Barton Family Practice News – July/August 2023


Barton Family Practice News – July/August 2023

It is clear from speaking to patients that there is still a significant degree of misunderstanding about triage. Not understanding the process causes mistrust and dissatisfaction, so a further explanation is important. Put simply, triage is the system used to prioritise clinical needs, i.e., the way we decide how serious your condition may be, and how urgently, and by whom you should be treated or advised. There are 3 steps in the triage process. The first involves the collection of information by the receptionist. In the second stage, the on-call doctor uses this information, in conjunction with other things like your age and medical history, to decide what the matter could be. The third and final stage is when the doctor decides what to do about the problem, and details like who, where and when to arrange your care. Triage needs all three steps, which is why refusing to give any detail makes the process impossible. And why do we need triage? Well, there are a limited number of appointments each day, and these need to be used wisely. The more serious and urgent problems should obviously be dealt with first, and less clinically urgent ones, later. I am sure everyone can see the logic for this. Otherwise, it is first come, first served, which risks harm coming to some patients whose care is delayed by less serious problems taking priority.

Having said that, you can assist the process, and indicate your preferences in the following ways:

  • Let the receptionist know if you feel your problem is urgent or routine.
  • If you prefer a particular clinician.
  • Prefer a face-to-face or telephone consultation.

The on-call doctor will take your preferences into account, but there may be times when it is not possible to fulfil your request, such as your problem may potentially be serious, not routine as you thought, or your preferred clinician may be unavailable.

Summer is here. Please take care of your skin, and use sunscreens, cover up and stay in the shade, particularly if you are at higher risk of developing skin cancer, such as, children, people with light skin, those with numerous moles or freckles, the immunocompromised, a personal or family history of skin cancer or work outdoors. Sunscreens should be at least sun protection factor (SPF) 15 and applied liberally. It is important to avoid prolonged exposure to strong sunlight, which peaks between 11am and 3 pm from March to October. Getting a suntan increases the risk of skin cancer.

Have a great summer. From us all at Barton Family Practice.

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