RCGP Cymru Wales has launched an eight-point plan to support GPs to respond to the needs of patients.
This details the following:
- Improve health literacy: patients are empowered to make informed choices about the most appropriate health professional or service
- Clarity of triage: practices should provide a well-explained triage system so that the patient knows who they are talking to, why and what the output will be. The role of care navigator has potential to be upscaled
- Minimum steps necessary: triage should be simple to navigate with a clear, concise explanation that is accessible to those with communication difficulties, mental health conditions
- More ways to see the GP: face-to-face and remote consultations offer benefits. GP teams with patients should decide the preference on a case-by-case basis.
- Online appointment booking: Welsh Government should support practices with the costs and infrastructure of providing online booking.
- Increase scope of online video consultation: both telephone and remote video options should be available.
- Sufficient surgery space: further measures may need to be taken to ensure the safe spacing of patients and staff in a well-ventilated surgery.
- Teamwork: good team communication is required to ensure consistent and sensitive continuity of care for patients. Test results and advice should come from a health care professional rather than an administrator as standard procedure.
Joint-Chair of RCGP Cymru Wales Professor Peter Saul said: “This plan, which we are sharing with Welsh Government, presents a good path forward for patients and general practice teams. However, it must be emphasised that the only sustainable solution to the challenge of timely access for patients to general practice is investment in a significantly enlarged general practice workforce today and in training for the future.”
The plan is designed to complement the framework established by the earlier RCGP paper, The future role of remote consultations & patient ‘triage’