Frequently Asked Questions
Why aren’t there enough GPs at the practice?
General Practices across the UK are facing a significant shortage of GPs to meet the post pandemic demand of patients and it is widely acknowledged that fewer trainee doctors are entering the profession. Forest View is a Training Practice, and the GP Partners are actively involved in training and developing our future GP workforce.
The practice has successfully recruited additional GPs, who are due to commence at Forest View in the coming weeks.
Modern General Practice relies on a variety of clinically trained staff to deliver a wide range of services for patients and Forest View have developed a Multi-Disciplinary Team which comprises of:
- Advanced Nurse Practitioners
- Mental Health Practitioner
- Advanced Paramedic Practitioner
- Clinical Pharmacists
- Practice nurses
- Physicians Associate
We will continue to develop the team to ensure that the services we offer are appropriate to meet the needs of our registered patient population.
Why can’t I get an appointment to see a GP?
Not all patient health issues require the intervention of a GP. In many cases a patient may be more effectively managed by another member of the MDT team (see above).
We offer a Triage First model to ensure that patients are triaged appropriately and are seen by the appropriate clinician. Our Care Navigators are trained to direct you to the most appropriate clinician. They do not make clinical decisions however they will ask you specific questions in order to determine the best course of action for your needs.
We politely ask you to help us to help you and to provide as much information as requested in order to deal with your enquiry.
Welsh Government have issued clear guidance on “What to expect from your GP Practice”. Please see the infographic at the end of this FAQ.
Why do I have to share details of my problem with a receptionist?
All of our Reception Team have been trained in Care Navigation. This allows them to direct you to the most appropriate care pathway. Our Care Navigators do not make clinical decisions. They use the information you provide to ensure you are seen by the appropriate clinician, if appropriate.
Some patients may be directed to other services (e.g. pharmacy, optometrist, dentist, physiotherapy etc). You do not require a GP referral for these services and may be seen quicker and more aptly.
Why does it take so long for someone to answer the telephone?
We acknowledge that trying to speak to a care navigator using our telephone system has caused a high degree of stress to our patients in recent months. Due to the high volume of calls, we experience every day patients were often on hold for too long. We are working with our current telephone supplier to ensure we maximise the benefits of the current telephone system.
We have reduced the size of our call queue so that no more than 20 patients are in the queue. This avoids excessive hold times however does require the caller to ring back if they hear the engaged tone.
We have introduced an active monitoring screen to visualise call activity at any time.
This screen is visible on all desk top PCs and allows staff across the building to identify when large numbers of calls are coming in so that we may increase the number of call handlers to take your call.
We are exploring new telephone systems and visiting practices across South Wales to learn from their experiences and identify a telephone systems that suits the needs of the practice and our patients however this will take some months to implement. We will keep patients advised on progress via our website and Facebook page.
Why does the telephone line cut off after holding for a long time?
We were unaware of this issue until recently however we have now investigated and corrected this, and this should no longer occur.
If you experience any telephone related issues please let us know.
Why can’t I book a non-urgent appointment in advance?
We are reviewing our appointment system to allow for a variety of pre-bookable and on the day appointments.
Many of our patients expect “on the day” appointments and we will work with our Patient Participation Group to ensure the balance between prebookable and on the day appointments are appropriate to meet the needs of our patients.
We are also reviewing our Online Booking options so that routine appointments may be made quickly and easily to avoid the need to telephone.
It is important to remember that the number of appointments available each day is not unlimited and during busy periods (e.g. winter) the balance of appointments may be switched to ensure that acutely unwell patients can be seen on the day.
Why can’t I book a follow up appointment even if the GP has asked to see me?
We appreciate this can be frustrating however it is important that you do see the clinician if asked to book a follow up appointment.
As part of the review of the appointment system we are considering introducing “Doctor Only” appointments. They are “locked” and may only be booked by the requesting clinician. This should relieve the burden on patients to call back for a follow up appointment however there may be occasions when you are asked to make a follow up appointment yourself. We will strive to make changes so that this process is simplified.
Can I book appointment online?
We currently use My Health Online and appointments are currently made available via this platform. As part of the revision of the appointments system we will look to increase this online availability. We are also exploring other online platforms and IT solutions to help patients access the care they need.
It should be noted that My Health Online is a NHS Wales platform and patients must register in advance to use this system.
Please see our website for full details or ask at Reception.
We offer support and assistance to get patients online.
What if I cannot access online options?
We appreciate that some patients are unable to access technology.
We encourage those patients who are comfortable with technology to explore our online options and where appropriate to use digital access.
We recognise that telephone access will continue to be the main preference for many patients, and we will continue to offer this service.
How long before services improve at the practice?
We recognise that service delivery at Forest View Medical Centre have fallen short of our own and our patients’ expectations over recent months.
The Partners at Forest View are committed to delivering modern and effective health care services and are working hard to expand the current team of clinicians and Care Navigators so that we may deliver on the high standards we set for ourselves.
We are fully engaging with your patient representatives, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, local elected officials, and the Community Health Council to address these issues and have agreed an Action Plan to improve how we currently deliver services.
We will communicate with patients via our website and Facebook pages and post regular updates to keep you informed of changes and improvements.
We ask for your patience and your support whilst we work through these challenges. We also ask that you respect our staff whilst we tackle these matters.
We hope that you will see improvements in our telephone systems and our appointment availability immediately.
On behalf of ourselves and our staff we thank you for your ongoing support.