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Significant GP waiting times reduction joy at Fakenham Medical Practice

Appointment waiting times have been reduced by 90 per cent thanks to a new online patient booking system at a GP practice, health bosses say.

Officials at the Fakenham Medical Practice claim that waiting times for appointments have reduced from four weeks to either the same day or within 72 hours.

This is due to a new online system which enables patients to request advice or an appointment without having to phone the practice.

The new Footfall website is proving a hit at Fakenham Medical Practice (29538718)
The new Footfall website is proving a hit at Fakenham Medical Practice (29538718)

After patients ask questions and report symptoms, the practice responds within a stated timeframe, connecting the patient to the right person, service or support.

Chief executive Sarah Buchan said: “We switched from the traditional booking system to the new online programme in October 2019 and we have been delighted with the impact it has had and the feedback we have received from patients in a short time.

“Patients are getting the help they need more quickly and conveniently, and for the surgery, it has reduced the pressure on phone lines and helps ensure face to face appointments are for those who really need it.”

Patients can use the system 24/7 with the requests being attended to during normal working hours.

It comes as the practice has launched a new website Footfall which staff say is designed to help patients navigate their way to find help as if they had physically walked into the reception.

The practice state online responses or phone calls from a clinician resolve many enquiries but people can still request a face to face appointment if they wish to do so.

Dr Ed Turnham, a Norfolk GP who is the local clinical lead for online consultations said: “The new websites and online consultations are proving hugely popular. Almost every comment received from patients or that we have seen on social media has been very positive.”

The practice, which was rated as good during its latest inspection by the Care Quality Commission also says the number of patients who fail to turn up to appointments has fallen by 82 per cent thanks to the new system.

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