Key advantages are:
- No-more uncontrolled access to appointment slots – the GP is in charge of how everyone is dealt with and of their own time and starts with much more information than they get via a receptionist over the phone, in the patient’s own words.
- Reduced stress for GPs, because they no longer have a waiting room full of people and can manage their own workload. This often results in a significant improvement in work-life balance, with work being able to be completed on the day, within “office” hours so GPs go home on time and don’t have to take work with them.
- Reduced stress for receptionist because they no longer have to deal with abuse when appointments run out, when there is a long wait or when people have been trying to get through for ages.
- Reduced intensity of demand when the phones open, because people learn that they can access help when they need it.
- Reduced “rework” because patients are routed appropriately first time, for example to the practice lead for orthopaedics, instead of to the “duty” doctor, or to get diagnostic tests before an appointment.
- Much happier patients because they feel they can get help from their GP when they need it without having to go through a challenging access process; they don’t need to visit the surgery unnecessarily and take time off work for minor but essential needs.