Healthcare call volumes blog

How can the healthcare sector better manage call volumes?

The sheer number of calls that doctors’ surgeries face daily is one of the greatest challenge that teams in the healthcare sector face, and many providers are simply overwhelmed.

At RHM, we support many doctors’ surgeries, NHS Trusts, pharmacies and medical centres across the country.

We know that call volumes are not a simple issue. Because they fluctuate depending on the time of day or year, it is not simply a matter of assigning more staff to the phones. There needs to be a process put in place to make sure everyone is heard, or at least kept informed. This requires a combination of technology and helpful working practices. That’s what we’ll discuss today.

Managing your call queue

It is vital to offer callers the right support once they reach your team, but it can be just as important to provide a good experience while they wait. This is why we prioritise setting up surgeries with an effective queuing solution.

With a call queuing solution everyone is kept better informed. You can easily programme a call limit on your system. If 40 people are waiting, the 41st will be met with an engaged tone, making the process more manageable. From here, those in the queue will be given their estimated wait time and they can decide whether to stay on the line. You can also add a programmable auto-attendant that can provide patients in the queue with answers to some frequently asked questions. This could potentially reduce the queue before your team even have to pick up the phone.

The numbers in the queue can be easily viewed by staff to ensure that nobody is missed, and all numbers can be logged allowing for easy follow ups. Our call management service integrates alongside clinical systems such as EMIS and TPP SystmOne. These systems work in tandem with your communications to unlock a variety of benefits to productivity and customer satisfaction. Access the information you need faster and understand patient’s requirements as soon as they reach your team.

Work efficiently and flexibly

Working remotely has become part of the everyday across all sectors. When staff work remotely it is vital that these users can connect just as easily to your phone system as those working from a surgery or clinic. Our communication services feature intelligent call routing that can help bridge the gap.

When a call is dialled to a specific extension in your surgery, call routing can direct it automatically to another device should that user be working elsewhere. This can be a desk phone or even a mobile. The process is seamless, and the caller will not see the remote worker’s personal number, only their standard practice number. This allows callers to reach the medical specialist that knows them best, even in a more flexible working environment.

We also understand the value of working alongside other practices to stop teams from being overwhelmed. Our call routing services can be directed to another, less busy practice in your area, allowing callers to be seen quicker.

Call-back requests and on hold messaging

Patients expect to be greeted by professional messaging and on-hold music. We provide an excellent, time-saving on-hold messaging service, which you can find out more about here.

However, being on hold may not be ideal for some of your patients. This is where having a ‘request a call back’ feature comes in handy. We now offer this feature for patients waiting in GPs’ call queues. So, instead of waiting for an unspecified amount of time they simply select the call back option and receive an automatic call-back when you’re ready.

This reduces the size of queues, easing pressure on receptionists, and reducing stress for patients waiting to get through.

Improve your service moving forward

In any working environment, there are always processes that can be improved. Without the right technology in place, it can be difficult to know what to focus on. We offer solutions that allow you to gain a better understanding of your network.

Call recording

Our communication packages can be equipped with cloud call recording. This service allows you to unobtrusively record calls on every step of your call process. All these recordings are stored securely in the cloud and fully GDPR compliant. This service is essential for compliance reasons, as well as for day-to-day management and training.

Call analytics

You can also better demonstrate accountability through call reporting. This service gives phone-based staff as well as managers a clear view of your network through live wallboards. These can be installed on any screen in your practice and allow you to make sure that no callers slip through the cracks. Historical reports are included as well, and can be emailed directly to managers, prioritising the stats that matter most.

These reports allow an evidence-based overview of exactly how you’re performing on the phones. You can use them for benchmarking, managing staff levels, and to refine your approach over time.

Requirements for Healthcare providers

We understand that NHS Trusts mainly acquire communications services through Frameworks and Tenders. This can work well for the big-ticket projects or major contract renewals. But there are many tactical services where, flexibility, speed and short-term contracts are necessary. RHM has become a trusted tactical supplier, partnering with several Trusts and Children’s Services organisations.

We hope that this guide has helped to inform you about the services that are available to healthcare teams. Whether you are looking to clear the backlog, deal with the day-to-day call queue, or add some efficiency to your operation, we can help.

If you’d like to find out more about what we do here at RHM you can reach us at
0345 136 60 60 or send an email to



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