The Red Practice, Walton-on-Thames

Advanced Telephony


Difficulties in getting through to primary care services via telephone are a widely reported problem across the country. NHS England South East commissioned Redmoor Health to support PCNs and Practices across their region to optimise the use of their chosen telephony systems, for the benefit of the region’s patient population. The PCNs and practices were all at different stages in their journey, with some having had products in place for a long time, compared to others who were only just getting set up.

The Red Practice is a single site practice in Walton-on-Thames, serving 10,900 registered patients.


The practice was struggling with long call wait time for their patients to get through to a call handler, with many queued calls ending up being missed. Their existing telephone system was not working efficiently for them and the way that reports were formatted didn’t help the Practice to understand the data.


It was clear that data would be key to understanding how their system could be improved and so in December 2022 they changed their telephone provider to Surgery Connect. From there, Redmoor Health were asked to help the Practice understand how they could interrogate and use their data to make relevant changes and improve their processes such as call flows, call queuing and call backs to support access and demand. This was done in a way that allowed them to align their processes, so that all patients have the same experience when accessing primary care.

Redmoor’s programme management and coordination included:

  • Development and delivery of webinars
  • 1:1 sessions with PCNs/practices
  • Training sessions on understanding their data, and process mapping
  • ‘Cheat sheets’ for staff to ensure they were using systems in the most efficient way
  • Reviewing telephone data and call flows


As a result of this work, the practice was able to start looking at their systems and processes for decreasing their average call queuing time, reducing calls through the promotion of other options such as website signposting, an SMS service with links for booking, and more.

By reviewing their call patterns and call queue times, and having ways the system can let them know when more manpower is required, they have been able to create relevant solutions. These have included looking at how they front load their team during different periods and how they create resilience for staff holidays and sickness. When there is a ‘crisis on reception’, with staff members on holiday coupled with others off sick, they are now able to consider whether they can draft in cover remotely.

They have also made technical changes such as adding different call options and different hold messaging to let people know of the other ways they can get in touch such as online, or times of the day that they can call when average call waiting times are less; all of which have contributed to processing calls more quickly.


So far, the impact of this work has been considerable, both for patients and staff. Whilst total calls have remained fairly consistent to date, the percentage of calls answered has increased by up to 23%.

Call waiting times, which were an issue for patients, have reduced by 33% from highs of over 25 minutes to just over 8 minutes. As a result, staff confidence has improved and is energising the team to continue looking at ways to improve.

Whether it is by training and helping you use and embed technology, showcasing the great work you are doing, or helping you learn from experiences we have been part of elsewhere. Contact us to see how we can transform your digital practice.