Addressing the access challenges: we’re in favour of the NHS plan for improving access for patients and supporting general practice (3-minute read).

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve witnessed a massive uptake on more cloud-based solutions as surgeries transitioned to hybrid working and remote triaging – described in more detail in The Work From Home Revolution. Last week, NHS England and NHS Improvement, working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, published their blueprint for ways to see improvements for patients and GP Surgeries. It’s great to see these changes being embraced on a wider scale now the benefits can be seen in abundance.

The Blueprint Summary

The document introduces the General Practice landscape, highlights the changes seen throughout the pandemic, and identifies the access challenges faced by patients and surgeries alike. It goes on to detail the measures that will be taken to improve the services and accessibility for patients and the investment provided to surgeries to ensure this happens. You can read the full blueprint here.

An important section, entitled Moving to cloud-based practice telephony and beginning on page 8, shows the benefits of the hosted solutions that have been taken up by many surgeries more rapidly than they otherwise might have been.

We draw your attention to the following sections:

19. During the emergency response to the pandemic and subsequent recovery, practices continue to face an unprecedented increase in demand across all digital and communication channels, including telephony. With increasing Our plan for improving access for patients and supporting general practice volumes of telephone contacts there has been a significant strain on older analogue technology. For patients and reception staff alike, this can be a source of huge frustration.

20. An estimated one-quarter of practices have already moved to cloud-based telephony. As well as providing more phone lines for inbound and outbound calls, and automated queuing, cloud-based systems can provide data about patient demand to help give feedback about current performance and inform practices about the level of administrative support they need for call-handling.

21. NHS England will enable and drive full adoption of cloud-based telephony across all practices, as rapidly as possible. This could include – subject to value for money – a short-term national solution available for all practices to deploy by the end of the year. This would precede a longer-term supplier framework, to support local deployment of cloud-based products as existing local contracts expire.

Premier Patient Line, the healthcare division of our business, has always aligned itself with the broader goals of the NHS; we facilitate patient access solutions and find ways remove communication barriers, enabling the delivery of healthcare to be our surgeries’ number one priority. So this blueprint (point 21 in particular) is great news – hundreds of our surgeries and their patients have benefited from the various solutions we have deployed and we’re here to help those who are yet to take those next steps.

Moving to cloud-based practice telephony

The pandemic, the increasing patient pressures and the PSTN Switch Off all point towards cloud telephony solutions. The products in this area are far more scalable and cost efficient due to the flexibility they encompass. Benefits include:

  • Minimal/negligible upfront costs
  • Fast and easy set-up
  • Simple to manage and use
  • Enable flexible and remote working
  • Converge into one manageable environment
  • Connect devices with consistent interfaces
  • Multi-site deployment
  • Built-in business continuity/disaster recovery
  • Bespoke functionality for each user
  • Call analytics and reporting
  • Call recording
  • 24x7x365 network monitoring
  • Integration with all major clinical CRMs (e.g. EMISweb, Vision, SystmOne etc.)
  • Guaranteed line out
  • All the functionality of the Contact Wizard (eg. Intelligent Routing, automated front-of-queue ring-back, automatic campaign dialling etc.)
  • Immediate new feature upgrades
  • Minimal requirements for IT resources
  • Support options
  • Transparent pricing

The list goes on…

What next?

There are so many variations when applying cloud solutions and we prefer to design something specifically to help you achieve your surgery communication goals within your budget.

We invite our existing customers to please contact your Account Manager on 020 3900 9495 or by emailing with the subject The Patient Access Blueprint.

If you are not already a customer but would like to discuss your options, please call us on 0800 048 4666 or email with the subject The Patient Access Blueprint. Please do not be put off by the fact that you may be in contract with another supplier as we can still work with you if you wish to make improvements.