"Not taking new patients"

About: Kerang Medical Clinic

(as the patient),

I rang to make an appointment to see a doctor to be told that, as I have not been there for 2 years, I am classed as a new patient they are not taking any new patients. They then said goodbye and hung up.

This is a disgrace in our community. I am very annoyed that a medical centre can do this.

Responses

Response from Chloe Keogh, Director of Clinical Services, Kerang District Health We are preparing to make a change

picture of Chloe Keogh

Dear Sick,

Whilst I am the Director of Clinical Services at Kerang District Health I am also the executive who supports the Kerang Medical Clinic. I am writing the response to you after discussion with the Practice Manager.

I appreciate you taking the time to post your story about trying to make an appointment at the Kerang Medical Clinic, and also taking the time to speak to me by phone about this matter.

This story has upset me, because health care is about people being well and taking care of themselves. After taking your call I began asking around to see who else would have had a similar situation to you- had been healthy and not needed to see a Doctor for two years. The answer was a lot. A lot of people I have spoken to in the last 24 hours have been well and would not have seen a Doctor in over two years. So, I am very pleased that you have spoken up and identified this issue.

The Kerang Medical Clinic is currently undergoing to some medical workforce changes and this is impacting on their waiting lists and their acceptance of new patients. I will speak to the staff, medical, nursing and reception staff over the next few weeks and see if we can arrange a process that is more supportive of the "well" and "healthy" people in our community.

Again, thank you for explaining your experience.

Kind Regards,

Chloe

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Response from Chloe Keogh, Director of Clinical Services, Kerang District Health We have made a change

picture of Chloe Keogh

Dear Sick,

Please accept my apology for the amount of time it has taken for me to get back in touch with you.

Your story has prompted considerable discussion and then review of how business is done at this clinic. A number of changes have been made.

1. Three of the Doctors at this clinic have changed their appointment times so that rather than a standard appointment of 15 minutes, or a long appointment of 30 minutes, they have included 5 and 10 minute appointment if necessary. A repeat script would be an example of a 5 minute appointment, or a referral letter by a Doctor who you see often.

You may ask yourself how this solves your problem. For a single GP on a given day, changing the appointment times to be more patient specific can open up appointments for the GP to see more sick people.

2. Patients from the Kerang Medical Clinic who have not been seen for 2 years or more are now offered an appointment, and where possible are offered a longer appointment so that the GP can do a thorough review. This is easier to accommodate since the change in point 1 has been made.

3. We ran a 2 week trial of supporting a GP with a dedicated nurse to explore the efficiencies, and how many more appointments and patients a Doctor could see. This has not been fully evaluated yet, but initial results certainly look good, and freed the GP's time up to do things that only a Doctor can do, just by everyone working a little bit differently.

4. Another change that would support the problem that you identified is to recruit another GP to this clinic, and we are at the early stages of this change, but feel that this would support the efficiencies of the busy GP practice.

Whilst these things may not seem like big changes, they are subtle things that make a difference in a Doctors work load, and have meant that the Doctors can see more patients in a day and frees them up to see patient who have not been seen recently.

Kind Regards

Chloe

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Updates, changes and questions related to this story

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