Appointment System Changes

 The Leys Health Centre

Right Practitioner, Right Patient,

Right Time

Important changes to the appointment system starting from Wednesday 4th February 2015

The new appointment system is designed to help you get the appointment you need, when you need it. It was created following feedback from the Patient Survey, in order to improve your patient experience.

How will the changes benefit patients?

• Extra routine, bookable appointments (including early morning).

• Patients with medically urgent needs will be prioritised.

• More appointments available with our Specialist Nurses who are trained in dealing with urgent problems.

• Medically urgent (Doctor and Specialist Nurse) appointments will be spread throughout the day.

• No need to queue in the rain, cold or heat for long periods.

• All appointments will be at a set time, so no need to turn up and wait.

How will it work?

• From 4th February 2015 Open Surgery appointments will no longer be available.

• If you need to contact the surgery by telephone, use the usual phone number and a welcome message will offer a small range of options. Straightforward instructions will guide you to the right department.

• For routine appointments you will still be able to book in advance to see your usual Doctor, Practice Nurse, etc, just as you do at present. However, there will be more appointments, including early in the morning. We will continue to maintain continuity of care with the same Doctor wherever possible.

• If you feel that you need a same-day appointment, select this option when offered, and your call will be passed through to the reception team.

• The receptionist will offer you the choice of an appointment with a professional from our Nurse team (Nurse Practitioner, Practice Nurse, Nursing Assistant) OR a telephone call from a Doctor.

• Receptionists will also ask you for brief details of your medical condition. This is to enable the Doctor to prioritise their calls according to medical urgency.

• If a Doctor is going to speak to you by phone, the Doctor will call you back during the day. More urgent medical problems will be dealt with first. If you are not available at certain times of the day, then please inform the receptionist who will pass this information on to the Doctor.

• When the Doctor calls you they will discuss your condition and agree on the best course of action with you. This could be a visit to the surgery for an appointment with a Doctor, a home visit, a prescription, an appointment with another clinician (e.g. Specialist Nurse) or advice over the phone on how to manage your condition.

• If you choose to accept an appointment with a Specialist Nurse, the Nurse will be able to consult with the Duty Doctor about your condition, and involve them in your consultation if needed. Our Specialist Nurses can also provide prescriptions if required.

• All calls regarding a medically urgent problem received on a particular day will be dealt with before the Doctors leave for the day. This may be later than the practice’s usual closing time.

• For routine matters, you can book telephone appointments with your Doctor ahead of time.

How can you help?

• Please ensure we have your up-to-date contact details, including mobile number, if you have one.

• Please keep calls to reception brief and to the point. Remember, other patients are also trying to get through.

• Help us to help you by being available to take calls from the Doctor. This means keeping your phone with you when you are expecting a call, even if you are just "popping out". Please note that calls from the practice will come up on your phone as a withheld number.


What do I do if I have a medical emergency?

If you have, or think you have, a life-threatening emergency (e.g. heart attack, stroke) dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Can I still book routine appointments in advance?

You can, and should, still book appointments in advance. Call, preferably after 11am, or book in person at the surgery. You can also make appointments, cancel appointments and order repeat prescriptions online, via your home computer or smartphone. Please ask at reception for a password to do this.

Which Doctor will I talk to?

If your usual Doctor is there on the day you ring, or if there is a specific Doctor you wish to see, and a call is necessary, then that Doctor will normally call you. If that Doctor is not available then you will be offered a call from the Duty Doctor. The Duty Doctor is one of the existing Doctors at the surgery. They will take it in turns to carry out this role.

Are telephone appointments safe?

During your call with the Doctor, they will ask questions to help them make a decision about whether you need to be seen in person or not. Often the matter can be dealt with by phone. However, if the Doctor needs to examine you, you will be asked to come to the surgery for an appointment.

What if I have trouble using the telephone?

If you have difficulty using the telephone it is best to get a friend or relative to help you. However, if this is not possible you can still come to the surgery to request an appointment. You will be added to the Doctor’s call list and they will telephone you and advise you in the same way as if you had phoned in.

Will I be seen more quickly if I come into the surgery?

Unless your problem is a serious, life-threatening emergency, you will not be seen more quickly if you come into the surgery to make an appointment. Therefore, if you can phone for an appointment it will usually be more convenient for you.

Can I still telephone to make an appointment for a home visit?

There is no change to arrangements for home visits. When you request a home visit the receptionist will pass your request to the Doctor. The Doctor may ring you to discuss what is wrong. If the Doctor thinks that you need to be seen at home they will arrange this.

I’m not comfortable telling the receptionist what is wrong, do I have to?

Knowing a little bit about your health problem helps medical staff at the surgery to ensure that those people with urgent problems are seen more quickly and to ensure that you see the right person to help you. You don’t have to give the receptionist lots of detail, just a few words are usually enough.

If you’re not comfortable giving any details, simply say, "It’s personal", or "I’m not comfortable telling you that", and the receptionist will respect your wishes.

If I can’t get through to the surgery first thing in the morning - what will happen?

One of the advantages of the new system is that you don’t have to telephone at 8.30am "on the dot". This is because Doctors will respond to your requests, and Specialist Nurses have urgent appointments, throughout the day. We have also increased the number of staff answering the phones first thing in the morning to help you get through more easily.

If all the telephone lines are engaged, please be patient and call back. Don’t worry about ringing a bit later in the day. If the Doctor assesses that your condition is medically urgent, you will still be offered a same-day response.

Please bear with us when the new system starts – we will all be getting used to this new way of working. With your help and support, the new appointment system will provide a better patient experience for everyone.

If you have any queries or feedback, please email Fiona Lodge at or bring/send a letter marked for Fiona’s attention.

Thank you for your continued support.

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