How the system works
This will explain how the practice works and why receptionists may ask you lots of questions.
How urgent things are dealt with
The doctors’ working day is divided into time for pre-booked appointments and time for urgent matters that need sorting out on the day. The main difficulty can be that the number of urgent problems that need to be dealt with varies a great deal from day to day so planning in advance is hard.
The next problem is in deciding what is “urgent”. Clearly, if it is urgent to you as a patient it is urgent, but what you don't know is what other urgent things the doctors are dealing with and it's the GPs professional decision to prioritise the urgent things to be dealt with in the order that they think is right.
This is why sometimes the receptionists will ask you for some idea of what is happening to you so that the doctors can prioritise the urgent work.
How routine things are dealt with
We have found that if people book appointments too far in advance more patients forget their appointments. This is why we only book 2 weeks in advance. As a practice we have very few missed appointments and most of these are generally due to unavoidable circumstances.
Many problems can be sorted out over the telephone. If you think your problem can be sorted out in this way if you leave your phone number the doctor will phone you back. It is not possible to guarantee a specific time when the doctor will phone you back but you will be contacted that day for urgent queries or within 24 hours for non-urgent ones. Do please make sure that your mobile is on.
Choice of doctor
It is best for you to deal with the same doctor most of the time. However for urgent things you may not get a choice. This is because one doctor a day is given more time to deal with urgent matters and that doctor may be the only one to have the time to deal with your urgent problem.
In a number of cases it might be worth considering an appointment with a practice nurse rather than a doctor. Our nurses are qualified to deal with many ailments and you may be seen more quickly.