An internet-based phone system which allows patients to book a Covid-19 vaccination has been developed by X-on to support organisations co-ordinating the programme.

X-on has developed a softphone (a software program for making telephone calls over the internet) version of its cloud-based Surgery Connect healthcare phone system to enable primary care networks (PCNs) to provide patients with a single dedicated number and support process for booking an appointment at community vaccination hubs.

The X-on system, initially introduced by PCNs in Worcestershire, Warwickshire and areas of London ahead of wider roll-out, offers an automatic phone call or SMS function to send out appointment details and reminders.

Surgery Connect also integrates closely with EMIS Web and SystmOne clinical systems, resulting in a more efficient contact process between patients and practices.

Holly Johnson, operations supervisor at South Worcestershire GP federation SW Healthcare, said: “PCNs are starting to roll out vaccinations in parts of the UK in the knowledge that the demand will be considerable. As a result, we are doing all we can to ensure that they are equipped as best they can be for the inevitable influx of essential communication between GPs and patients.

“The software provided by X-on will play a key role in helping our staff to manage vaccinations throughout our local population. Booking patient appointments, for example, will form one of the earliest phases of the process. If we can ensure that communication is handled effectively at this stage, it paves the way for a much smoother and more effective system overall.”

Paul Bensley, managing director of X-on, added: “The nation is embarking on the largest vaccination programme for a generation, presenting significant challenges and pressures for every specialty within medical care.

“Our contact system has been designed based on our close work with GPs and the primary care sector so that it works to the advantage of those at the heart of organising the community vaccination programmes. Our approach also provides flexibility so in the event of high demand and call volume at one practice, another practice within the local network can take the call and manage the process.”