Communication Policy

There are multiple ways in which the practice communicates with patients and third parties.

Communication can occur through the following channels:

Face to face – this can be via consultation with your doctor or nurse or interactions with other staff members. i.e: Practice Manager or reception staff.

Telephone – Patients are able to contact the practice via telephone between the hours of 8am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am – 11am Saturday.

As the first point of contact, receptionists must review the triage support guide to ensure they are correctly assessing patient’s needs and concerns. Receptionists will often need to ask questions to determine that the patient receives the most appropriate care, at the most appropriate time. At times you may also be referred to speak to one of our practice nurses to determine the urgency or best course of action for your issue or concern.

Phone calls from patients requesting to speak to the doctor will not generally be put through at the time of the call. This is to minimise disruption to the doctor as they are usually in consultation with another patient and respectfully not wanting to interrupt their consultation. Doctors may take phone calls if time permits.

Reception staff will ask the patient to briefly explain the reason for the call and will determine if the doctor should be interrupted or if a message can be given to the doctor to return the call at a later time. This may be throughout the day or after the doctor has finished consulting for the day. Where clinically significant information is discussed, a note will be made in the patients file.

Fax – Faxes received that are patient related are imported directly into the patient’s file. These are then reviewed and actioned by the doctor. Any urgent patient related faxes are immediately handed to the doctor or if that doctor is not available another doctor in the practice will review the fax. All non-patient related faxes are given to the relevant staff member.

All outgoing faxes will be accompanied with a practice cover sheet advising details of who the fax is addressed to, fax number, number of pages and confidentiality and privacy notice.

Email – Email is not a secure form of communication and we do not use this to communicate personal information to patients without their consent. Whilst we make every effort to keep your information secure it is important for patients to be aware of the risks associated with electronic communication, in that the information could potentially be compromised and accessed by someone other than the intended recipient.  Patients must be aware that any communication they direct to the surgery via email is also NOT secure and confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Patients communicating through email do so at their own risk.

If you do choose to contact the surgery via email this will be considered as patient consent to reply via email.

We endeavour to reply to all emails within 1 business day. Our emails are checked on a regular basis, however they are not constantly monitored. If you have an issue that requires urgent attention we request that you contact the practice via telephone.

SMS – SMS messages are sent for a variety of health management purposes.

These may include:

  • Appointment reminders – a reminder message will be sent the day prior to your appointment.

  • Health reminders (eg: cervical screening/care plans etc)

  • Health recalls (eg: follow up of test results)

We need to ensure that your mobile number is up to date at each visit to ensure that this information is sent to the correct number. Patients must be aware that if another person can access their mobile phone then the confidentiality of these communications cannot be protected by the practice.

Post – letters are often sent offering services available to eligible patients and for health reminders and recalls for patients who do not have a mobile number or who have opted out of our electronic messaging system.

Incoming mail is collected and opened each day. Letters received that are patient related are directly imported in the patient’s medical record. These are then reviewed and actioned by the doctor. All remaining letters are provided to the addressee.

Website –  The practice’s website is updated regularly with new information. You can also locate our opening hours, history of the practice, frequently asked questions, information regarding our fees and services, book appointments online, view our doctors profiles and see our contact information.

Facebook – Our facebook page updates practice information and health promotions.

This page however, is intended for announcements only by Raymond Terrace Family Practice and not for the provision of individual medical advice. This page is not regularly monitored for comments. If you have any queries or questions we ask that you please contact the practice via telephone.