General practice is embarking on a transformational journey. This includes a re-evaluation of the people, clinical resources, processes, deployment of resources and technology -not to mention the mechanisms by which engagement with patients is managed.

The key objective of Telephone Triage is to help patients access the right care at the earliest opportunity. This needs to be done in a way that provides them with flexibility, convenience, security, a sense of ownership and the stimulation to invest in their wellbeing.

There are numerous drivers for this patient-centred approach and outcomes will include a more streamlined workload for GPs, ANPs and other members of the clinical teams. The aim is to drive further practice efficiencies in terms of access to services and patient satisfaction. This can be achieved by releasing valuable clinical time – GP time and other clinical practitioners.

Frontline staff will also actively manage requests for GP appointments and safely redirect inappropriate GP consultations to the most appropriate care providers


Telephone Triage is an essential patient engagement technique that will further develop the skills and career paths of non-clinical staff – frontline GP practice staff and Care Home staff, who will move away from a passive role and have a more direct impact on patient health outcomes. The skills and abilities needed to undertake telephone triage and the necessary signposting are valuable in other new non-traditional roles such as Document Management, HCA and Care Navigation. After this web workshop, staff will be confident in handling the triage call, advising and referring patients to care providers who work either within the practice team or to external care providers.

Telephone triage and signposting can present a challenging cultural shift for some teams and individual team members – and we will explore the mechanisms to help make the change as smooth as possible – some of this will build on the existing understanding, within the practice, of the need to change and a realisation of the benefits these changes can have.

Successful telephone triage and safe signposting are reliant on 3 core principles:

  1. Robust agreed protocols.
  2. A full commitment from the whole team to support staff in delivering the frontline services.
  3. Continuing audit of activity and outcomes including complaints and significant or serious incidents.

At the PMA we pride ourselves on the understanding that one size doesn’t fit all and – therefore, we have various formats of our workshops and can adapt any programme / agenda to suit your local needs and necessaries – so, please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

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Who should attend?

Front-line and reception workers

Training recommendations

All frontline staff wishing to be considered for telephone triage:

  • Should be experienced GP Practice staff and understand the course outcomes.
  • Should attend or have ‘Medical terminology’ training.
  • Practices sending staff should appoint a GP Signposting Champion and commit to attend training with either the Practice Manager or appropriate manager.
  • Practices must understand that implementation of telephone triage must be continually monitored, audited and significant or critical events reported to appropriate bodies.

The PMA Telephone triage web workshop has been created with an experienced practice team including Clinicians – practice nurses and experienced Practice Manager facilitators.

Outcomes of the workshop

By the end of this web workshop, all delegates will have:

  • Understood what telephone triage is
  • AND what it isn’t
  • How the process works
  • Listened to patient and staff experiences
  • Experience telephone triage
  • Be familiar with the benefits of telephone triage
  • Contributed to a Shared Ambition for telephone triage in the locality and Care Partnership
  • Have the skills and personal actions to take this work forward
  • Will develop their confidence in being able to conduct telephone triage

Workshop Agenda

Below is an outline of the proposed agenda with sample timings. If you have any questions please get in touch.

Welcome & Introduction
Learning Outcomes

  • Skills and confidence to deliver telephone triage
  • Understanding what telephone triage & signposting is for
  • Benefits to patients
  • Benefits to the practice
  • Practice protocols
  • Patient records management
  • Clinical role in telephone triage
  • Communication strategies
  • Patient safety
Introduction to Telephone Triage

This session will introduce why Telephone Triage is now a recognised tool to meet demand and create more efficient use of GP and clinical time and how it can increase access. Discussion will explore the benefits, risks and limits of the approach.

  • Definition of Triage
  • The purpose of triage, why do we need it – Right person, in the right place at the right time
  • Use of software – For example, triage assessment system (TAS) or Standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Opening a call – Introduction and confirming callers basic demographics and/or consent to speak to a relative, friend or carer
  • Communication – Open questions
  • Red flags
  • History taking – Presenting complaint (PC), history of PC, PMH, Allergies etc
  • Triage streams – Book-On-Day (BOD), Routine GP, ANP, GPN, HCSW appointments etc
  • Clinical Appointment system – Allocation of slots, appointment length, red slots for BOD etc
  • Confirm the triage outcome with the patient
How are you feeling?

  • Thoughts from a patient’s perspective
  • Thoughts from a GP practice staff perspective
How will the Receptionists role change with Telephone Triage and Signposting

Sources of help receptionists will refer patients to, including:

  • How to make referrals to allied healthcare professionals and other internal and external clinical team members e.g. physician associates, paramedics etc
  • Criteria for developing a useful practice directory.
Practical Session

This will be based on real scenarios and will be an opportunity for participants to develop new techniques to deal with enhanced patient interactions. The emphasis will be on developing confident communication skills.

Summary and Q&A
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Contact the PMA now

If you would like more information about any of our workshops, the timings or adapting our programmes to your local needs / requirements, please call 0330 111 6459 or email

Please note that all workshops are delivered online as web workshop sessions – however, if you require face to face workshops, please get in touch and we will be happy to discuss this.

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