Wigmore Medical Centre

Advanced Telephony


Difficulties in getting through to primary care services via telephone are a widely reported problem across the country. The NHS England South East Region Primary Care Transformation Team commissioned Redmoor Health to support Primary Care
Networks (PCNs) and GP practices in their region to optimise the use of their chosen telephony systems, for the benefit of the regional patient population. The PCNs and GP 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.

Wigmore Medical Centre, which has 4,742 patients, were struggling to cope with the amount of call they received during the 8am rush. The practice was happy with its telephone system, however, staff wanted some more information on how they might be able to optimise their call flow and the different features available for them to use.


Redmoor Health supported the Wigmore Medical Centre to do a deep dive into their data, which showed that they had 17.2 calls on average per hour and their average queue time was two minutes 31 seconds. The average queue time missed was two minutes 23 seconds, meaning if patients had stayed on for approximately 10 more seconds they might have been answered.


Redmoor Health was asked to help Wigmore Medical Centre understand how they can use their data to make relevant changes and improve their processes such as call flows, call queuing and callbacks to support access and demand.

Redmoor Health’s programme management and coordination included:

  • Development and delivery of webinars
  • 1:1 sessions with the PCNs and GP practices
  • Training sessions on understanding data, and process mapping
  • ‘Cheat sheets’ for staff to assist with best use of telephone systems
  • Reviewed telephone data and call flows


Analysing their data further, Redmoor Health made a number of recommendations. The data highlighted where there were gaps in capacity, and where the practice may benefit from more staff on the phones. Unsurprisingly, 8am-9am was highlighted as a gap, as well as 2pm-4pm on a Friday, due to a surge in calls ahead of the weekend. It was recommended to have another staff member on the phone during these busy hours. The Erlang calculator enabled the teams to use their data to see how many members of staff should be managing the phone lines. The GP practice was also supported with:

Menu options
Redmoor Health recommended the Wigmore Medical Centre should look at changing the menu options
to support access. Examples included:

  1. Cancel Appointments
  2. Book appointments
  3. Prescription queries (diverting to online services)
  4. Test results (after 3pm)

At the time the menu option only gave patients the option to choose option 1 for reception. Research shows that 10% of calls GP Practices receive are to cancel or check appointment times. By adding cancel appointments as menu option one and using the “Interactive Voice Response” or “Auto Attendant” features patients can cancel their appointment using their keypad or voice and no longer need to speak to a receptionist.

Online service
Wigmore Medical Centre was recommended to focus on pushing online services and online consultation tools in the opening message, to reduce the number of calls to the surgery.

Flu season
They were also recommended to use the “Interactive Voice Response” or “Auto Attendant” features so patients can choose their flu appointment via their keypad or voice. They had to contact their supplier to set it up as it wasn’t currently activated.

Changes were made to the initial set-up options so that booking an appointment was offered later in the list, encouraging patients to utilise a self-serving option first. This meant that the practice was able to reduce their call back buster feature to start at a maximum of five patients queueing rather than 10. This gave patients a better experience. 


Kelly from the Wigmore Medical Centre said:

“We found the bitesize sessions and additional meetings for support really useful. Thank you to Redmoor. We have already implemented some of the changes discussed in regard to the caller options and reducing the number of people queuing before the call-back feature kicks in. I won’t have any data for a few months to see the benefits of the changes as the options have confused patients initially and we are getting a lot coming through on the wrong lines. Hopefully, this will settle over the next few weeks.”

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