Patients at two Bognor Regis surgeries are about to benefit from a radical new appointment system.
GPs at Maywood and Bersted Green have combined to become the first in the town to offer the triage system.
The arrangements begin next Tuesday. Patients who think they need attention the same day will be assessed by a member of the three-strong triage team.
They will offer an appointment that day or within a few days if they consider it is necessary.
Other patients will be given advice or prescriptons.
Vicky Osborne, the practice manager at Maywood Health Centre in Hawthorn Road, said: “I’m not aware of anyone else in Bognor offering this system.
“We have been researching triage working far and wide to see what works best and what doesn’t work.
“We expect to be seeing 150 patients each day through the triage team.
“We will also be able to offer 45 per cent more GP pre-booked appointments to make it easier for patients to see the same doctor.”
Each triage team will consist of a paramedic or senior practitioner, a GP and a nurse.
All three will be working in the busy time after the surgeries open and a member of the team will be on duty throughout their opening hours.
The system is being launched to answer criticism of the 8.30am-9.30am bottleneck on the phones and long queues at the receptions as patients vie for the available appointments on the day.
They have quickly become booked up because few pre-booked appointments have been available. But some of the patients’ conditions turn out not to have needed a doctor’s attention.
This has left other patients who should have been seen, but have made contact later in the day, struggling to get an appointment.
Maywood has ten GPs looking after 13,200 patients. Bersted Green, on Durlston Drive, has some 10,000 patients and six GPs.
Maywood has also increased the self-health information on its website to try to ease the demand for appointments.