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Updates after meeting on the 17th of August Posted on 7 Dec 2021

Dear Harold Road patients,

After our public meeting on the 17th of August held in Fairlight this year, we wanted to update you on what has been happening at Harold Road Surgery.

We were very grateful for your input and have been working hard to take on board your thoughts and implement change. Below is a summary of how we have done this, and an acknowledgement of some of the challenges we are still facing.

You said reception training was a key issue

We have provided more thorough in-house and external training for our reception staff. On Thursday 14th October 2021 all the receptionist attended a Customer Service Training Course. The training of reception staff is ongoing, the staff have one to one sessions daily and are kept up to date as new processes are introduced in the surgery. We aim for our reception staff to help patients get to the right Clinician the first time they call, and for this to happen, they need to ask a few questions – a doctor may not always be the best person to help you. We hope the training we have provided has streamlined the questioning process and therefore provides you with the support you need quickly, and reduces the amount of time spent on each call.

You said phone lines are a problem

We have been utilising our new telephone software to identify when the peak call times are. We are trialling having 5 receptionists (instead of 3) answering the phone at the peak time from 8.30- 9.30. We are actively trying to recruit new receptionists in order to have more answering the phones at all times. We have recruited six receptionists but have unfortunately lost 3 in the last 3 months. We apologise that we have still seen some long waiting times, we have had an unprecedented numbers of incoming calls over the last couple of months. We are aware that the issue with the telephone lines is ongoing and are continuing to evaluate how we can make this better.

You said you were having difficulties getting appointments

We have recruited 2 new nurses to the team who are helping patients with their long term condition. We have recruited a biomedical scientist who is helping to manage our laboratory results which will allow more time for consulters to see patients. We have also increased the number of face to face appointments we offer.  We have contracted locums GPs, some of whom are working remotely as there are few local locums available, from November 21 to March 22 to improve access to GP appointments.

You said that the general communication from the surgery needed improving

Our website is updated more frequently. We are posting more information on our facebook page and sending out text messages with ongoing updates.

However due to concerns regarding lone working we have had to suspend the Fairlight nurse Friday Clinic from 7th January 2022.


As we head towards the end of the year we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued patience and support, and wish you a very merry Christmas and peaceful new year.

From Dr Naomi Konu and Lead Nurse Holly Blake on behalf of the Harold Road Surgery Team

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