How Will Our New Appointment System Operate?
If you have an issue you think should be addressed then you will be added to the daily assessment list. Our same day appointments will be allocated after an assessment of each clinical issue on the list by a doctor on that morning. To access this service, we ask patients to contact us after 08:30. Your name, number and brief description of the problem will be asked for.
Your problem will then be assessed by a GP and may result in one of the following:
- A same day telephone or face to face appointment with a clinician (not necessarily a GP)
- A future appointment with a clinician (not necessarily a GP)
- Telephone advice from a doctor
In some cases patients may be directed to a Pharmacist, an Optometrist, a Physiotherapist, a Mental Health Specialist or occasionally A&E, as these services may be more appropriate for your particular issue. Indeed, we particularly encourage patients to consider whether their problem may be solved by a pharmacist before contacting us.
Please note that we only have a certain amount of appointments available each day and if patients contact us after they have been filled then we won’t be able to deal with your problem that day and you will be asked to contact us back the next morning between 08:30 and 10:00.
If you feel that your condition is an urgent medical need then please let the receptionist know this and they will add you to the on-call doctor’s list. The on-call doctor will make a decision as to the whether your issue is urgent and will either call you or ask the receptionist to inform you to call back the following day or book a pre-bookable appointment. Any abuse of this system by a patient will lead to the Practice issuing a behavioural contract and should the contract not be adhered to you will be removed from our practice list.
We will also have a limited number of pre-bookable appointment available on My Health On-Line. These appointments will be for a telephone consultation only and will normally take place between 08:30-09:00.
What Else Can Be Done To Reduce Pressure On Your Practice?
Our new website is highly interactive and allows patients to deal with many issues, questions and common conditions themselves without having to phone us or visit the surgery. A large amount of issues that patients want appointments for can be, safely, dealt with by using our website.
This should be the first point of contact for the majority of our patients and we hope it will reduce the number of phone calls patients have to make, sometimes unnecessarily. In turn this should result in shorter wait times for those patients who do need to speak to a receptionist.
Keep It Or Cancel It
The NHS campaign against patients missing appointment is more important now than ever. It is vital you cancel your appointment if you can’t make it – without enough notice for us to give that appointment to someone else. Patients who ring 5 or 10 minutes before to tell us they can’t make it still create problems for us and this will have to be marked as a ‘Did not attend’. We track the number of missed appointments and those who repeatedly miss appointments are asked to leave us.
We understand that ideally you may want an appointment on a specific date and time with a specific doctor and we will try to accommodate this as much as we can, but in reality, the pressure on our service means we can’t always achieve this. Although this may be frustrating at times, we do ask patients to continue to show understanding about the pressure our service is under.
Other Health Care Professionals
Pharmacists are these days helping GPs more than ever with treatments for many simple ailments. All medication queries should be made to a pharmacist before contacting us, but they can help with so much more. See the ‘Wellbeing Centre’ section of our website for further details.
NHS Direct is a freephone number 24 hours a day which can provide you with clinical advice about any problem. This service was put in place to make it easier for patients to receive medical advice and to reduce pressure on GP practices. Please consider calling them on 0845 46 47.
If you have any comments or questions regarding our system please feel free to speak to any member of the reception team who will gladly answer your questions. You can also go to our new website at www.fourelmsmedicalcentres.co.uk which has a wealth of information regarding all of the above.