Appointment Policy

 

Our booking system allows us to be flexible when scheduling an appointment to suit your health care needs, whether your needs are urgent or non urgent. We offer standard, complex or prolonged appointments which can be made with your preferred GP. 'On Day' appointments are avalible however they may not be with your usual doctor, our doctors take a team care approach to your health and will liaise with each other if necessary. Please discuss your healthcare needs with our reception staff, as they are trained to be able to assit you in determining the most appropriate length and timing of your consultation.

 

Home Visits:

Each doctor has a designated time allocated for home visits to see patients that are unable to attend the practice.

 

Procedures:

It is very important to inform our reception staff when making an appointment, that you require a procedure, as these are time specific appointments.

 

Appointments for Family Members:

Each family member requires an individual appointment, (one appointment per family member).

 

Third Parties in Appointments:

If a third party is to be present during your appointment, we will ask for your consent. Our practice is a teaching and training practice and often has medical students on short-term placements. You are free to consent or decline to have a medical student present.

 

Patients Usual Doctor:

Patients are able to request their preferred doctor when making an appointment  our reception staff will endevour to ensure that our patients see their usual treating doctor. If a patient is not able to see their usual GP, they will be advised of the availability of the other doctors in our practice.

 

Cancellation and No Shows:

We monitor and mark accordingly in our appointment system, attempts to contact the patients. This information is recorded in the patients notes.

 

Recall Appointments:

These are marked in red on our appointment system, you will be advised that the appointment is a Recall. Reception staff will follow up patients who do not arrive/ attend. These appointments will not be changed without the reception informing the doctor due to their high importance. The appointment, if able to be rescheduled will again be marked in red. Why red,? this signals to all staff the importance of the appointment.

 

 

 

Follow up of Tests, Results and Referrals Policy

 

When ordering diagnostic tests:

  • At least 3 identifying questions are asked to ensure the correct patient is receiving the correct test.

  • Patients are given all the appropriate information in regard to why and how the tests will be performed so an informed decision about the investigation, referral or test can be made.

  • We advise our patients when tests are ordered outlining the following;

  • the significance of the investigations, results  or referral & any costs.

  • how to obtain results and who is responsible for follow up.

 

 

Review of all results, reports and clinical correspondence received:

 

  • reception and nursing staff receiving results, reports and correspondence that have not already been directly downloaded in to our clinical software, scan all correspondence into the appropriate doctors inbox for checking before it is transferred into the clinical notes.

  • If a Doctor is not on duty the inbox is directed to another doctor in our practice on that day

  • If pathology services etc. need to contact our Doctors outside normal workings hours they are contacted on their mobiles.

  • When the Doctor checks the inbox they either choose no action if nothing is to be followed up, non-urgent appointment if they wish to see the patient with in the next few weeks or if they have a comment to be given to the patient (this list is printed weekly by reception and patients called) or urgent appointment if the patient is required to be seen with in the week with a comment to say when the patient needs to be seen (this list is printed daily by reception) or this option may be used if a patient needs antibiotics or further test performed before review.

  • Clinical reason as to why the tests where ordered are put on the request. If these were ordered by another Doctor the patient notes can be viewed or if urgent hand over has generally happened so the viewing doctor is aware if urgent.

  • By selecting non-urgent appointment or urgent appointment with the appropriate message will indicate how urgent this follow up is required.

 

 

Communicating with patients about tests, results and referrals:

  • When a test is requested the patient is told to make an appointment for a follow up after the test is done. If urgent they are requested to call that afternoon and the test is marked urgent.

  • the patient is informed about the expected timeframe for getting tests or investigations or appointments with specialists or allied health providers at the time of the request.

  • When a patient calls or we call them for a result we firstly identify the patient and give the patient the doctors comment on the test. If the patient requires more information they are given an appointment.

  • When the patient is given a result it is marked as notified in the patients clinical notes. Any further instruction have been documented

  • If a test has been received and is urgent the doctor often calls the patient directly when needed and documents the phone call

 

 

Identification for follow up of clinically significant investigations and referrals that have been ordered:

  • Doctors regularly check there inbox and also regularly check the outstanding requests

  • If the result received is marked urgent the doctor is called by the provider of the tests and then the patient is notified to come in for an appointment.

  • We have a recall system that is reviewed and followed up weekly by our practice nurse.

  • The doctors comment will be specific and let reception know how urgent this follow up is required

  • The level of follow up will be entered by the referring Doctor. If urgent it will be followed up that day if not within the next week.

 

 

What is your system to recall patients with clinically significant results, reports and clinical correspondence?:

  • To contact patients we make phone calls at different times/numbers. If unable to contact by phone we send a letter via registered mail

  • The doctor will determine if the correspondence is urgent

  • When a follow up appointment is made the patient name is marked with a shade of red in the appointment book to know they have been called in for a follow up. If the appointment is already made but results need to be followed up the patient name is marked red. or a message if put under the patients name in the appointment book or in the patients documents. If at the end of the day the patient DNA it is marked in the patients notes and then another appointment is made

  • Whenever follow up appointments are made or results are given it is documented in the patient notes

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

All patient information is private and confidentiality of patient information must be maintained at all times. The rights of every patient are to be respected.  All information collected by this practice in providing a health service is deemed to be private and confidential.

 

This practice complies with Federal and State privacy regulations including the Privacy Act 1998, the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 as well as the standards set out in the RACGP Handbook for the Management of Health Information in Private Medical Practice 1st Edition (2002).  (Refer Section 6 Privacy and Security of Health Information).

 

Under no circumstances are employees of this practice to discuss or in any way reveal patient conditions or documentation to unauthorised staff, colleagues, other patients, family or friends, whether at the practice or outside it, such as in the home or at social occasions.  This includes patient’s accounts, referral letters, tests ordered, test results or any other clinical information. 

 

General Practitioners and staff are aware of confidentiality requirements for all patient encounters and recognise that significant breaches of confidentiality may provide grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal.

 

Every employee of this practice is aware of the privacy policy and has signed a privacy statement as part of their terms and conditions of employment.  This privacy statement continues to be binding on employees even after their employment has terminated.

 

Procedure:

All employees of this practice are issued with the privacy policy and sign a privacy statement as part of their terms and conditions of employment.  The policies and procedures of the practice are further explained during the induction of new staff members, and the induction form is signed by the new employee as confirmation that they understand and accept their obligations in relation to patient privacy and the confidentiality of medical information.  

 

Complaints Policy

 

Patients and others have opportunities to register their complaints either verbally to staff and/or the practice manager, in writing (letter) or via our suggestion box.  Patients should feel free to complain anonymously if desired.

 

All staff should be prepared to address complaints as they arise. 

When receiving complaints staff should keep in mind the following in order to minimise further patient anxiety and hostility, possible leading to litigation:

  • handle all complaints seriously, no matter how trivial they may seem.

  • verbal complaints made in person should be addressed in a private area of the practice where possible.

  • use tactful language when responding to complaints.

  • don’t blame other staff. Patients may not have all the facts or may distort them. 

  • address the patient’s expectations regarding how they want the matter resolved.

  • assure the patient that their complaint will be investigated and the matter not overlooked.

  • offer the patients the opportunity to complete a formal complaint form. (They may accept or decline).

  • document or Log all complaints and other relevant information and place this in the complaint folder so the designated complaints staff member is informed of the complaint. (even if you believe the matter has been resolved).

  • alert the doctor or relevant clinical staff, about disgruntled or hostile patients so he/she can diffuse the situation immediately.

  • always inform the designated complaints officer/ practice manager if you  become aware of any significant statements made by the patient or significant change in patient attitude. Often patients will tell staff when they are reluctant to tell the doctor.

  • Ensure documentation is recorded in the appropriate notes.

 

The practice has identified Noelle Dalgliesh (practice manager) to be the team leader responsible for feedback collection and analysis and handling complaints. Noelle coordinates the investigation and resolution of complaints.

  • acknowledge the patients right to complain

  • use the Acknowledgment of Complaint letter provided and respond to complaints in writing as soon as possible.

  • telephone the patient to let him/her know that you are working on the problem

  • respond to all complaints promptly in an open and constructive manner including an explanation and if appropriate an apology.

  • work with the patient to resolve the complaint and communicate the outcome with the patient including any changes made as a result of the complaint.

  • if the complaint is of a medical nature always refer it to a doctor. 

  • where a complaint is made against a staff member provide them with an opportunity to discuss the details in a private setting.

  • as a routine contact the practices insurer when there is a complaint about a member of the clinical team in order to seek advice on resolving the complaint before any action is taken.

  • ensure the complaint does not adversely affect the patents care.

  • record the complaint, investigation, and actions, with a copy placed in the patient’s medical record if related to patient care and the details also retained in the complaints file.

  • ensure where appropriate complaints are reviewed at staff meetings.  Analyse trends and discuss the methods of resolution.  Other types of patient feedback - i.e. surveys, suggestion box are also reviewed at staff meetings 

  •  a record of improvement made in response to patient feedback or complaints is maintained as evidence of quality assurance activity.

  • where appropriate inform the patient/s about practice improvements made as a result of their input.

 

If the matter cannot be resolved advise the patient about how to contact the Health Complaints commissioner.

 

The National Privacy Commissioner is able to receive complaints concerning privacy issues.  Complaints here will have a response within 28 days.

 

National Privacy Commissioner

Privacy hotline 1300 363 992. 

GPO Box 5218

Sydney NSW 2001

http://www.privacy.gov.au/complaints

Members of the public may make a notification to Australian Health practitioner regulation agency (AHPRA) http://www.ahpra.gov.au/ (AHPRA) about the conduct, health or performance of a practitioner or the health of a student. Practitioners, employers and education providers are all mandated by law to report notifiable conduct relating to a registered practitioner or student to AHPRA. 

© Union Street Family Medical Practice.