All telephone calls to and from the surgery are recorded, for training and quality purposes.
Our receptionists have a very difficult task to perform, and they must follow the doctors’ instructions. They have received extensive training to ask pertinent questions when dealing with requests, particularly when assessing urgency, so that they can signpost to the most appropriate clinician for your needs. They will ask you details about your condition and your assistance when answering is appreciated.
All training given to receptionists is approved by the practice and the GP Partners.
Tell the receptionist if you wish to speak confidentially away from the public area as this can easily be arranged.
If you have a rash or temperature you can be seen at the surgery. Please inform the receptionist when you arrive.
Please remember; 1 problem per appointment. More than 1 problem inevitably makes your appointment over-run and this will likely cause the appointments following yours to run late.
PLEASE NOTE: if you cannot attend your appointment, please ring us or use the various systems to cancel. If you attempt to cancel within one hour of your scheduled appointment time, it will be marked as a missed appointment. This is because we will usually not be able to fill the appointment in such a short space of time and therefore it is wasted. For more information on our "Did Not Attend" policy, see the "Missed Appointments" tab above.
“On The Day” GP appointments
We have Urgent on the Day appointments which are only bookable via a receptionist face-to-face or over the telephone from 8:00am onwards on the same day (subject to availability), or from 7:30am via the automated telephone booking system. Ideally these appointments are for patients who require seeing a Doctor immediately for urgent conditions such as worsening asthma, unwell child, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, chest infections, and urinary tract infections (this list is NOT exhaustive). We would ask that non-urgent matters are booked into either 72 Hour or Routine appointments.
If there are absolutely no face-to-face appointments left, you will still have the option to speak to a GP on the same day for advice. Please ask our reception team for a telephone appointment (this may be with your GP or the Duty Doctor), who will call you back within a certain time frame, usually after 11:00am, and discuss your concerns. If the Doctor speaks with you and decides that the matter cannot be dealt with over the phone, they can make arrangements for you to be seen that day.
“72 Hour” GP appointments
72 Hour appointments become available for booking 3 working days (subject to availability), in advance of the appointment date. For example, a 72 Hour appointment for a Monday will be available to book from the previous Wednesday.
"Routine" GP appointments up to 12 weeks in advance
You can book appointments up to 12 weeks in advance, as long as the appointments have been added to our system. These are limited in availability so please bear this in mind when trying to book.
Extended Hours GP Surgery
These appointments are available from 7:30am until 8:00am, Monday to Thursday and from 6:30pm to 7:00pm on Tuesdays only. These can be pre-booked - please enquire at reception or book via the automated telephone system.
Automated Appointment Booking
If you opt to use our automated telephone appointment booking system you can book Urgent on the Day appointments from 7:30am (subject to availability), book other GP and nurse appointments and also check, amend and/or cancel appointments already booked. Please click on the above link entitled 'Automated Appointment Booking' for more information.
Online GP Appointment Services
Services for booking & cancelling online appointments are available via the tab at the top of this page entitled 'Online Services'. These appointments are 10 minutes in duration. If you require a longer appointment, please contact reception.
Friday Surgery Appointments
Friday afternoon surgery is for "urgent" cases only and an appointment is required. Appointments are only given for the named person; please do not ask for another member of the family to be seen during the same consultation as this will delay the doctor. When booking you can express preference for a GP but, subject to availability, you may be offered an alternative GP or health professional.
Please note that the times of doctors' surgeries can vary.
Cancelling & Rescheduling Appointments
If you cannot attend your given appointment please call 01903 777000 to cancel or reschedule. You can also cancel via the automated telephone system. On average 120 appointments per month are wasted due to patients failing to turn up.
These slots could be offered to other patients who need to be seen, allowing the doctors and nurses to reduce any backlogs and waiting times. Please think of others; cancel your appointments if you no longer need them.
The practice is able to offer a text service to your mobile phone, to confirm and remind you of your appointment. Please ensure that your details are kept up to date with reception.
Appointments Running Late
Our doctors and nurses aim to keep their surgeries running on time but there are a number of factors that may cause them to over-run.
Most general appointments are booked at 10 minute intervals, but this does not necessarily mean that you have 10 minutes face to face with the clinician. During that 10 minutes the clinician will listen to your problem, ask you questions which will help in forming a diagnosis, examine you (if required), provide a prescription (if required) and perhaps arrange a follow up appointment or a referral to a specialist. When you leave the room, the clinician needs to type a record of the consultation into the clinical system. So in any 10 minute appointment, there are only approximately 7-8 minutes with the clinician.
Probably the two commonest reasons for the clinician running late are when patients present with either a particularly complicated problem, or when they bring more than one problem to a standard 10 minute appointment:
(a) Complex Problem:
Sometimes the ailment the patient presents with requires more than 10 minutes. If you think you have a difficult problem, or perhaps a new psychological symptom, e.g. depression, please ask a receptionist for a 20 minute appointment.
(b) One Problem – One Appointment:
Bringing more than one problem to the clinician will invariably cause them to run late. Some patients bring in a list of problems. If the clinician deals with every problem on the list, that patient will be content but it means that subsequent patients in the surgery will be seen late. It only needs 2-3 patients with either a complex problem, or with more than one problem, for the last few patients in the surgery to be seen up to an hour late. Also if patients have turned up late, this can add to the wait.
We hope you will see that for the greater good of all patients, the doctor or nurse may ask patients who bring multiple problems to a 10 minute appointment to rebook on another day. This ensures the clinician can try to stay on time, but also that you get the right amount of attention for your concerns.
What can YOU do to help?
- Book one 10 minute appointment for one problem; if the problem is complicated, ask for a longer appointment.
- Turn up on time; if you are late every patient seen after you will probably be seen late.
- If you want to check in and there is a queue at reception, why not try the computerised check in system to the right of the main reception desk.
- Cancel your appointments if you don’t need them or can’t attend. We are now sending text reminders the day before your booked appointments so please do cancel if you can’t make it. You can use the automated telephone appointment system to cancel at any time of the day or night.
- One patient only per appointment – please don’t bring your family members' ailments to your appointment.
- Before you see the clinician, think about your symptoms and what you will tell him/her, e.g. how long have you had them, how severe is it, does it come and go, what makes it worse or better.
If the doctor or nurse is running late, please be patient and understanding.....they may have been called out to a seriously ill patient.
Named GP for Every Patient
- Changes to the General Medical Services (GMS) Contract means that all patients will have a named, accountable GP who will take lead responsibility for the co-ordination of all appropriate services. They will also work with other relevant health professionals, who are involved in your care, to ensure your care package meets your individual needs. This took effect in April 2015.
- As usual at Westcourt you can, however, still see the GP of your choice, whenever you need to see a doctor. You don't have to see your registered GP if you prefer not to.
- Please note - it is not always possible to see your named GP if you require an urgent appointment, but other appointments are available to book in advance (subject to availability) if you would like to discuss your care with your named GP.
- If you are unsure as to who your GP is, please feel free to contact the surgery and a receptionist will be happy to advise.