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New System Trial for Riverside Patients

Musselburgh patients at the Riverside Practice will be involved in  a four-month trial project with NHS 24 to manage same-day appointment requests.

The project, which commences in late November, will mean that for some patients calling the practice for a same-day appointment, their call will be passed to NHS 24. 

Under this project, calls sent to NHS 24 will be safely triaged by the organisation's healthcare team who will then offer the patient the most appropriate method of care. Importantly, those who require to see a GP will still do so, but for some, their needs may be best met by seeing another health professional. Patients with minor ailments or medicine queries could be directed to their community pharmacist. And where appropriate, others may be signposted to self-help information such as that on NHS inform.

The call-back service is part of a large collaboration involving  NHS 24's 'In-Hours GP Triage' programme, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership and the Riverside GP Practice. Its aims are to provide capacity within the GP practice which will enable them to increase the number of patient appointments they can offer with the Practice GPs and other healthcare professionals. In the New Year the service will expand to offer appointments to Riverside practice patients with a range of clinical staff including nurse practitioners and physiotherapists in the Musselburgh Primary Access Service.

Dr Richard Fairclough, Partner, Riverside Practice, said:

'We welcome the opportunity to work with NHS 24 to trial the patient call-back service, particularly as it will provide us with the opportunity to have more face-to-face time with our patients. This will help to ease the pressure on appointments and benefit service provision to all of our patients. We are encouraging all of our patients to support this new way of working. The initial call handling by our staff will ensure that we correctly identify those calls that NHS24 are best placed to deal with.'


As well as telephone triage, the GP Triage Service will include redirecting patients to a range of digital options including NHS inform's healthcare information, webchat service and Self Help Guides. 

The GP Triage service is one of a number of projects currently being developed as part of NHS 24's ambitious Organisational Improvement Programme.

Dr Laura Ryan, Medical Director, NHS 24, said:

'NHS 24 are excited to have the opportunity to work with our colleagues in NHS Lothian to support the transformation of primary care.  Our organisation has built up 15 years of experience connecting patients to health and care advice and information when GP surgeries are closed.  The GP Triage project has already had one highly successful trial with a Practice in Forth Valley and as part of our overarching Organisational Improvement Programme, we are actively seeking ways we can support a healthier Scotland by connecting people to health and care advice, information and support 24/7.'


East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership Director, David Small, said:

'We are committed to improving access to primary care services. The Call Back Service and Musselburgh Primary Care Access Service are two of the key developments we are working on locally in Musselburgh. We know that the town has a rapidly expanding population with lots of different needs. By doing things a little bit differently and making the best use of our resources, we think that we can ensure that people see the right healthcare professional at the right time, which we know will lead to a much better experience for our patients and also to much better health outcomes generally.'


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