The reception staff are trusted members of the Practice team and are trained to ask certain questions in order to ensure that you receive the most appropriate medical care, from the most appropriate health professional at the most appropriate time.
The receptionists are asked to collect brief information from patients to help:
– doctors prioritise house visits and phone calls
– ensure patients receive the appropriate level of care
– direct patients to see the nurse or other health professionals rather than a doctor where appropriate.
Reception staff, like all members of the team, are bound by confidentiality rules:
– Any information given by you is treated strictly confidentially.
– The practice would take any breach of confidentiality very seriously and deal with it accordingly.
– You can ask to speak to the receptionist in private, away from the reception desk.
– However, if you feel your issue is very private and do not wish to say what this is, then this will be respected.
To request an appointment to see a GP, please contact the surgery between 08:30 and 18:00 Monday to Friday and the receptionist will arrange for a GP to call you back in the first instance. Please ensure we have an up to date contact number for you.
We understand that some patients find it difficult to access GP appointments during normal surgery hours, so we offer the following late GP appointments on:
- Tuesday 18:30 – 20:00 GP, Minor Illness Clinic, Nurse, Phlebotomy
These appointments are bookable in advance. Please call 01736 363340 to make an appointment in the late surgery.
One Appointment for One Problem Please
If you have more than one issue to discuss, please do ask for more than one appointment with the doctor/in the acute illness clinic.
Our appointment system allows 8 minutes for you and your doctor to talk, make a diagnosis, agree a plan of action, and organise any prescriptions or tests you need. Although we try to work fast, we cannot manage to do this well, and safely, for more than one problem within that time. Please don’t be offended if we ask you to book a separate appointment for a separate problem; it enables you to be cared for properly - by making sure we have time to do it. Thank you.
Appointment System Explained
Doctors’ and Acute Illness Appointments
Approximately 70% of our appointments are available for patients to be seen on the day. Same day appointments for the entire day are available from 8.30am on the day when the phone lines open. If we have no appointments due to a very high demand but you consider that your medical problem MUST be assessed that day, you may be contacted by the duty doctor who will assess if it is urgent for today.
You can pre book nurses’ appointments as usual on the telephone.
What happens if I phone and all the appointments for my doctor are booked?
We collated data on the number of appointments requested on any one day. We should therefore be able to offer you an appointment on that day with an alternative doctor or add your name to the duty doctor list if your appointment is urgent. If you only wish to see your doctor then we will prebook any available appointments or ask you to phone when they are next in Surgery.
I work away from home and need to plan my appointments.
Whilst most appointments will be available for booking on the day a small number are pre-bookable up to 2 days ahead. However, once all pre-books are taken you will be asked to call back on the day. Evidence from other surgeries suggests that as patients find that the system works, there is less demand for pre-booked appointments when patients feel confident they can come on the day.
What happens if a doctor is on leave or unwell?
If a doctor is on leave we book enough locum cover to ensure we provide enough appointments over the week. If a doctor is unwell we will do our best to accommodate you with another doctor.
I can never get through on the phone, how will I make a same day appointment?
Our telephone system allows direct access to receptionists with no call queuing currently in place. Your call will be answered by the first available receptionist or if they are all busy you may get an engaged tone. There are usually 3 receptionists answering the phone between 8.30am -10.30am.
The visiting service is for patients who are housebound or too ill to come to the surgery. If possible please telephone before 10.00am if you feel you need a home visit. The receptionist will ask for details of why you require a visit. This information will enable the GP to assess your needs and give immediate telephone advice if necessary. You may be asked to come to the surgery where we have more equipment and treatment can be started immediately.
GPs can often deal with some problems over the telephone.
The receptionist will take your details and give you an approximate time when the doctor will telephone you.
Policy for Late Arrivals for Appointments
Patients have a duty to attend for pre-booked appointments with all clinicians promptly, and to take into account logistical difficulties or the time involved in travelling to the surgery.
The practice will, as far as practicable, see patients who arrive late, however this may be at the end of surgery and will therefore involve a considerable wait for those who do not wish to re-book.
The following general provisions will apply:
Less than 5 minutes late
The patient will be marked as an arrival in their pre-booked “slot” and a note will be added under the appointment to say they arrived xxxx mins late. The doctor or nurse will call them in at the first available opportunity. The patient should be advised of this and that there may be some delay while they are fitted in.
More than 5 minutes, less than 10 minutes late
The patient will be advised that as they are a late arrival the Receptionist will have to ask the GP/Nurse if they are able to see them on to the end of the surgery list, and they will therefore have a considerable delay (depending on the time). They may be seen during the surgery only if the doctor has an unexpected gap, in which case they will be called in. The patient should be encouraged to re-book.
More than 10 minutes late
The patient has clearly missed the appointment, and will be asked to rebook. Where there is an indication of clinical urgency they may need to be added to the end of the surgery list after consultation with the Nurse/GP.
Cancel an Appointment
It is important that you inform the reception staff if you are unable to attend your appointment, this will allow that appointment to be offered to another patient. If you fail to notify the Practice that you are unable to attend, you will be sent a letter informing you that you have defaulted from your appointment. Persistent defaulters maybe removed from the list.