No more 8am scramble: Funding announced for GP telephone systems

The government has worked with the NHS to provide much-needed funding for GP telephone systems.

A pot of £240 million has been announced for GP surgeries across England to “embrace the latest technology”. Most of us will have tried to make a doctor’s appointment in the morning, picking up the phone at 8 am on the dot, only to be met with an engaged tone for what feels like forever. The funding is set to transform out-of-date analogue telephone systems into cloud-hosted, modern systems.

The government hopes that the new and improved GP telephone systems will enable patients to be told how their requests will be managed that day. Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay said: “I want to make sure people receive the right support when they contact their general practice and bring an end to the 8 am scramble for appointments.”

For the average-sized doctor’s surgery of 10,000 patients, seeing upwards of 100 calls in the first hour on a Monday morning is not uncommon. To relieve practices of this pressure, the new solutions should receive a call queue position, have the option to be called back, or be transferred directly to the professional they need to speak to. Ideally, the systems should also be integrated with their clinical systems so staff can easily match phone calls to patient records.

These changes have already proved successful in GP surgeries where VoIP systems have already been put in place. Minister to Health, Neil O’Brien said: “Where GPs have already moved over to these new technologies we see they free up the phones, making it much easier for people to get through to their general practice team.”

Having worked with a variety of healthcare professionals across all of our services, Fluent Communications are experts in providing state-of-the-art telephone systems in these settings. To find out more, contact our friendly team to discuss your options today.

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