Is The 8am Rush For GP Appointments Over Thanks To Digital Phone Systems?

By Emma Lewis, bOnline

All GP surgeries in England are moving to a digital phone system by March next year, hopefully ending the “8am scramble” when patients rush to grab on-the-day appointments. Over 1000 GP practices have pledged to make the switch, backed by a £240 million Government investment announced in May as part of the Primary Care Recovery Plan.

Surgeries switching to digital phone systems will also avoid issues with the landline switch-off coming in 2025.

The plans should mean that patients can contact their GP much more easily and quickly, rather than hanging on the phone first thing in the morning or getting cut off. It should also reduce the number of patients getting the dreaded engaged tone or having to call back later, with online systems able to provide them with more options.

Anthony Karibian, founder and CEO bOnline commented: “This is great news for GPs moving to a superior digital product rather than having to rely on legacy copper lines. It will also benefit patients who will have the peace of mind that their GPs will always be reachable. It also of course protects surgeries from the effects of the landline switch-off coming over the next two years” (Anthony Karibian, founder and CEO bOnline)

How Do Digital Phone Systems Work and What Are the Benefits?

Digital phone systems use VoIP (which stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol) which can deal with large numbers of incoming and outgoing calls extremely effectively. That’s because they tend to come with additional features like call divert, video calling, hold music, access to call analytics data and much more.

VoIP calls are made over the internet, rather than through traditional copper landlines. This means that call quality is typically much higher, plus there’s the range of features mentioned above.

Traditional landlines are no longer being sold from the 5th September this year, and with the countdown to the full landline switch-off in full swing, the move could not have come at a better time.

How Do I Find a Digital Phone Provider For My Business?

There are many different VoIP providers out there (we looked at what makes a good VoIP provider recently). Some will specialise in providing services to small businesses, sole traders and start-ups. Others will focus more on bigger companies or residential customers.

The trick is in understanding exactly what features, call packages and contracts each one offers. Generally speaking, money can be saved on call costs as minutes are included in the monthly price just as you get with your mobile phone contract. This is particularly the case if you make a lot of calls internationally. Some providers, like bOnline also offer a free trial which is a great way to test out all the features on offer before making the jump.