"Flu jab"

(as the patient),

Two items to express opinion on.

1. Flu jab. I phoned today to ask about flu jab and was told that the first available appointment would not be until 13th November. Why so long to wait? If I had phoned with a medical complaint the triage doctor would have spoken to me and even had an appointment the same day. The practice used to phone people to remind them about the flu jab, which was also a lot cheaper than the NHS sending out letters at about 50p each. Waiting 2.5 weeks will put people off getting the Flu jab.

2. Next.

Why can you only phone in at certain times to order prescriptions? This is a retrograde step which clogs up your phone lines. Today I phoned twice to ask about Flu jab and the first time I was put on hold for 8 minutes, gave up and phoned again and the second time was put on hold for 4 minutes. Your receptionist was helpful but is having to do too much herself for real efficiency.

I look forward to your reply.

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Response from Jill Gibson, Practice Manager, Riverview Medical Centre

Dear Jandy19

Thank you for taking the time to add your comments to Patient Opinion.

We discussed these at our usual weekly business meeting.

Your first comments were regarding the flu jab and you felt you had waited too long for an appointment. I am sorry about that and I hope with some explanation you will see we are doing our best to get through these for all our patients. As you will know the flu jag has been well published in the press and in radio ads. The Health Board then automatically sent out letters to patients too. This was sent out a little in advance of all surgeries receiving their stock of vaccinations. The Health Board decide independently of the Practice to send out the communication and it is not anything we have influence over here in the surgery.

Our flu supplies were later arriving this year than last year. Our first jabs arrived week commencing 1st October and out first clinic was done on 5th October. We have over 1000 eligible patients so it is a huge undertaking to get through these, especially as this also includes housebound patients. Early on in the programme we do not contact patients by telephone as it would be too costly and use up a valuable phone line for long periods of time. We feel this would prevent others not getting through to the surgery when they need to. We have regular meetings and indeed can decide on a daily basis to add on flu clinics as demand is there. At this stage in the programme we have had a higher demand for the jag than over a similar period last year probably due to all the advertising! (It’s working well!)

After at least 6 weeks have past, we do start calling patients to remind them they can attend the surgery to get the jab. We’ve found this makes the best use of time. Indeed proactive patients, like yourself, greatly help us at Riverview by actively seeking to get the jag early on so thank you for this. The doctors and nursing staff also give the jag opportunistically should a patient be at the surgery for some other matter.

The flu season this year runs from October to March so it is still very early to have the treatment. This year we’ve also sent text messages to those over the age of 65 to advise them of the flu clinics.

That’s quite a long explanation but I hope you find it helpful. We are trying hard to make sure patients get this treatment done as quickly as possible. If you have still not had your jag, please call the surgery and the reception staff will be able to help you arrange to have this as soon as.

Unfortunately at the moment we don’t take requests for repeat prescriptions over the telephone. We are currently reviewing how we process repeat prescriptions in the surgery and hope to decide on other ways to make the process easier going forward. I am sorry you were placed on hold when telephoning us. Our efficient reception staff often have to deal with more than one patient depending on the demands at that time. They will always work hard to try to keep any delays to a minimum. Regarding repeat prescriptions you can drop in your request to the repeat prescriptions box in the surgery or use the pharmacy repeat prescription service too.

I hope this goes some way to explaining how we work here at Riverview and appreciate you giving us the opportunity to do that. Keep the feedback coming and if we can be of help with anything else please get in touch.

Thanks and best wishes.


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