How our Appointment System works
****Coronavrus Update ****
Until further notice, we have had to significantly limit routine appointments and suspend “extended hours” clinics. Therefore some of the information below will not apply at present.
Appointments may be made either by phone, or in person at the reception desk, whenever the reception is open (08.00-18.30 on weekdays, from 07.15 on Mondays or until 20.00 on Mondays). Though, please note that the telephone lines are open from 08.30 – 18.30 Monday – Friday.
We have developed an appointment system which aims to allow booking up to one month in advance, but we also aim to see all patients the same day (in the morning) if they feel that for urgent medical reasons this is necessary. We try hard to make this system work to your best advantage, but you as patients can also help by observing some simple guidelines.
Due to increasing workload and financial pressures on the health service, appointment waiting times have become more problematic in both hospital and general practice. Average national waiting times for a routine GP appointment is quoted as 10 days, although currently we usually manage within a week or less except at times of high demand or staff absence.
Making an appointment with a Doctor
Appointments may be made to see all the Doctors up to a month in advance. Most appointments are free to book in advance, but on certain days which are likely to be busy, for example Mondays or after bank holidays, a proportion of appointments may be held back to be available to be booked on that day only. Each appointment is for 10 minutes with the Doctor. If your first choice Doctor is fully booked on the day you request, you will be offered slots with alternative Doctors.
If you think you have a complex problem that will take more than 10 minutes to deal with, please make this clear at reception when booking. Please note only one patient can be seen per appointment.
A range of doctor appointments are now available on-line via the EMIS Access on-line system, see the link on the home page (these have been currently suspended nationally during the Coronavirus outbreak).
Extended hours appointments are also available on Monday mornings from 07.15 or Monday evenings 18.30-20.00
If you request an appointment on the same day, once all the slots have been booked , the Receptionist first will offer you the next available routine appointment on another day. If, however, you state that you have an urgent problem that must be seen that same day, the receptionist will offer you a brief extra slot to see a Doctor, or alternatively you will be offered a phone call to discuss your problem if this is appropriate. You may be asked to attend at the end of all the routine appointments, or possibly before a routine surgery begins.
In this situation you may not have a choice which Doctor you see, it is possible that you may need to wait for a prolonged period after arrival depending on demand, and it is expected that only your urgent problem will be discussed.
The Nurse Prescriber
Mrs Jane Armstrong, the Practice Nurse Manager, is a Nurse Prescriber. She works alongside the doctors, running a “minor illness” medical clinic of her own, and can see any medical problems. In most cases she is able to make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment. If all Doctors’ appointments have gone, you may be offered an appointment with her. Examples of “minor illness” suitable for the clinic are :
- sore throat, cough, chest infections
- acute asthma, hayfever
- vomiting, diarrhoea
- skin problems, infections, rashes, insect bites
- emergency contraception
- eye infections
Her cases are supervised by one of the Doctors, who can also be asked to see you if she has any doubts.
The medical problems presenting to us are unpredictable, and if patients are seriously ill a Doctor will see them as soon as possible, which may mean non-urgent patients must wait. Occasionally a Doctor may need to leave the building in the middle of a surgery to visit a sick patient at home.
In this event we ask people to bear with us.
Alternatives to appointments
On many occasions we find that a problem can be dealt with by a telephone conversation. Please consider asking to speak to the Doctor on the phone if you have any problem that you don’t think requires a physical examination.
A good time to phone is 0845 -0900 , or after 1130 on any morning. The Doctor can call you back if necessary. Afternoons can be very busy as there are fewer doctors available for phone calls than in the mornings.
Appointments with the Nurses
As with the Doctors’ appointments, Nurses’ appointments can be booked up to a month in advance. However, not all Nurses can perform all tasks, and appointments vary in length depending on what the problem or task is. You may therefore be asked by the Receptionist what the purpose of your visit is
From the end of 2008, appointments have been available on Monday Morning before 0800 and Monday evenings after 18.30.
These slots are intended to be especially for patients who cannot make appointments at normal times.
The nursing team are available for:
- Health screening, well am/ well woman checks and discussions
- Stop smoking clinic
- Blood pressure check and hypertension management
- Minor injury treatment
- Some minor surgical procedures
- Asthma, diabetes and coronary heart disease checks
- Blood tests
- Care of wounds, dressings, stitch removal
- Cervical smear tests
- Ear syringing (see minor illness advice)
If you are too unwell to attend the surgery and need nursing care, please contact the District Nursing Team (01454-412979).
Minor injuries, especially those that may require sutures or X-raying are now dealt with at the Minor Injury Centre at the West Gate Centre, 21 West Walk in Yate (for further details, follow this link).
For a full list of our other services, please click the link here