Bacon Road Medical Centre
Eastern Voice & Data
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Patients no longer get an engaged tone so they know their call will be picked up, this creates less stress for our patients and staff. It has been great to hear the positive feedback especially around the call quality which made a huge difference to many of our patients. We now have visibility of the medical centre’s busiest periods and can arrange extra staff to cover phones, so we are able to proactively manage our calls.

Gina Titman, Practice Manager, Bacon Road Medical Centre

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Bacon Road Medical Centre is a friendly suburban surgery located close to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. It is a general practice partnership employing Nurses and Health Care Assistants, where the nurses provide general care and specialise in chronic disease management. The surgery premises consists of eight consulting rooms and was purpose built in the early 1990s. For the surgery, patient care is of paramount importance. The telephone system needed to reflect this. Eastern Voice and Data were tasked with finding a new telephony solution to fit their demanding surgery needs.

The challenge

The practice was previously using analogue telephone lines and out of date cabling which provided an unstable platform, this highlighted an issue when managing calls during peak times. However patients would often get frustrated when hearing an engaged tone which meant they would have to constantly re-dial as there was no option to leave a voicemail message. Callers could not be easily identified meaning that it was difficult to verify patients and call them back. The old system wouldn’t allow calls to be transferred outside of standard practice hours, which was not great for patient experience and created unnecessary stress for both patients and the staff. Additionally there was no functionality available to track the number of calls or understand the practice’s busiest periods. Ultimately there wasn’t capacity to cope with peak calls and there was no way of understanding the number of abandoned calls as a direct result of the old telephony equipment.

Their system needed updating and from a security perspective, secure UK-based data centre storage was crucial to them. This meant that Eastern Voice and Data needed to have in-depth conversations with the surgery’s IT support and ensure there was no NHS Information Governance breach. They needed a solution that offered more features but wouldn’t threaten their strict security policies, and all within a specific budget.

The solution

Eastern Voice and Data knew from the security restrictions and comprehensive functionality required that a cloud route was the most realistic option, and Gamma’s hosted Horizon solution could meet their budget requirements. Horizon also only uses UK data centres which is a key requirement for the NHS, as well as providing a secure, high quality, reliable solution that offers inexpensive growth potential. A capex route was out of the question and the fixed cost element of Horizon was a huge selling point, along with the knowledge that these costs would not dramatically change during the fixed period. A webinar organised by Eastern Voice and Data allowed the Doctors to see Horizon in action and helped sell in the concept to the partners.

With Horizon, the surgery can now handle up to 25 calls at any one time and reassures patients that their call is going to be picked up, so they no longer experience the engaged tone. This solution has made the process less stressful and more effective for all involved.

As part of the solution the latest Polycom VVX410 handsets provide high definition voice quality. Feedback from both the Doctors and patients has been extremely positive regarding call quality. Cordless headsets have improved the working environment, and automatic answering and freedom to move around the office and work while on the phone has increased productivity

Horizon management reporting ensures that the surgery has access to a wide range of statistics so they can now identify the peak times for calls and ensure they have adequate resource to cope with this demand. Testament to the new Horizon telephony system is the fact that every single call has been answered since the system was put in place. Eastern Voice and Data has seamlessly changed the Bacon Road Medical Centre telephony system from a stressful bottleneck situation to an effective solution, ensuring both happy patients and employees.

Horizon also offered solutions to other problems

Kings and Barnhams offer 24/7 support contact for clients. By utilising the auto-attendant function of Horizon we were able to streamline and automate the ability for customers to request this service.

During extremely busy periods customers could leave a voicemail requesting a call back. The voicemail was delivered as an email attachment to the relevant staff ensuring that a call back was never missed. This provided Unified Messaging for staff, allowing information and requests from clients to be directed to the right people within the organisation.

Cloud call queuing was also implemented for the busy appointments line ensuring that calls were answered in sequence, promptly.

Horizon is able to twin a desk phone with a mobile phone allowing both to ring simultaneously. This provides a high degree of flexibility for staff who are on the move and is directly controllable from the Horizon desk top user portal.

The senior management at Kings & Barnhams elected to use the Horizon Mobile App, effectively turning their mobile into a direct extension from Horizon. This allowed them to work from any location and improved the staff and client accessibility to senior management.

Over 6,000 telephone numbers were stored into the new system allowing incoming callers to be identified by their name. This corporate directory allowed staff to locate contacts quickly and easily. This was also combined with the provision of Horizon Integrator for all staff enabling them to control telephony functions from their PC desktop. This provided click to dial from screen and the ability to ‘screen pop’ Outlook contacts directly to the PC. This also meant that the company was in a position to move to an integrated CRM package allowing customer details to be ‘popped’ directly onto the screen.

Eastern Voice & Data recommended the installation of converged fibre connections allowing both voice and data to share the same data connection in a fully managed set up. This enabled legacy telephone lines to be disposed of and importantly direct dial numbers were allocated to staff and departments to further improve the flow of incoming calls.

High definition Polycom VVX handsets improved the quality of phone calls with HD voice quality being provided as a standard feature of Horizon. This was allied to wireless headsets allowing staff to be mobile within the office environment.

The move to Horizon and cloud based technology enabled Kings & Barnhams to improve the telephony experience of their clients but also allowed them to improve their overall operation.

Significantly they had also put in place a telephony solution that not only had solved a business issue but could also adjust to their changing business needs quickly and efficiently. It put Kings and Barnhams back in control of their telephony.


  • More intuitive system which provides access to full telephony reporting and statistics
  • Flexibility to deploy after-hours, weekend and bank holiday messages to callers
  • Robust telephony system with improved functionality, increasing productivity
  • Reduced stress from both the patient and staff perspective
  • No missed calls