Sinéad – receptionist
Sinéad answers the phone when you call to ask for an appointment.
“When you call I will ask you: ‘What is the reason for your call today?’
“The call handlers have a flow chart that is put together by the GPs, so although we are not medically qualified, the questions we ask are those that are recommended by the doctors.
“I may ask you how long they have had symptoms, is it something that is new, or have you had it before?
“If it’s something sudden and serious that makes me think it would be suitable for our paramedic.
“If it’s something that is musculo-skeletal I would think about making an appointment with our physiotherapist.
“If it’s something that is continuous and complex, or if the patient is a child – those are the cases where I would make an appointment with the GP.”
Watch Sinéad explain what happens when you ring the GP practice.
Paul – paramedic
Paul has 20 years’ experience as a paramedic with East Midlands Ambulance Service but mostly works as GP practice paramedic. He is also an advanced clinical practitioner in training.
“I tend to deal with sudden and serious illnesses.
“As an advanced clinical practitioner I am able to assess patients for conditions such as serious coughs and colds and cancer symptoms.
“I can order x-rays and refer on to a specialist for further investigation in the same way as a GP.
“I have 15 minute appointment times and so I have more time to understand the patient and what their problems are.
“As a result I get very good patient satisfaction – people feel heard and that I have fully understood the patient.”
Watch Paul explain how he deals with people’s sudden illnesses or life-threatening conditions.
Warren – physiotherapist
Warren is a “first contact physiotherapist” – which means that if you have problems or pain with joints and bones that you can go straight to Warren, without having to see a GP first.
“I am able to give the patient a thorough assessment.
“I can find out what happened, how long it’s been happening, what causes pain, what have you done previously, whether you’ve taken any medication for it and I do a physical examination.
“If further investigations are required I can arrange for an x-ray or MRI (magnetic resonance image scan of soft tissue areas).
“I can do steroid injections, which used to be done as minor surgery by the GP, and I can prescribe medication for any pain.
“I can also put together a programme of change to help the patient, for example in changing their habits or lifestyle, or addressing their posture, ergonomics, strength and conditions, walking aids, or referral to a surgeon.”
Watch Warren explain how he helps people who are suffering musculoskeletal pain
Dr Shantal – GP
As a GP Shantal works closely with her healthcare colleagues and the reception team at the GP practice.
“Please help the call handling team by telling the reason for your call and they will book you in with the healthcare professional who is best for you.
“If you want to see a GP on the same day, that may not be possible.
“However, we can make an appointment with another healthcare professional who will be able to give you the treatment you need.
“The specialist staff will have longer appointment times with the patient.
“So they have more time to get into detail with the patient, to explore what’s behind their symptoms, and to treat them holistically.
“Having the additional staff frees our time as GPs to deal with the more complex cases who definitely need our input.
“The patients who benefit the most from the GP’s time are the more complex cases, those who have multiple conditions or chronic pain.”
What Dr Shantal explain the benefit to patients of being seen by other healthcare professionals in the GP practice team