Our Appointment System
Feedback from our Patient Surveys revealed that quite a few of our patients would like more telephone consultations as they often have difficulty trying to arrange time off work or care for children, or other relatives, to be able to attend an appointment. Some patients also felt that if they didn't need an examination by a Doctor they could easily speak to them on the phone and save the time and possible inconvenience of coming into the practice.
All patients wishing to have a consultation with a doctor will be offered a telephone consultation first.
At the time of booking you will be asked to outline what the problem is; whether you have a specific doctor you would prefer to discuss it with; and how best to contact you.
If you would prefer a call back at a specific time e.g. because of working arrangements, then please mention this to reception and we will do our best to accommodate you. This is not guaranteed but we will do our best with the resources available.
Reception staff ask for the nature of your call to help identify urgent or emergency issues so these calls can be carried out as a matter of priority. If you do not wish to discuss the nature of your problem then that is okay!
The call is then added to a doctors list and he/she will work through this during the morning. This may result in being offered an appointment later in the morning or in the afternoon, if this is needed.
If we cannot contact you, we will leave a voicemail if possible and call you back later in the morning. Please do not call reception back unless you have not had a second call by lunch time. If we have missed you for a second time then you are welcome to ring us back but you will be advised the doctor may not be able to return your call - we will do our best to try again BUT we do need to see patients in clinic as well as visit housebound patients at lunch time.
Once the morning telephone consultation appointments have gone for the day, we then revert to only accepting enquiries for urgent or emergency issues. Reception will advise you to call back the following day if it is not an urgent problem. If it is, then you will be added to the on call doctors telephone list and he/she will contact you to decide on the best way to help.
We still have pre-bookable appointments up to 8 weeks in advance as well as appointments from 7-8am Monday and Friday. Please ask reception about booking these including those available on line.
Please book the most appropriate appointment for your needs. We have pre-bookable appointments available and as requested by our Patient Reference Group at this month's meeting we will offer more pre-bookable telephone consultations on-line from 1st December though this will result in fewer face to face consultations, we hope this improves access.
Please do not book a face to face appointment if your request can be dealt with by phone as this results in us being able to offer more contact for patients and the time required for 1 face to face appointment converts to 2 telephone consultations. There is always heavy demand for appointments.
PLEASE ENSURE YOU INCLUDE THE REASON FOR YOUR TELEPHONE CALL REQUEST AND THE NUMBER YOU CAN BE CONTACTED ON OTHERWISE WE WILL USE THE NUMBER WE HAVE ON OUR SYSTEM WHICH MAY BE INORRECT.
If you have more than one problem to discuss then please request a double appointment if there is one available. This saves patients waiting if we can plan for appointments as allocation time is 10 minutes per consultation. We do our best to cover what is needed in this time but different patients require different things and often explanations take time so you maybe waiting longer than you would like. We don't keep you waiting if we can help it. Please keep your consultation as brief as possible to avoid others waiting longer than necessary.
We appreciate it is very frustrating to call your GP in the morning only to be told that there are no more appointments. We also appreciate that it can be very difficult to get through to our practice at 8am and this is particularly a problem on a Monday morning or following a holiday period. Our staff work very hard to offer the best service we can and the new appointment system has made it easier to get the care you are looking for. It isn't perfect and we know this. Unfortunately, GP services are stretched to capacity up and down the country and this is especially the case during the winter. Please try to be patient at busy times and we will do our best to help.
We are altering our message on our telephone system from 1st December to ask patients who need to be seen on the day to ring between 8a.m. and 9.00a.m. and for those with other needs i.e. visits requests, pre-bookable appointments etc to ring later in the day to ease pressure on the phones as patients have reported that they find it very frustrating having to queue or getting an engaged tone. Please help us to help you access help more efficiently and effectively by following these guidelines.
I would like to draw your attention to two websites by the Royal College of GPs and the BMA which highlight the problems general practice is facing and the things you could do to help. We intend on adding more resources to this website in due course which will help you make the best of both our practice and NHS service