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New ‘virtual medical receptionist’ to help South Westland

Media release

Monday 14 September, 2015

Media release

Friday 26 February 2016

New ‘virtual medical receptionist’ service to help South Westland

A new service offering greater access to booking general practice appointments in South Westland will become operational on Monday 21 March when a three month trial begins.

People sometimes struggle to contact services in South Westland to book appointments at a time convenient for them. South Westland area staff receive thousands of phone calls a year, and sometimes have to deal with multiple callouts at night and on during the weekend, for health matters that are non-urgent.

The West Coast District Health Board has contracted tele-triage services provider Homecare Medical to support local staff and communities.

“It’s important we look after both patients and staff,” DHB General Manager Grey/Westland Mark Newsome says.

“The Homecare Medical virtual medical receptionist phone service will mean greater access for our community to book appointments, and reduce the after-hours burden on our staff,” Mr Newsome says.

“How it will work is that people will continue to ring their local clinic number or 0800 SWHealth (0800 7943 2584), which will now be answered by Homecare Medical receptionists who will be able to book appointments. This service will be offered Monday to Saturday from 8.30am to 6pm.

Homecare Medical registered nurses will continue to provide support outside those hours and, when appropriate, transfer the call through to one of our South Westland nurses. During the trial we will be assessing the possibility of further extending the time when people can book appointments,” he says.

“Of course people should ring 111 if they have a medical emergency.”

Members of the communities in the following areas are welcome to drop in and meet new DHB staff based in South Westland and Homecare Medical representatives at the following times/locations:

Tuesday 8 March:

Haast Clinic, 12noon

Franz Josef Clinic, 7.00pm

Wednesday 9 March:

Hari Hari Clinic, 10.15am

Mr Newsome says there will be a three month trial to ensure the expected benefits for both staff and communities are achieved.

“We will also be listening to our staff and our community during this time about their experiences of the new service.”

If people have queries about how the new system will work or want to provide feedback, they can contact swfeedback@wcdhb.health.nz.

Homecare Medical is a New Zealand company with hubs in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

ends


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