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August Practice of the Month: Lockside Medical Centre

Our August POTM is Lockside Medical Centre. Joanna Bircher (GP at Lockside, CCG Quality Improvement lead & Clinical Director of Greater Manchester GP Excellence Programme) first endorsed Chain SMS to the GM GP Excellence programme, doubling the amount of practices using Chain SMS in the Greater Manchester area. She’s just done another area referral for Tameside and Glossop CCG. We had a quick chat with Joanna, who shared the top 3 things she likes about Chain:


1. It reduces incoming calls, saving reception time:


“If I’m on the phone and someone misses a call, I’m keen that they don’t ring the practice back. If they miss my call, I’ll text them and let them know that I’ll try again, and not to call back. This has helped because before, they’d try to ring back right away. When this happens, they come through to reception, who then has to send me a screen message saying they called back - they usually don’t get through to me because I’m calling another patient by that point - it’s just unnecessary work for the receptionists because I was going to call back anyway.”


2. It helps to get more patients to consent to receiving texts:


“I’ve been in consultations with people and wanting to use Chain send a link to an NHS leaflet or to patient.uk. Sometimes it flags up that they previously declined SMS consent. When this happens, I ask them, and they’re usually quite happy for us to text them. I then ask if they’re happy for me to remove them from opt out and they usually say yes. I think their initial fear is that we’ll send them marketing messages or something, but when they learn it’s relevant they’re really keen to get communication this way.”

3. It lets you see how your staff communicates with patients:


“I also find the practice usage page really helpful, though I admit I’m a bit of a data freak. It’s nice to be able to feed back to high users that they’re communicating with patients really well. It also lets you see who’s not sending many texts and may not be as confident and needs hand holding.”



Chain SMS is now used in more than 2,000 practices across England, Wales and Jersey and Northern Ireland. Even better, Chain takes less than two minutes to install! You can just download it to try out or you can install for everyone at your practice. You can find a guide to installing here. For more information on our new Pathways feature please click here.

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