How to manage your appointments
Our Appointment System
Wherever possible, for routine appointment requests, please use our online options. Doing so will assist us by keeping our phone lines free for those who need urgent medical help or cannot access online sources of information.
As a Practice, we offer telephone and face-to-face consultations as necessary for same-day and pre-booked appointments. Wherever possible, we seek to minimise the risk to our patients and staff by reducing the need for patients to visit the Surgery.
All of our clinicians can help you deal with acute and long-term health problems and illnesses and may involve advice on how you can help yourself. Sometimes it will require treatment in the Surgery, prescribing medication or referral to other local health care services may be necessary.
Patients may see the doctor of their choice, and it is usually best to see the same doctor for ongoing and long-term health conditions. However, when you need to see a doctor urgently, it may not always be possible to see your usual doctor.
While we make every effort to keep appointment times, there may be occasions when they overrun.
Book or cancel an appointment online
We offer the ability for patients to book appointments online, which means you can book an appointment 24/7 without having to phone the surgery.
Patients who have registered to use the SystmOnline Patient Access system can book routine GP appointments online using their SystmOnline login, which is the same login details as the online repeat prescription requests.
If you don’t have a SystmOnline login, please follow this link to our SystmOnline page to find out how to register>>
Online consultations through eConsult
We also offer patients the ability to book an appointment online for a consultation using the eConsult system, which is available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Using eConsult allows you to explain why you want an appointment – you don’t have to try to explain everything within the first few minutes of an appointment. The Practice can then decide how best to help you – you may not even need to come into the Surgery.
Please complete the eConsult form with as much information as you can, sending photos where appropriate (e.g. for a rash or mole). Our Nurse Practitioners review these forms, normally within 48 hours, whereby you can expect to be contacted. Completing an eConsult form online avoids telephone queues, connects you to relevant information, and if an appointment is needed, it will be with the most suitable clinician to treat you.
There can be a variable wait for a routine or follow up face to face appointment, therefore please book your appointment as soon as possible. You are more likely to be offered an appointment with your preferred clinician if you are able to book early.
Please note that eConsult appointment requests are only available during Practice Opening Hours. However, the ability to browse for self-help advice is available through eConsult 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Click on the image below or follow this link to access the eConsult system:>>
Book a consultation by telephone
If you don't have a SystmOnline account, cannot complete an eConsult or think you may have difficulty with an online consultation, don't worry: our reception team will happily assist you or complete the process on your behalf. Please call Reception directly on 01202 865800.
Our receptionists are here to help you: they are fully trained in Care Navigation and will ask you for brief details of your condition when you telephone. This is so that they can record these details to inform the clinician who will contact you. This approach ensures that we can assist you as speedily and professionally as possible. It also ensures that you are directed to the correct clinician.
Urgent ('Triage') Appointments
For all urgent matters, please telephone the Surgery between 8.30 am and 12 pm, when you will be asked to briefly outline your symptoms. If appropriate, you will be added to the triage list for a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner to call you back that morning.
If they cannot help you over the telephone, you will be directed to the most appropriate healthcare professional. This could mean prescribing medication over the phone or asking you to attend the Surgery at short notice.
Please ensure that the telephone number you provide for a callback is in a good signal area and that you are available for their call. They will not be able to make repeated attempts to contact you.
NB: If you are suffering from chest pains or shortness of breath, please call 999.
Every appointment you don't cancel means we have lost the opportunity to help someone who needed it. If you cannot attend an appointment for any reason, please inform us as soon as possible to enable us to give the slot to someone else.
Please contact us as soon as you know you cannot attend your appointment. If your appointment has been arranged for a time within the next 24 hours, please call Reception directly on 01202 865800.
If your appointment has been set for more than 24 hours in advance (excluding weekends and public holidays), you can cancel an appointment quickly and easily using our online. Follow this link to our online appointment cancellation form:>>
Whilst we encourage our patients to come to the Surgery, where we have the proper equipment and facilities, we understand that sometimes it may be appropriate for care to be given in the community. However, it is important to bear in mind that most medical problems are dealt with more effectively in the clinical setting of a well-equipped surgery.
Home visits are offered to housebound patients or those with a clinical condition that prevents them from attending the Surgery. Please do not request a home visit unless the patient is genuinely too ill to visit the Surgery. Most children can safely be brought to the Surgery by car, taxi or pushchair.
If you need a home visit, please telephone before 10 am, as this helps the doctors plan their rounds. Brief details of the problem should be given to the receptionist to help the doctor assess the urgency of your request. Please note that the home visit may not be on the day or with a doctor of your choice.
Please help us by giving the receptionist as much detail as possible, and please include the following details as appropriate:
- The name, address and date of birth of the patient needing a home visit.
- Your name, contact details and relationship to the patient if you call on behalf of the patient.
- The nature of the problem, which gives the doctor an indication of the degree of urgency.
- Any relevant past medical history or relevant recent events.
- Any key entry codes needed to access the patient's home.
A community nurse can also visit you at home if your GP refers you. A health visitor may also see you at home if you have recently had a baby or are newly registered with a GP and have a child under five years old.
If your consultation includes a physical examination for which you would like to be chaperoned, we can provide a trained staff member to do this. You may prefer to ask a relative or friend to accompany you, which is perfectly acceptable. At times a GP may request a chaperone, and a trained staff member may perform this task.
We have access to a Language Line if you experience difficulties expressing yourself in English. This facility lets us contact a translator who will act for you and the doctor/nurse at a consultation.
Enhanced Access to GP Services
We are working to improve access to appointments for our patients, particularly evenings and weekends. Please ask if you would like to be offered one of these appointments. These appointments may be at a different site; for example, Dorset County Hospital, Poole General Hospital or Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospital.
For details of our Extended Hours, please see our Opening Times page by following this link>>
How to get the best from your Appointment
Ask yourself: How important is it that I'm seen quickly, or would I be better waiting for an appointment with a particular GP? If you have a long-term condition, you'll probably benefit from a GP who knows you.
Don't be put off by a GP who runs late: they may be spending needed time with patients. On the other hand, one day you may appreciate them running late for you.
It's tempting to bring a list of unrelated problems, but consider what's achievable in 10 minutes. It's often better to come back rather than squeeze as many problems as possible into one ten-minute appointment. If you need more time, let the receptionist know when booking your appointment so that this may be arranged.
Before you see the GP work out in your mind what you're worried about and highlight any particular concerns. Consider preparing short notes, including how you would describe your symptoms.
Get to the point: don't beat about the bush, and don't keep important issues until the end.
Wear accessible clothing if you're likely to need to undress for examination.
Make sure you understand what happens next. If you are not sure, ask to go through the plan again.