A Guide to OUR Appointment System
Our aim is to see any patient who has a health problem within a timespan that is appropriate for that problem. As a practice we undertake more than 25,000 face to face consultations in a year for our population of more than 10,000 registered patients. Some of these consultations are for new illnesses whilst others are for continuing problems, with more than 90% of all medical care being provided in general practice. It can therefore be a massive challenge to match the needs of individual patients to the supply of appointments.
Urgent Same day appointments. These appointments are for patients who consider their problem to be medically urgent and cannot wait for the next routine or pre bookable appointment. Patients are to call the practice at 8am to make an appointment to be seen that day.
Routine appointments. These appointments can be booked via our website and in advance (due to high demand these appointments do get booked by other patients very quickly) or we ask patients to call the practice on the same day to make a routine appointment. In addition we offer early morning clinics and late night clinics per week (working appointments).
Follow Up appointments. These appointments are best suited to follow-up of continuing problems including letters to patients asking for them to make an appointment to discuss results or at the request of the Doctor for a further follow up appointment.
Nurse appointments. Our nurses can deal with a range of common problems including monitoring long term health conditions.
There are different ways of making an appointment including the following:
By phone. This is still the most popular way of making an appointment although our lines can sometimes be very busy at 8am depending on the number of patients phoning for same day appointments only.
We have 3 early morning and 2 late night working clinics which can be booked in advance. These appointments are in high patient demand.
Online. Appointments can also be made online, and this has the advantage that you can access them even when the Practice is closed and choose a specific doctor. You need to register at reception initially in order to get access to the online service. Again due to high patient demand for these appointments they do get booked well in advance very quickly.
Tips to help us to help you get the most out of the Appointment System
1. Is it ‘urgent’? Please don’t request an urgent (same day) or emergency appointment unless you consider your problem to be medically urgent. Inappropriate requests for same day and emergency appointments mean that it is more difficult for patients with genuine urgent problems to be seen.
2. Think ahead. If you have a long term medical condition or you take regular medication then you will need to be seen periodically for review, usually every six or twelve months. Please try to book these review appointments well in advance so that you can see the doctor (or nurse) of your choice.
3. Turn up … or cancel. Please don’t miss an appointment that you have booked. This is wasted time that could have been used for another patient. If you can’t make an appointment or need to change it then let us know or visit our website.
4. Can anyone else help? Before you make an appointment please think about whether there are any other services that might be more appropriate. For example, remember that pharmacists are trained to give advice about minor health problems and answer any questions about your medicines and treatment. NHS 111 system is also available to guide you to appropriate sources of advice and is available at weekends and bank holidays.
5. What’s the problem? Understandably many people are reluctant to tell a receptionist about the reason that they want to see a doctor. However our reception staff are more likely to be able to guide you in the right direction if you give them a rough idea about your problem. All our staff has a responsibility to treat your information confidentially, and we take this very seriously.
6. Go online. You can book appointments with a doctor online, as well as ordering repeat prescriptions. Online services are available 24 hours a day so you can use these services at your convenience. Using the online services also reduces demand on reception staff during the day so everybody gains. You will need to register to be able to do this and reception staff will be happy to give you more information.
Please understand that the receptionists and clinical staff are trying to meet the needs of thousands of patients, each of whom is very important. Although we want to offer personal, patient-centred care, we are often stretched to the limit. Please try to be understanding if things are not completely to your satisfaction.
The Practice takes its zero tolerance policy very seriously if a member of staff, one of the doctors or nursing team is treated in an abusive or violent way. Our staff understand that ill patients do not always act in a reasonable manner and will take this into consideration when trying to deal with a misunderstanding or complaint and we apologise for any misunderstanding or confusion. However aggressive behaviour, be it violent or abusive will not be tolerated and may result in patients being removed from the practice list and in extreme cases the Police being contacted.