Surgery bosses defend under-fire phone system

Staff at the Mayflower Medical Centre in Dovercourt when its phone triage system was introduced.

Staff at the Mayflower Medical Centre in Dovercourt when its phone triage system was introduced.

First published in News

PATIENTS have called for a controversial phone triage system to be reviewed in the wake of a national study which found it does not save time or money.

The Mayflower Medical Centre in Dovercourt introduced the system where doctors call patients back to determine their need for a visit last year, despite outcry from residents branding it as playing "Russian roulette" with patients' health.

But a study by Exeter University School of Medicine has found the consultations fail to save time compared with normal appointments.

The study of 42 practices found telephone triage by a doctor or a nurse only results in a redistribution of practice workload.

It also concluded the system is no more expensive or cheaper than care provided by face-to-face appointments.

Andy Salmon, of Church Street, said: “I still feel that the system could be dangerous, should a patient under emphasise the seriousness of their illness or symptoms, maybe someone vulnerable or older.

But Mayflower Medical Centre practice manager Lizzie Stovell said patients would be waiting much longer if they went back to the old appointments system.

She said: “I must say that we’re all clear here at the Mayflower Centre that the way we run our call-back system works well for patients."

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