I met recently with a Physician Associate (PA) and spoke candidly about the frustrations of PA’s having spent several years training to care for patients to be asked, ‘can I see the doctor instead?’. The frustration I’m sure is bi-directional, as whilst the trained professional should be seen as such, the title is perceived as less. Nothing could be further from the truth with their ability to alleviate demand at the sharp end and provide a platform for the training of future doctors to take on their own patients, should they choose to. Patients, however, are perhaps comforted by the somewhat romantic vision of the local GP attending to several generations of family health. This isn’t always possible.
We only have to look at the practice of patients accessing their GP and having to explain the purpose of their appointment request to reception staff to ensure that they are signposted to the correct care. This ensures that the finite resources needed to care for patients are used correctly, but often causes concern for patients about discussing, perhaps, very personal details with non-clinical staff.
Even good ideas have to be properly explained.
So how do we ensure patient-centred care for everybody when resources are so scarce? And how can we make sure that it doesn’t backfire and create greater anxiety for patients and staff? The NHS Long Term Plan intends to roll out personalised care to some 2.5 million people over the next 2 years with that figure doubling again within a decade. That’s quite a target considering the challenges facing health providers and commissioners to bring together the systems needed to manage patient information and allow decisions to be made safely and quickly. Let’s face it, patients will only feel in control of their care, and that they have choices, when they see it in action. When systems and ultimately clinicians don’t communicate in a timely fashion, we lose patient confidence.
To find out more about how EBO transforms patient communications and processes, join EBO’s virtual event entitled ‘Alexa, where am I on the waiting list?’ on the 14th of June to hear some good ideas – properly explained. Register here.