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Appointments

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

Appointments can be booked over the telephone, in person or through online access. Appointments can be made at any surgery site since all the systems, telephone and appointment booking systems are linked.

To make an appointment by phone, please telephone 01977 610009 and press option 1. 

To book an appointment online, click here to login to Systmonline.

Please click here to download forms to apply for your secure online user name and password.

Please be aware that you may first be booked for a triage call. This means that a Clinician will call you back to discuss your symptoms and, if appropriate, provide advice over the phone. If your problem cannot be resolved over the phone then you may be booked in for a video consultation with a Clinician or offered a face-to-face appointment. The Clinician will use their clinical judgment, as well as taking into account the wishes of the patient, when deciding on the most appropriate way of managing the patient's symptoms. If deemed clinically appropriate, you may also be asked to email/text photos to the surgery, so that these can be viewed by the Clinician and to assist in any diagnosis. These pictures will also be saved into your medical records along with any notes made during the consultation.

All patients have a right to express a preference of practitioner, so please tell the receptionist if you would prefer to see a particular GP or healthcare professional and we will do our best to oblige. This however, may not always be possible, and if this were to be the case then an explanation will be provided.

Please try to give as much notice as possible for routine appointments. Routine appointments can be booked up to one week in advance for GPs, ANP's and our Minor Illness Nurse. Appointments for practice nurses and healthcare support workers may be booked further in advance.

If the matter is a medical emergency and cannot wait please tell the receptionist. An appointment will be offered - if available. If there are no more appointments available you may be offered a telephone consultation or advised to attend at another healthcare provider for more immediate care, i.e. the Urgent Treatment Centre.

Please note appointments with the Healthcare Support Workers and Practice nurses are bookable up to several weeks in advance – please make the receptionist aware of what your appointment is for and they will advise whether your appointment can be pre-booked.

Please remember that at all times one appointment is for one person.

Upon arrival for their appointment, patients will find ‘touch screen’ systems at all three surgery sites. Please use the screens since this helps to ease congestion at the reception desk.

You will be seen as near to your appointment time as is possible. We appreciate that late running clinics are frustrating for patients, and can be inconvenient when you are trying to juggle work, family, home and multiple appointments.

There is no one single answer to why clinics sometimes run late – there can be a multitude of reasons. It is also difficult to predict if clinics will continue to run late, as clinicians can sometimes catch up if they have a few appointments whereby patients do not need the full allocated 10 minutes.

Patients are booked 10-minute appointments with the clinician. Double appointments can be requested when contacting reception, although we do ask that they are booked only if necessary.

Each appointment includes a discussion of the patient’s symptoms, worries and concerns, conducting examinations, as appropriate, arranging prescriptions, referring the patient for any follow-up tests and/or investigations, and recording a detailed summary in the patient records.

A few of the more common reasons for doctors to fall behind include:

  • Complexity or patients in distress - People visit a Clinician for lots of different reasons. This can range from a simple problem which can be comfortably dealt with in 7-8 minutes, to a much more complex issue such as someone who has been diagnosed with cancer or serious illness, lost a loved one, is significantly unwell, or feels that they can’t cope anymore to the extent they are contemplating taking their own life. These are unfortunately all common occurrences and understandably we do not restrict those in need to a 7-8 minute consultation.
  • Multiple problems - The most common reason for running late is that several patients have come to the surgery with either very complex or multiple problems. Please remember that you are allocated a 10-minute appointment, and it is really only realistic that one problem is dealt with in that time frame. Before you visit the surgery please prioritise what really needs to be dealt with during your appointment.
  • Admissions to hospital - When a patient is very unwell, the GP may need to admit then to hospital immediately. This will involve the GP liaising with the hospital - which can take some time. The patient may also require immediate and/or emergency treatment whilst at the surgery, sometimes with the support of the ambulance crew before they are transferred to hospital.
  • Liaising with Other Health Care Providers – Our clinicians are part of a larger health care team and are often contacted by a variety of other healthcare professionals/organisations for advice and information, e.g. A&E departments, hospital doctors, laboratories, midwives, health visitors, social services etc. We will always try to arrange these conversations for in between clinic sessions, but in emergency/urgent situations these queries may need to be dealt with during clinics, which may, unfortunately have an impact on your appointment. In providing this information/advice in a timely manner, it means that that patient in question can be treated as quickly as possible in that location. Remember; it could be your relative who is waiting to be treated
  • Urgent appointments - Urgent extra patients may need to be seen by the clinician, and will be squeezed in between pre-booked appointments. Urgent home visits are also sometimes needed during a clinic, meaning that appointments will be disrupted. You will always be advised of these disruptions and offered an alternative appointment if you are unable to wait.

Please be understanding towards fellow patients - one day it may be you who needs the care and attention that a patient ahead of you has just received and we WILL give you that time if you need it. Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated in these situations.

CONSENT

Consent to treatment means a person must give permission before they receive any type of medical treatment, test, investigation or examination. Consent from a patient is needed regardless of the procedure and is done on the basis of an explanation by a clinician.

The principle of consent is an important part of medical ethics and international human rights law. For consent to be valid, it must be voluntary and informed, and the person consenting must have the capacity to make the decision. If an adult has the capacity to make a voluntary and informed decision to consent to or refuse a particular treatment, their decision must be respected. Consent can be given:

  • Verbally – for example, a person saying they're happy to have a particular procedure
  • Non-verbally – a patient can give non-verbal consent, as long as they understand the treatment or examination about to take place – i.e. holding out an arm for a blood test
  • Written – i.e. by signing a formal consent form

Consent from children and young people and Gillick Competency

People aged 16 or over are entitled to consent to their own treatment. This can only be overruled in exceptional circumstances.

Like adults, young people (aged 16 or 17 years old) are presumed to have sufficient capacity to decide on their own medical treatment, unless there is significant evidence to suggest otherwise.

Children under the age of 16 can consent to their own treatment if they are believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what is involved in their treatment. This is known as being Gillick competent. Otherwise, someone with parental responsibility can consent for them.

You are entitled to withdraw your consent at any time.

For further information about consent please take a copy of our leaflet, Consent – It's Up To You, from the waiting area or enquire at reception.

CHAPERONE POLICY

The Practice is committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment where patients and staff can be confident that best practice is being followed at all times, and the safety of everyone is of paramount importance.

A formal chaperone is a person who serves as a witness for both a patient and a medical practitioner; they act as a safeguard for both parties during a medical examination/procedure, and are also a witness to the continuing consent of the procedure. Family members or friends may be present but they cannot act as a formal chaperone.

There are two considerations involved in having a chaperone to assist during clinical examinations/investigations; namely for the comfort of the patient, but also for the protection of the Clinician from any allegations of impropriety.

All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure where they feel that one is required. All chaperones within the practice have completed the relevant and appropriate training. Patients can expect all of our chaperones to be:

  • Available if requested
  • Pleasant/approachable/professional in manner, able to put them at ease
  • Competent and safe
  • Clean and presentable
  • Confidential

The positioning of the chaperone will depend on several factors, e.g. the nature of the examination and whether or not the chaperone has to help the Clinician with the procedure. The Clinician will explain to you what the chaperone will be doing and where they shall be in the room.

If you require a chaperone then please do not hesitate to speak to your clinician.

CANCEL AN APPOINTMENT

If you are unable to keep your appointment, we do appreciate your letting us know as soon as possible so that another patient can be offered that time.

To do this you can;

  • Send a text message with your name, date of birth and brief details to 0782 660 5897
  • Through our automated telephone system ringing 01977 610009 option 1 and then option 1 again, available 24 hours a day.
  • Through our website using the online facilities, please click here to login to Systmonline - available 24 hours a day. You will need a unique user name and password to use Systmonline - please speak to a receptionist for more details.

If you are unable to attend an appointment we do encourage you to cancel your appointment as soon as possible so that it can be offered to another patient.

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