Case study: Patient Triage

Managing patient inbound at Brierley Medical Practice

In June 2022, Brierley Medical Practice overhauled their triage system to improve patient access and find a better way to manage incoming demand.
Using Patient Triage, the Barnsley-based practice has cut phone queues, improved morale and reduced ‘unnecessary’ consultations.
Barnsley healthcare federation

Context: a rush for appointments

Brierley Medical Practice is a small practice that covers 3,200 patients in South Yorkshire, many of whom are elderly or of ill health as part of an ex-mining town.
Before the practice invested in their online triage system, they asked patients to call the surgery at 8am the next day or queue outside for opening. Despite restricting the number of appointments patients could book in person, reception staff were constantly fielding requests from face-to-face patients, and by the time the phones were answered there were often no appointments left.

Lots of staff were concerned about being inundated first thing in the morning but this didn’t happen as the requests come through. Once the patients received a reply and experienced a smooth encounter, they’re willing to do it again.

Stacy Richardson, Practice Senior, Barnsley Healthcare Federation CIC
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Patient Triage has given me a much better overview of what patient requests are coming in. As the practice’s only GP, this doesn’t just help to prioritise where my resource goes but helps to get the most out of appointment time with patients.

Dr Adrienne Littlewood, GP,  Brierley Medical Practice

How the practice uses Patient Triage

In June 2022, the practice chose to use Patient Triage and widely promoted the new system to patients. As well as promoting the Patient Triage form on their website and posters in the surgery, staff now share the form with patients on a case-by-case basis, encouraging them to use it for any future requests.
The team limit the number of untriaged pre-bookable appointments they offer. This has helped to protect same-day appointment slots for patients who need them. The team quickly found that patients were happy to follow the new process.

Impact so far

Cut ‘unnecessary’

by actioning patient needs remotely when possible

‘You can take

staff are feeling empowered to manage patient demand effectively

the 8am rush

with no more queues outside the practice each morning

Higher morale and streamlined appointment capacity

  • Patients now receive treatment and advice via the online triage system, with same-day appointments offered to those who need them.
  • GP and reception staff can now view all inbound requests coming into the practice, improving the team’s morale and stress levels.
  • Staff have relieved the bottleneck of the 8am appointment rush by letting patients send requests to the practice throughout the day.