A doctors surgery in Banbury asked to have its patient list closed by NHS England over fears the level of service it provided would have become dangerous for both GPs and patients if it had continued.
With Horsefair Surgery in South Bar House catering for 17,800 patients and with the population of Banbury set to increase, medical practice director Andrew McHugh made the decision before the New Year.
He said: “It was getting to the point where patients at the end of the day were not getting the same level of treatment at the start. GPs would normally have seen 72 patients in a day and if the level of service continued it would have become dangerous for both of them.”
The surgery is now set to implement a new clinical triage system on Monday, where patients will have to phone up and speak to a receptionist who will book them in with the appropriate clinician depending on what they want to do or what is wrong with them.
Mr McHugh added that although it might not be popular with patients in the short term, other surgeries adopting a similar system have managed to free up GP times by 40 per cent, meaning they will be more alert and motivated, dealing with less patients and able to give more time to those who really need to see a doctor.
He said: “The idea behind it is to make sure that patients who do need to be seen on the day are seen on the day. We can divert people who don’t need to be seen on the day to speak with a more appropriate clinician.
“If we can bring the number of patients that GPs see each day down by 40 per cent to about 50 it means that each of those patients are going to get a good quality and high level of care. The doctors will be less tired and not feeling burnt out when dealing with each one.”