North London Partners in health and care

Pharmacist-led telephone triage system reduces face-to-face contacts

A pharmacist-led telephone triage system piloted by St John’s Way Medical Centre (SJW), in Islington, has reduced face-to-face contacts for urgent on the day appointments by over 50% in the first three months. Patients now are either managed entirely on the phone without the need for a face-to-face GP appointment, or are signposted to an alternative service such as a community based health provider. Initial feedback from patients and staff has been positive.

“It means patients are getting their issues solved or being navigated to the most appropriate professional in a much more efficient manner than previously, which sometimes involved sitting in a crowded waiting room for up to two to three hours. Feedback from patients, that do end up needing to be seen, is also favourable as they are given a timed appointment to see a clinician, and no longer have a sit and wait a long time to be seen,” explained project lead and practice manager, Jack Johnson-Rose.

The pilot is running for 12 months. However based on the success of the project at SJW clinical pharmacist Amira Shaikh said “we are now looking to train the rest of our Federation pharmacists on telephone triage and potentially offering pharmacists within our extended hours services.”

Read the blog as Jack and Amira explain the reasoning behind the pilot: