Total Triage

Coming soon

Important notice for our patients: Transition to total triage system

Please note this page is background information only.
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Dear Patients,

We hope this message finds you well. This is to inform you about an important update to the way our GP surgery will be operating in the future. In our ongoing efforts to improve patient care and access to our services, we will be transitioning to a Total Triage System.

We understand that any change can bring questions and concerns, so we want to take this opportunity to explain what this means for you and why we are making this change.

Current timeline is expect to be around 22nd April 2024

What is Total Triage?

Total Triage is a system designed to ensure that every patient gets the right care, at the right time, by the right healthcare professional. It means that rather than booking acute appointments directly, you will first be assessed (or triaged) to determine the most appropriate next steps for your care. This assessment can happen through an online form, over the phone or if you don't have access to internet or phone we are hoping to set up a PC in Reception.

Haven’t we always done this?

It is true that we do currently run a system with some triage elements in it. We have questionnaires that the Patient Support Advisors use which are written by GPs. We also have what we call a duty list which is assessed by a clinician. Whilst these were positive steps they still leave inefficiencies and time is not being used as effectively as it could.

Why Are We Moving to Total Triage?

  • Improved Access to Care: This system allows us to more efficiently manage our appointments, ensuring that those who need urgent care receive it promptly. It also helps in identifying the most appropriate healthcare professional for your needs, which may not always be a GP or even in the surgery.
  • Better Use of Resources: By allocating our resources more effectively, we can offer more timely and specialised care, reducing waiting times and improving health outcomes.
  • Flexibility for Patients: We understand that our patients have diverse needs and lifestyles. Total Triage offers various ways to get in touch with us, catering to different preferences and ensuring accessibility for all.
  • Equity of access: Previously it was difficult to ensure that appointments were fairy distributed and that led to long phone queues early in the day.
  • Enhanced Patient Safety: In the wake of the global health challenges we've faced, ensuring the safety of our patients and staff is paramount. Total Triage helps us minimise unnecessary physical contact and reduce the risk of infection whilst ensuring those that need a face to face appointment will get one.

How Does it Work?

  1. Contact Us: When you have a health concern, you simply contact the surgery as you normally would. This could be via our Website (with a new form coming soon), Telephone (where the Patient Support Advisor will enter your details into the same online form for you) or in reception where we hope to place a PC for patients to use.
  2. Equity of access: No matter which route you chose once any forms or questionnaires are completed and any additional information provided they will go straight onto a Triage List. All on the day acute requests will follow this route there will be no option for patients to book acute appointments directly. Patient Support Advisors will no longer have access to book most appointments for GPs or Advanced Care Practitioners.
  3. Initial Assessment (Triage): Your needs will be assessed by a healthcare professional that day to ensure they are dealt with in a timely manner.
  4. Guidance on Next Steps: Depending on the outcome of the triage, you will be advised on the next steps. This could include advice on self-care, a prescription sent directly to your pharmacy, a face-to-face or telephone appointment with a clinician, a referral to a pharmacist or signposting to a more appropriate service. You will be informed of this by text, email or telephone call.
  5. Appointments: We will be aiming book any required appointments, whether telephone or face to face on the same day so please be prepared for a call from the Patient Support Advisors inviting you in that day. If you are not available the same day please wait until a day that you are.

How does this benefit you?

  • Improved Access to Care: Total Triage has been shown to reduce waiting times and it enables us to attend to your medical needs more promptly. By using remote consultations, where appropriate, we can free up face to face appointments for those patients that need them. 
  • Convenience: Using online options means you don't have to wait in queues on the phones or at reception, freeing phone lines up for those without online access, safe in the knowledge that everyone will be treated equally.
  • Enhanced Patient Experience: We are committed to providing you with the best possible care. Total Triage improves communication and ensures that you see the person best able to help you, in a timely way.
  • Timeliness: You will be seen in the order of priority so you can be confident that you are receiving care in the most appropriate time frame.
  • Embracing Innovation: As healthcare technology advances, we are committed to staying at the forefront of these innovations. Total Triage will enable us to adapt and evolve with the changing healthcare landscape and ensure that you benefit from the latest advances in medical care

What do you need to do?

  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye on our website for updates on how to access our services and use the new system.
  • Be Open to New Methods: Whether it's a video consultation or completing an online form, these new tools are here to make access to care easier and safer for you.
  • Feedback: Your feedback is invaluable. As we transition to this new system, we want to hear about your experiences and how we can improve. We also want to hear any questions so we can update this advice on any areas that are unclear.

About changes

If you would like to be more involved in discussing change at LissonWell you can join our Patient Participation Group, please visit the PPG page on our website

We are committed to providing the highest standard of care to our community, and we believe that moving to a Total Triage System is a significant step forward in achieving this goal. We understand that changes can be challenging, but we are here to support you every step of the way.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Best Wishes,

Lisson Grove and Woolwell Medical Centres


Frequently asked questions

As we move forward with this project we will add any common questions, explain any confusion or advise on any misconceptions here.

What if I just want to book something routine with a Nurse like a Smear?

Initially nursing team appointments will be unchanged but we do have some improvements coming in that area.

What if I have an important, but non-urgent question for my doctor?

Requests like this will be dealt with in the same way they are currently, and there will still be some limited 'routine' slots that we can book into. Generally we are aiming to deal with demand on the day as much as possible, otherwise we may end up pre-filling all available slots and the most urgent may miss out.

Why can I not just call in for an appointment?

You can, Total triage will be used the same way regardless of how you contact us. The triage could be completed over the phone, via online services or at the front desk. The important thing is that there will be no queue jumping, however you contact us your information will be put into one list and triaged by a senior clinician based on your needs. This makes it easier to access an appointment for patients who cannot call us at 08:00.

Can I reply to the text message with questions or to give more information?

We only allow text replying for certain types of text messages, such as when we request a photo for example. As a general rule we do not allow replies to messages. If you have questions regarding your contact the best method would be to call us.

What if I am not available when the call is scheduled?

When you are booked in for a same day calls it is usually considered 'urgent' and these clinics work in a very fluid way and can't be set to a specific time. 

When you are booked in for a call it is not scheduled to a locked time, instead you are added to a special list called a 'clinic' on our system, which works almost like a wait list, and our clinical team work through this list in order of urgency. This means we cannot give you a specific time for when to expect a call, because you may move up or down the list as the day goes on.

If you ask us not to call at a specific time we do try to take your preferences into consideration.

Because same day calls are triaged as urgent we treat them as such and do not book them in advance but get to them as urgently as we can. If you are unavailable on the day you are requesting a call we usually suggest calling on another day or booking a routine appointment.

What if I can't access online services?

You dont need to use online services if you dont want to, you can still access services without them. You can still contact us in all the same ways as before.

However you contact us your information will be put into one total triage list and triaged by a senior clinician based on your needs. This includes online, over the phone and at the front desk, the person helping you will enter your information into the traige and you will be triaged the same way regardless of how you contact us. 

Can I use the online triage system for children now?

Yes, that will be the intention. The online request will now be dealt with on the day at the same time as calls, whereas previously it was a response in two working days.

How will you avoid people abusing the system to get an appointment?

Many practices have found this method to be very sucessful. As access becomes better and more spread there is confidence built. Then it is down to individual's own judgement about being honest, if we saw blatant lying we may need to reassess.

What if I need a physical examination and want to be seen face-to-face?

We would collect as much information from your questionnaire and gather any follow up information (e.g. photos) and then decide whether to book you straight in for face-to-face or a phone call.
We recognise that currently far too many end up being called and then also brought in so two appointments are used rather than one. Part of this new system is to cut down that and get the right appointment type first time.

What is considered urgent?

If something is 'urgent' it means that means that you might need immediate clinical intervention for your symptoms. 

Urgent appointments are usually booked for the same day that you tell us about your symptoms, but they might be a day or so after. Your symptoms are triaged by a senior clinical who will decide if your symptoms need urgent assessment, sometimes this might mean we need to get your medications changed quickly, or you may need to be refered on to another service as soon as possible. 

Will it be faster than the current online triage?

We would expect to respond at maximum 24hrs hours but within a couple of hours for most. Currently online is only for non-urgent so this changes to urgent and therefore we need to deal quicker.
We will push online as easiest and quickest for patients we hope that will free up phone lines for those who are unable to access online.

Who does the initial triage?

The triage is always completed by a member of Senior Clinical staff. Our reception team will take the information and pass it on to the person doing the triage. 

It sounds a little confusing

It does, but in reality there won't be a big change in what you see as a patient, you still contact us the same way, you will just have more options, but it will mean we are seeing patients in a more fair way and quicker.