Understanding Our Appointment System
We are often asked the question “I don’t understand how your appointment system works” therefore we have tried to put together some information for patients to help answer this question and ensure you get the most from your appointment.
Unlike many surgeries our appointment book runs up to 4 weeks in advance, we feel this is sufficient as many patients who need to return will do so either after 2 or 4 weeks depending on what their GP advises.
You can therefore make a routine GP appointment with a GP of your choice in advance. Our appointments are 10 minutes long.
We do ask that if you have an ongoing problem that you endeavor to book with the same doctor to ensure we can offer the best continuity of care as possible. We do realise that not all problems are ongoing and sometimes you do not expect to be poorly and need to see a health professional quickly.
We have had to consider alternative options for managing our on the day demand as we are seeing this steadily increase. We currently offer a system of telephone triage ran by GPs and appropriately trained nurses (this means that your problem will be discussed with a health professional over the telephone who will determine the medical priority). Telephone
appointments on average allow for two patient contacts in 10 minutes compared to one patient contact face to face. Minor ailments can be managed by our experienced nursing
team, releasing GPs to deal with more complex health issues.
The triage appointments are released on the day, a clinician will contact you on a telephone number you provide. More details will be taken; this allows a number of problems to be dealt with over the phone, meaning you don’t have to attend surgery. If you have a health issue that needs to be seen, you will be given an appointment with the most appropriate professional in a time scale that is appropriate for the problem. Urgent problems can therefore be dealt with on the same day.
It is worth adding that you may not always see a doctor, we have highly trained nurses, nurse prescribers and nurse practitioners who can often deal with many short term health issues.
Acute On Call Team
Our ‘Acute on call team’ comprises of duty GP and Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANP) who treat emergencies, home visits and helping patients who need to be seen urgently. A clinician will normally contact you first by telephone to assess the problem. This enables the clinician to triage all visit requests. It may be that the problem can be dealt with by telephone advice, or that it would be more appropriate to send a District Nurse, or indeed arrange a hospital attendance. This also allows the clinician to collect any information required for the visit.
We recognise that our reception staff have an important role to play in ensuring you are directed to the most appropriate place, therefore we have ongoing training and mentoring for our staff. Please do not be offended when our receptionist asks for the nature of your problem. This is now common practice in most surgeries and whilst they are not medically trained they are experienced to be able to sign post you to an appropriate health professional where you will be seen.
From the information you provide to our receptionist, if you have been seen for the same condition previously and it is not urgent they may request you make a routine appointment. They may direct you to a local pharmacy, for example for coughs, colds, indigestion, hay fever - details of the pharmacy minor ailments scheme can be found at the end of this booklet. They may advise that someone will call you back and provide you with an approximate time. Please ensure the receptionist has the correct number to call you back and that you are near your phone around the time you are provided with.
Unfortunately our surgery number will be shown as “withheld” when we call you back so please remember to answer the phone.
Booking Your Appointment
We would ask that when booking a routine appointment you avoid the morning rush, patients who contact the surgery first thing in the morning are usually looking for urgent treatment or advice; therefore to avoid waiting in our telephone queues please call us later in the day, from 11am onwards. We also ask that if ringing for test results you also call later in the day
between 1pm - 3pm. Our contact telephone number for appointments is 01900 705750. Routine appointments for doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants can also be bookedonline using one of the online access apps, visit our website for more details. Patients can also order repeat prescriptions, view test results and medical history from their own home. If you would like more information on this please discuss with our reception team, we can also offer training for people who may require extra support.
Not Able To Attend?
Patients sometime feel better before their appointment, which is great, or are unable to attend and we would therefore request that appointments are cancelled in advance with as much warning as possible. Patients not attending appointments is an ongoing issue for practices which can lead to increased waiting times. We can text you to remind you about your appointment and you can also text us back to cancel should you need to, please ensure we have your mobile number on our system to benefit from this service.
We would ask that you consider the needs of your community before not attending for anappointment. DNA appointments = prolonged waiting times
Before Your Appointment
Please think carefully about your appointment and consider writing a list of your symptoms before you see the doctor so you are prepared. Please read the whole list at the start of the appointment so the doctor can understand the full depth of your problem and consider if any of your symptoms are linked. Please don’t be embarrassed to discuss your problems with our doctors, it is important that you do not miss anything just because you feel a bit embarrassed.
Where patients present with more than one problem please be prepared that the doctor can probably not deal with everything in one appointment and may therefore ask you to return to discuss the other problems. It is therefore important that you give your problems priority and ask the GP about those which require immediate attention first.
Try considering the following before your appointment:
- What are your current symptoms?
- What things worry you most about your condition, or your symptoms?
- What are the most important questions you would like to ask?
- What are your expectations following your appointment?
It is highly likely that your doctor will ask the following:
- How long has it been going on?
- Have you had it before?
- Has anyone in the family had the same thing?
Please be as specific as possible and don’t assume that the doctor is fully aware of your past history and should know these details.
At the end of your appointment you may wish to write down the most important aspects of your discussion.
If you are given medication as a result of your appointment, for example antibiotics, please remember that you need to take the full course and that you may not see an improvement in your condition straight away. However should your condition deteriorate further then you should contact the practice.
Want expert NHS health advice and free treatment without an appointment? Pharmacies provide expert self-care advice and treatments for a range of common illnesses and ailments from sprains to stomach upsets
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