Martin Anderson, managing director of Lemon Business Solutions, has advised healthcare professionals to look to outsourcing pre-appointment calls to address the backlog of appointments generated during lockdowns.
The build-up of patients waiting for healthcare appointments has grown significantly over the pandemic. The British Medical Association estimates that between April and November 2020 there were 2.57million fewer elective procedures and 18 million fewer outpatient attendances. Similarly, the British Dental Association estimates that treatments in the NHS dental services were at a quarter of their pre-pandemic levels in October of 2020, with 14.5million fewer treatments compared to the same period in 2019.
Martin said: “After a year of lockdowns and business closures, we are all waiting for our annual check-ups at dentists and opticians. With this new lockdown underway, and news that Britain has the highest death from COVID-19 rates in the world, the vaccination seems to be the only light at the end of this long tunnel.”
Conservative MP and practicing dentist Sir Paul Beresford, who represents Mole Valley in Surrey, has said that there is a staggering backlog of people requiring dentist appointments which have been delayed due to the pandemic.
Unlike in the first wave in March 2020, most healthcare services remain open, but are not advertising appointments. Many Brits are worried about chasing these essential appointments for fear of catching the virus, thus increasing the backlog of appointments.
Healthcare professionals are ensuring that their practices are sanitised, and COVID-19 secure by taking time between each client for a deep cleanse of appointment rooms and anywhere else a client may have used.
Martin continued, “Many opticians and dentists are making pre-appointment calls to screen whoever enters their clinic for any recent test results or symptoms of COVID-19. These services are constantly on the phone, answering the influx of calls to reassure clients that they are COVID safe and phoning out to ensure that COVID-19 won’t be brought into the clinic accidentally.
“Rather than panicking about dealing with the flood of new phone calls, outsourcing voice and digital communications will allow these services to focus on making sure their clients are fit and healthy.
“These are particularly taxing times to work in healthcare, and contact centres can help to alleviate some of the stress of key workers.”