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How Does Correspondence Management Work in Practice?

Correspondence Management has been a hot topic recently in relation to the GP Forward View and the introduction of our new Thornfields courses. Here, PM Kay Ellermeyer talks about how it actually works and the big difference it has made in her practice.

About 8 weeks ago we had one of those days. I’d received a phone call from our salaried GP saying she wasn’t able to come into work - our other GPs already had full clinics, a pair of F2s to supervise and medical students with them for the day. I knew that if I didn’t do something it may have been the day we would actually collapse.

I don’t say that lightly. We are all busy but this was different, it was beyond any demand we could manage. We needed a way to ease the pressure. I knew that Correspondence Management was in the GP Forward View and that dealing with all the post that comes into the practice on a daily basis was affecting the morale of the clinical team. I thought that this was something that we could do something about.

I went into our document management system and removed all the work queued in the GPs’ inboxes. In this initial tranche there were 153 letters. Looking at them, I was truly shocked at the state of the information that we were receiving, the number of duplicates and the sheer difficulty in finding any useful information in any of the letters.

It took me about two hours on that first day to look through those 153 letters and I decided that only 47 of them needed to go to a GP. After working through them all I had reduced the pile of paperwork by two thirds. I knew that the amount of post we received was an area of concern, but I didn’t realise how bad it was until I actually read every letter.

Over the next couple of weeks, with the permission of the whole clinical team, we started a project to read every clinical letter and action it accordingly. Over the following weeks we tweaked and refined the process based on our experience.

This week I had the first view of the process with our lead GP. We went through the morning’s post together, and were delighted that we had now got a deflection rate of 85%. Amazing!

This has been the single best thing that we have done to address the rising workload for our clinical team. They are all more focussed and are not full of dread of the hours of paperwork that they have to get through each day. They know that any post that does get to them is important and will need their attention - they won’t be trawling through a four page A&E document only to find on the last page that the patient decided to leave without being seen!

As a practice we are now looking at the guidance and training provided by Thornfields to ensure that we are working safely and legally and we have put in place a policy to protect our non-clinical staff.

It’s a win-win situation and I can’t see any reason why every surgery can’t look into making this one change and make a real difference to the workload of GPs.

Why not watch our video about Correspondence Management, a new course Thornfields have created to help practices meet the GP Forward View.

If you have any queries or require further information about the Correspondence Management programme, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Account Manager (North) Helen Murray or Account Manager (South) Sharlene Bryan.

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