The way we access GP services has changed. Below are some frequently asked questions that may help you understand these changes:
Why is the surgery changing the appointment system?
Two of the core values of Brigstock Medical Practice are to provide good access and also continuity of care for our patients.
You have told us, through general feedback with our staff, patient surveys and questionnaires and via our Patient Participation Group that you find it frustrating and difficult to get the appointment you need, when you need it.
By changing to this new appointment system we can make sure that everyone is able to speak to or see a Doctor on the day that they call or on the day that they choose.
Many people do not need to come into the surgery to be seen at all; their problem can be dealt with by telephone.
This gives your Doctor more time to see those people needing face to face appointments in the surgery and because your doctor is the one making the appointments, he or she can judge how much time you might need and give you a long or a short appointment. This helps appointments to run to time and means you’re more likely to be seen on time.
We also know that when people make an appointment close to the date that they call, they are more likely to keep the appointment.
What do I do if I need an emergency appointment?
Telephone the main surgery number and tell the receptionist that your health problem is urgent.
The receptionist will put you straight through to a Doctor if one is free. If all of the Doctors are busy, the receptionist will make sure that a Doctor calls you back as soon as they can.
Can I still book an appointment for next week or next month?
You can still book your appointments in advance but this will be done by the Doctor.
However, because you can get an appointment on any day that you call, you shouldn’t need to book ahead.
Please note that you will still be able to book appointments to see a Nurse, Health Care Assistant and phlebotomist with the receptionists.
Are telephone appointments safe?
During your call with the Doctor, he or she will ask questions to help them make a decision about whether you need to be seen in person or not.
For example, if your Doctor needs to look at something or examine you, you will be asked to come into the surgery for a face to face appointment.
What happens if I don’t have a telephone or have trouble using the telephone?
If you have difficulty using a telephone or do not have a telephone, you can still come in to the surgery to book an appointment.
If the Doctor is available the receptionist will talk to the Doctor who will arrange a time for you to come in. Please note: If the Doctor is with a patient you will have to wait until he/she is free before the receptionist will be able to talk to him/her. This does not mean you will have an appointment straight away, just that the Doctor will arrange a time for you to come back to be seen unless it is an emergency.
I am hearing impaired – what happens to me?
Some of our patients with hearing difficulties come into the surgery to book their appointments in person.
The receptionist will ask you to wait while she speaks to the Doctor who will arrange a time for you to come in.
Some of you ask a relative or friend to telephone the surgery to make an appointment for you.
As long as we know that you have given permission to that person to do this then the Doctor will telephone them with an appointment time for you to be seen. For confidentiality reasons the Doctor cannot discuss your medical details with that person unless you have given him/her written permission to do so.
Are the telephone calls recorded?
Yes all calls are recorded for training and security purposes.
The telephone appointments are as confidential as the appointments in the surgery.
Can I still telephone to make an appointment for a home visit?
When you speak to the doctor ask for a home visit.
If your doctor thinks you need to been seen at home, he or she will arrange this when you speak to them.
I’m not comfortable telling the receptionist what is wrong, do I have to?
Knowing what your health problem is generally helps the staff at the surgery to make sure those people with more urgent problems are dealt with quickly.
However, you don’t have to tell the receptionist what is wrong. If you’re not comfortable talking about your health problem, simply say you would rather not and the receptionist will respect your wishes.
I work in an open plan office – will I be able to text or email my query?
Yes, you can email this on patient online access.
The staff member will be able to liaise with you, and if a phone call is needed you will be asked to give your contact details and a convenient time for a call back by the clinical staff.
I can never get through to the surgery first thing in the morning—what will happen?
If you wish to, you can now book telephone appointments with a GP online- please register for online access via Doctorlink
One of the good things about the Dr First telephone service is that patients don’t have to telephone at 8am because the doctors will speak to patients all day. This ensures that all patients are always spoken to by a GP which means that if you cannot get through at 8am don’t worry. Also, we have increased our telephone lines and the number of people answering calls first thing in the morning to help patients get through more easily.
What happens if I miss the Doctor’s telephone call?
If you know that the Doctor will be calling you back, we do ask you to make sure you are available.
He/she will only try twice and will not leave a message on your answer phone, unless it has a personalised message.
Booking appointments online
You can now book online appointments with nurses and healthcare assistants.
Extended hours appointment with a GP is also available online too.
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