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Shropshire GP surgery to replace face-to-face appointments with phone calls to reduce 'increasing workload'

By Rory Smith | Telford | Health | Published:

A GP surgery in Shropshire is replacing face-to-face appointments with telephone calls among other changes to try and reduce long delays for patients.

Chiefs at Albrighton Medical Practice said it is facing the same pressures seen across medical services nationally and has moved to address an 'increasing workload'.

Doctors at the surgery on Shaw Lane are in busier periods facing more than 100 urgent appointments per day, and a number of changes have been implemented in efforts to reduce delays in services for routine appointments and during duty surgeries.

Each GP now has fewer routine appointments available to book in advance and instead will take more bookings on the day of appointments.

Half of the 'book on the day' appointments can be scheduled online the evening before or by telephoning the practice on the day.

Some appointments have also been replaced by five-minute telephone calls that are bookable online or by contacting reception.

The practice said the move may save time where a face-to-face consultation is not appropriate.

At busier times when the number of GPs available is less, including days either side of a bank holiday, there may not be any pre-bookable appointments and instead consultations will only be available to book on the day.

Demand

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A statement released by the practice said: "In common with every other surgery in the country, we have noticed increasing workload in terms of demand for appointments.

"This has been causing long waits, both for routine appointments and in the waiting room during duty surgeries.

"There can be demand for over a hundred urgent GP appointments per day.

"As a result we have introduced some changes to the appointment system."

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Shropshire Councillor for Albrighton, Malcolm Pate, said he was not fully aware of the changes, but hoped it would not affect patient experience.

Councillor Pate said: "My experience of the practice has always been very good.

"It's not an issue that the council can really influence but I would regard that as not a welcome step."

Albrighton Medical Practice manager has been contacted for comment.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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