The GHA has today announced significant changes to the manner in which it will offer services to patients at the Primary Care Centre with effect from this Thursday, 20th October.
A statement from the GHA follows below:
The changes to be introduced on Thursday 20th October include;
- Extra 490 GP appointments per week made available
- Extra staff appointed to Call Centre
- New call flow system introduced to prioritise urgent appointments
- Patients may now nominate their Named/Preferred GPs
- Advance GP appointments for up to 4 weeks to be made available
- Mobile app access to PCC services
- 24 hours/7 days a week access to the 111 service managed by Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics
- Increased cooperation with Community Pharmacies servicing your needs
- A new mobile health unit to be introduced for Gibraltar
The GHA has been working for some months to address and rectify the long-term dissatisfaction expressed by patients with access to Primary Care services, including long telephone queues, lack of availability of appointments and consequent concerns regarding continuity of care.
The changes announced will enable the GHA to provide an extra almost 100 GP appointments a day, 490 GP appointments per week; which equates to some 2,700 GP appointments a week or a total of 11,600 GP appointments per month. These are a significant number of appointments for a community of our size.
- NEW AND UPGRADED PHONE SYSTEM INTRODUCED
The new telephone system will filter calls to different times for the various services and will be manned alongside the 111 service with qualified clinical personnel to support the phone answering team. This will enable the team to support the caller even in the event when appointments are not readily available to provide a solution to the patient’s needs.
- HOW TO USE OUR SERVICES
Same day appointments – Only when necessary
As from Thursday 20th October 2022, patients will make appointments;
- If they need a same day appointment by calling 200 52441 between 8:15am and 11:00am
- ● If they need an emergency evening clinic appointment by calling 200 52441 between 4:00pm and 6:00pm
Patients who wish to make an advanced appointment or a telephone consultation with their named or preferred GPs may do so for up to 4 weeks in advance by;
- Calling 200 52441 between 11:00am and 3:00pm
- Booking online via Gov.gi
- By using the Gov.gi eServices app
Patients who wish to use the following services,
- Over70’s Driving Medical
- Blood Clinic
- Well person or Sexual Health Clinic
- Smoke Cessation Clinic
- a) Call 200 52441 between 11:00am and 3:00pm,
- b) Book online via Gov.gi
- c) On the Gov.gi eServices app
Other Primary Care services
Cancel an appointment – please call 200 72355 between 8:15am and 3:00pm or do so online via www.gha.gi
Repeat Prescriptions – please call 200 07909 between 11:00am and 3:00pm or do so online via Gov.gi or in the Gov.gi eServices app
Sick Note – please fill in the required form online via www.gha.gi or Gov.gi General enquiries – please call 200 72355 between 8:15am and 3:00pm.
For urgent medical advice, patients can call 111 at any time.
The new system will stagger the numbers of individual calls to the GHA throughout the day, alleviating the pressure at peak times, and enabling patients to access their particular service at the appropriate time and using the online systems or the new app.
The introduction of named GPs and Advanced Appointments will enable patients who have a non urgent need to see their GP to make these appointments up to 4 weeks in advance.
The addition of the 490 GP appointments added to the current availability will also help to ensure patients are able to access the services they require.
Importantly, patients will no longer be able to book appointments in person at the PCC Counter.
A new Mobile Unit
The GHA will also be introducing further services to support and assist the PCC in servicing the Community. These will include a Mobile Unit which will be attending different locations around Gibraltar at predetermined times to offer basic clinical support to the community on a regular basis.
First, seek the advice of a Community Pharmacist
Further, the GHA is working closely with Community Pharmacists, who will be able to provide a number of services that were traditionally sought from GPs. This will include advice on over-the counter medication and the provision of basic routine health checks. For non-emergency issues that do not require the advice of a GP, the local Pharmacy should be the first port of call.
RESPONSIBILITY IS A RESOURCE
As promised, the GHA have listened to the community and are actively trying to implement changes in response to their concerns. The GHA know that Primary Care has been one of their key issues of concern and by implementing the above changes and working with GPs have increased daily GP appointments by 22%. In order for these changes to be successful, patients
must be responsible for working with the GHA and only request a GP appointment if there is a real medical need, as seeking a GP appointment may not always be the best way of receiving the care that is required.
Patient feedback on the new appointment system is welcomed so that the GHA can understand and work to address any concerns. This can be submitted via the GHA website www.gha.gi/feedback
The GHA Director General, Professor Patrick Geoghegan OBE, said: ‘I’m delighted to announce these improvements to how patients interact with and use Primary Care Services. These are tangible changes that will directly and immediately impact patients’ experience of the service.
‘When I arrived in Gibraltar as Director General, I made a promise I would listen to public concerns. I’m proud that the GHA has done its homework, listening both to patients and staff to design and implement these changes.
‘Where appropriate, before calling for a GP appointment, please ask your Community Pharmacist for advice. If you do need to see a GP, please consider whether you need an appointment on the day or whether it is more appropriate to book an advance appointment. Please use the alternative telephone and online services to request sick notes and repeat prescriptions. Always cancel any appointment if you no longer need it so that it can be released to someone else who does. Remember if there are no appointments available you will always be able to access 111 for urgent medical advice.
‘As we work to implement this new system, teething problems are to be expected. Please bear with us, we are working around the clock to do everything we can to make this as simple as possible so that the community receives appropriate high-quality health services according to clinical needs.
‘It is also important to note that this is only one of many changes that GHA will be making in the coming months.’