Doctor First now in place for GPs

surgery at St Richard's Hospital
surgery at St Richard's Hospital

Major changes at Castle Medical Centre mean that patients will now have phone interviews with a GP before an appointment is made.

Under the new ‘Doctor First’ model, all patients at the Kenilworth practice will speak to a doctor over the phone before a decision is made if a surgery visit is necessary.

The idea is to free up surgery time and give longer appointments to those who need to see someone later that day.

GPs will also be able to take down test results and updates on ongoing conditions without a face-to-face meeting.

David Rapley, senior partner at CMC explained that while changes have been “significant” there has been a positive reaction in the first week.

“We realised there was a problem with access for a long time and we are trying to address that,” he said.

“It is quite a radical change but we are optimistic that it is patient centred and we are determined to get a system right for our patients.

“It will mean that if I want to speak to a patient, I can do, and that doesn’t necessarily mean them coming all the way in to the surgery.”

He said the model would be reviewed weekly and that feedback is welcome as staff find the best way forward.

The Bertie Road surgery, which has over 12,200 patients, introduced the changes on February 2 after consultation with NHS England and its patient reference group.

Appointments for nurses will continue be made through reception unchanged.

Patients should ring the surgery as normal to arrange for a telephone assessment.