At SHP we have created one unified phone system, where a Call Handler takes information on the nature of the patient's query and passes the call to the team best suited to help, for example the pharmacy or secretary teams. If you need clinical help, the call will be passed to a Care Navigator who is trained to triage the query and if clinically necessary, arrange for a doctor to contact you.
At times of high demand, patients sometimes face waits between the Call Handler and Care Navigator stages and this is because our Care Navigators often deal with complex queries which can take time to manage and triage. This is reflected in the wait times patients sometimes experience. Although this takes time, it helps ensure patients have the most appropriate care from across the SHP network.
We understand there have been long call waits for our phone system and this has caused frustration for our patients. We wish to apologise for this and want to assure our patients that changes we have made have improved the system, and we are continuing to make further changes to improve the situation.
We are now actively recruiting to further increase the number of staff answering the phones which we are confident will continue to bring waiting times down. We also hope pressure on the phone lines will be eased by more of our sites opening for patients to walk into the reception with their queries, while we are also encouraging our patients to use online services where possible.