
The surgery saw a surge in calls during the pandemic and found their Alcatel-Lucent phone system was struggling to cope due to its limited line capacity and, in turn, healthcare staff were prevented from making outbound calls.
With these requirements in mind, swcomms proposed a cloud-hosted Gamma Horizon telephone system, favoured by GP surgeries across the country. The Horizon solution provides a robust, always-on service that can be accessed wherever staff are working and can grow to link multiple sites. It also benefits from ongoing technical updates at cloud level, so will never become obsolete.
Jubilee Field Surgery benefited from the extra call capacity as lines are assigned on a per-user basis, which boosted their ability to handle the upsurge in calls created by the pandemic.
Reception and administration staff can handle more calls and GPs are still able to call out for appointments without incurring any issues.
The Horizon solution’s automated attendant also helps staff deal with the high influx of calls, with the surgery using pre-recorded messages to welcome every caller. These messages can also be used to urge patients to call 999 in an emergency, to provide out-of-hours contact details or to advise callers of a surgery closure.
Once callers have selected their routing option, they are then fairly queued until their call can be answered. On-hold music or healthcare information can be broadcast while the caller waits. All these features ensure every call is answered, rather than callers being met by the engaged tone.
The practice manager can make informed decisions about staffing levels required to cope with demand by checking call statistics via Horizon’s online portal. This can show details on missed calls, dropped calls, call waiting times, etc. so they can rota staff accordingly.
By switching to a cloud solution, Jubilee Field Surgery will be unaffected by the ISDN copper phone line switch-off being carried out by Openreach. The surgery would have had to take action before the 2025 deadline, or earlier, to maintain their critical telephony service.
The surgery also benefits from the cost savings of migrating away from ISDN voice services. They no longer need to pay for these lines and all calls are free to UK landline and mobiles, which is a significant outlay when GPs are calling patients in place of face-to-face appointments.
The surgery simply pays a monthly subscription that includes all services including technology upgrades and support, to enable them to easily manage their telecoms budget.
The web portal can also be used to add new users and make changes to pre-recorded messages or call routing. This means they can self-manage moves, adds and changes rather than raising a job with an engineer, therefore saving the surgery both time and money.
For more complicated tasks or in the event of a fault, Jubilee Field Surgery can reply on our support desk . They also benefit from a dedicated account manager who is on hand to answer any technical queries.
The Horizon solution deployment was overseen by one of our PRINCE2-accredited project managers to migrate all the surgery’s telephone numbers to minimise downtime. Training was provided to ensure all members of staff were comfortable with using the new solution from day one to achieve a smooth adoption.
“Everyone at the practice is really pleased with the new telephony system. We had a very successful installation week with the swcomms training team and were very impressed with how smoothly the setup and go-live went.
“We adapted to the new system and features very quickly and it has definitely brought many benefits to the practice.”
Tom Peters, office manager
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Read our blog: Questions to ask when considering a new phone system
Read our blog: Need to make a tech change but don't know where to start?
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