Long Bennington Medical Centre services 6,400 patients in numerous villages surrounding Long Bennington, Lincolnshire, providing a range of Nursing and Counselling services plus Child Health and Physiotherapy clinics and minor operations. The practice also runs an apprenticeship scheme training business interns.
As is commonly the case with legacy systems, line capacity was significantly hindering the ability of the practice to communicate with its patients. This was exacerbated during the advent of COVID with patients struggling to get through and practice staff and GPs unable to make outbound calls from the practice. Michelle Rees, Finance and Business Manager at Long Bennington Medical Centre, realised that it was “time to look for something that’s suitable for the practice going forward over the next 10 years.”
The team at Long Bennington wanted a system that would grow with the practice. With a lot of development in the area they are expecting continual growth in their patient numbers and after some research decided that “we needed something cloud based. With unlimited lines we’re not going to be in a position where somebody can’t get through because we are dialling out. We knew it would cope with the number of calls that we’re getting.”
Surgery Connect is a cloud based GP Telephony System designed specifically for healthcare, and currently servicing over 13 million patients throughout the UK as the premier healthcare communications system. Along with unlimited capacity, Surgery Connect includes an enormous range of features addressing every possible practice requirement while having been built to be easy to use. As Michelle observes: “when we spoke to the staff about having a new system, I think they were all a little bit concerned; ‘Oh, are we going to be able to cope with it?’ But after the training, and then after the first day, they just switched, completely switched, and embraced the change fully.”
The comprehensive Surgery Connect reporting has been crucial in the efficient running of the practice. “All the reports and everything that the management can see are brilliant. Now we can look at what calls are coming in, when they’re coming in, and where the staff need to be. Do we need to make any adjustments? We never had that before. It was always a guessing game and we never knew what the real figures were. But now we have them. And it’s brilliant.”
For Michelle the management statistics have been most significant, “because you can see a snapshot. You can pick your dates and see exactly where you are with the calls, and history as well.”
“I work from home on a monthly basis and I’ve used the system with the softphone. And it’s really interesting how it works, and definitely beneficial because we’ve not had that before either.”
The Change Cycle
“We gave staff the reasons why we were changing. If staff understand why it’s happening they take it on board a lot better. And we did that. We involved everybody. And yeah, we’ve had no negative feedback.
“We’ve had support from X-on right from the outset, by email or phone call, taking us through the onboarding. Seeing the change from the old system to the new system… We’re in the future now.”
Michelle has observed that “from a patient’s perspective, it’s making it easier for them to get through; before they couldn’t get through, whereas now there is a queueing system. So if they want to hold, they can. It means they don’t just get a cutoff sound and then go into the abyss.
“Our feedback has been positive.”
Michelle comments: “I’m glad we chose X-on. We had several quotes, but we looked at the feedback on the practice managers’ forums, and all the feedback was positive. There wasn’t anything negative. And that was basically our decision: ‘we like what we see’ and what we’ve heard sounds really, really good. So that made us go with X-on.”
“Prior to Surgery Connect we always had the phone system on our minds: ‘What happens if we get a rush of calls and things go down?’ It did become something that we kind of worried about.
“I’m just really pleased that we changed. It’s been a good journey.”Michelle Rees, Finance and Business Manager, Long Bennington Medical Centre