Surgery takes action after patients speak out

Milman and Kennet Surgery increased receptionists at busy times after we collected your stories about GP phone access in a Reading-wide survey.
Photo of Milman Rd Surgery

A Reading GP practice in Reading has cut phone waiting times after responding to concerns raised by the public.

Milman and Kennet Surgery (based at two sites in Milman Rd, pictured above, and Cholmeley Rd) carried out its own phone audit following issues raised by their patient participant group (PPG) and a Reading-wide survey on GP phone access by Healthwatch Reading.

People had spoken out about new Covid ways of working which meant all doctors' surgeries switched to a phone-first triage system rather than letting patients pre-book appointments.

Before and After: patients' phone experience

Milman and Kennet Surgery carried out a patient phone audit, before and after extra staff were put on duty to answer calls:

  • 124 patients were surveyed in week 1 and 97 were surveyed in week 2
  • Waiting times of 10-20 minutes for calls to be answered reduced from 29% to 18%
  • Waiting times of 45 minutes+ for calls to be answered reduced from 13% to 2%
  • The percentage of calls answered in 1-5 minutes increased from 14% to 38%

After the first week of surveying patients, Milman and Kennet Surgery doubled the number of receptionists, to eight staff, who were on duty to answer patient calls during the busy hours of 8-10am. They then surveyed patients again and found the changes increased the number of people who could get through to a receptionist within 10 minutes by 35%. At the same time, the number of people who had to wait for 45 minutes or more to get through decreased by 85%.

“It’s great to see local doctors taking proactive steps to try and address major public concerns that we revealed in our recent Hanging On phone access report. We hope other surgeries in Reading follow their lead.”
— Mandeep Kaur Bains, chief executive, Healthwatch Reading

One of the surgery’s GPs, Dr Aman Bindra, said: “We are always looking at ways in which we can try and improve our services and this is one of the changes that has demonstrated a significant impact.

“We hope patients will continue to have patience and appreciate we are continually trying to adjust and adapt services to make the accessibility and quality as good as we can provide during what has and continues to be, an unprecedented time for our NHS.’

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