Hillview Surgery is a large NHS training practice in Perivale, North West London, with a practice population of approx. 11,000 and provides services to all patients registered in Ealing. The team consists of GPs, pharmacists, nurses, HCAs, a social prescriber as well as full administration and management support.
The arrival of the COVID pandemic in 2020 demonstrated that the existing phone system at Hillview Surgery was not going to be able to meet the demands of increased capacity and the need for staff and practitioners to be able to work remotely, from home for example. For Joy Bennett, Business Manager at Hillview, the "risk of more and more people working remotely, meant our previous phone system, which was adequate pre-pandemic, would not be suitable for the new way of working. This was the main driving force to replacing the system.
"With a diverse workforce some staff needed to shield self-isolating. As a public health service we were unable to furlough staff, so once their sick pay ran out they would have been unpaid. We wanted to give them the opportunity to carry on working and earning throughout the lockdown."
Surgery Connect functions remotely just as it does in the practice, with calls made from personal mobiles or softphones without incurring costs to the mobile account. The usual practice phone number is presented to the patient with calls tracked and recorded. All features and functionality are available wherever staff are located. Joy points out that people can "call my surgery number, without knowing that I am not sitting in the practice.
"I always have the user console online, so I can see who's logged in and how we are managing call volume. I also use the management reports to confirm that people that are working from home, being a remote worker myself, the only way I can see that we're actually correctly staffed is by those logs."
Call recording has also proved useful when liaising with staff having "diffused quite a few complaints, and has worked really well for training purposes. Sometimes the team don't understand how they come across to callers until they actually hear themselves, so it has been a very useful tool."
Surgery Connect was selected by Hillview after Joy's team extensively reviewed 3 services: "One of the reasons we chose X-on was the online training webinars; so easy to do. And the ease of use of your system."
Integrated remote working was also a factor for Hillview: "It supports business continuity. As staff have had to self-isolated we have been able to allow them to work from home. So, during the pandemic, no matter how many people went down, we always managed to have enough staff to answer the phones and to deal with queries and ensure that patients got the help they needed, even if we were not physically in the building.
"One of our HCAs was shielding and used this opportunity to phone all our patients aged over 80, and anybody over the age of 70 that lived alone, at least once a week as a welfare check. The phone system meant that she did not have to worry about them accidentally getting her phone number, or running up bills. Patients saw the surgery number on their phone rather than a withheld or unknown number, so they were happy to accept the call. It really was great and the patients appreciated the contact."
Hillview Surgery Says
"It has all been excellent, literally from the demos, which were extremely professional, all the way through to ordering, in easy steps. It was easy for me to provide the required information so the system could be set up as we needed at handover and there have been no issues since going live.
"It feels comfortable. It's easy to understand. It's easy to learn. And it does everything you need."
For further information on Surgery Connect please call Sales on 0333 332 0000.