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From September 2017

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GP/ADVANCED NURSE PRACTITIONER APPOINTMENTS: 

Appointments: 01472 691033

If you need to book an appointment with a doctor or advanced nurse practitioner, please telephone the surgery as early as possible from 0800hrs Monday to Friday. The receptionist will ask you to attend the surgery on the same day.  Therefore, please call on the same day you want the appointment, as early as possible.  Demand is very high, so if there are no available appointments that day, you may be asked to call back the following day.  If you feel that your problem requires urgent same day attention, please tell the receptionist.  

Each appointment is for ten minutes, so if you have more than one problem to discuss, please let the receptionist know so that you can be given a longer appointment slot.

If the doctor wants you to attend for a follow-up appointment they will arrange a date and time. Sometimes they will book an appointment with the advanced nurse practitioner who is trained to deal with minor illnesses.

Please help us to help you by providing the reception team with as much information as possible. This will enable us to prioritise your call appropriately.

CANCELLATIONS

Please cancel your appointment as soon as you know you are unable to attend. Approximately 50 appointments are wasted every week due to people failing to cancel their appointment.  Patients who continually to fail to attend booked appointments could be removed from the practice list.

You can cancel your appointment via our online service - SystmOnline - 24 hours a day. You must be registered for this service - please ask at reception.

Receptionists aren't medically trained, so why do they ask why I'm calling?

The receptionist isn't being nosy!

A common bug-bear amongst patients is that reception staff ask questions about why a patient wants an appointment.  Some patients feel that receptionists are prying and, because they're not medically qualified, what business is it of theirs?  At the same time, patients are also often frustrated at appointment availability or waiting times for routine appointments.

The two points may seem unrelated, but are closely linked.  It may help if we explain the reasons behind our systems.  Along with the majority of practices in the country, we at Beacon Medical are feeling the pressure of demand for appointments, particularly for GP appointments.  We know, through regular audits, that not all requests for appointments need to be seen by a GP, nor do we have sufficient GP capacity for them to manage every appointment request.  In addition, it is increasingly difficult to recruit GPs, not just locally, but across the country.

We do have a range of clinical staff with different skills who are qualified to deal with a variety of health matters and are continuing to develop that skill mix.  Ultimately, the purpose of a receptionist asking why you want an appointment is to identify the most appropriate member of staff or service to support your needs.  This helps patients to be seen at the earliest opportunity and supports appropriate and fair use of available clinical appointments.

Whilst some patients may have a good understanding of what conditions our staff are qualifed to see, many patients will not.  Our receptionists are absolutely not attempting to make a clinical assessment or to give medical advice, nor are they qualified to do so.  They are, however, trained and given advice by our clinicians over who or what service is most appropriate for certain conditions.

It is also worth pointing out that all our staff - clinical and non-clinical - are bound by the same NHS confidentiality rules.  Staff understand that some patients may not wish to disclose personal information for a variety of reasons, which is OK, but it simply helps when this is possible.

All reception staff at Beacon Medical have received training to enable them to ask certain questions to ensure you receive the most appropriate care from the most appropriate professional at the most appropriate time.

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