Harleston Medical Practice: Patient Guide to Appointments
To ensure that we are able to meet our patient’s needs we actively manage our appointments to provide both routine and urgent appointments. To ensure you are able to get the most out of our services please take note of the following information regarding our appointment system.
** Please note, should you experience difficulty obtaining an appointment due to specific work/travel/other circumstances please make reception aware and we will endeavour to meet your needs.
To meet your routine needs:
GP routine same day access
Please call us between 8.30 and 10 am if you require the attention of a GP. The GPs ask that you kindly provide our trained medical receptionists with a brief indication of the nature of the problem. This helps to ensure that you are directed to the most appropriate clinician to meet your needs.
The GP will initially contact you by telephone the same day. The GP will carry out an initial telephone consultation and will arrange to see you if necessary. They will also arrange any prescriptions that are required. If the GP needs to see you they will book you an appointment whilst you are on the telephone.
GP follow-up appointments
If following your consultation your clinician feels they would like to see you again to follow up your condition they will make you an appointment at their follow up clinic. This helps ensure continuity of care for our patients.
Evening and weekend appointments
Our Practice is engaging in a pilot scheme providing improved access for patients to a range of healthcare professionals. Working within a group of eight local Practices, we will be offering a range of appointments each weekday evening between 6.30pm and 8pm and during selected times at weekends, to registered patients, in at least one of the participating Practices. Please contact reception to find out when our next clinic is.
Patients arranging community transport
Please make reception aware if you are arranging community transport for an appointment.
Being on time for your appointment
Please arrive before your appointment time to ensure you don't lose your place. This ensures that our clinicians have time to provide patients with the quality of service that they deserve and ensures that other patients are not kept waiting unnecessarily. If you arrive outside of your appointment time you will be asked to rebook.
Online appointment booking and cancellation
We offer the ability to book and cancel online GP appointments via our website www.harlestonsurgery.co.uk. If you are already registered to use our online prescription service you may use the same log in details. If you are not yet registered for online services you will need to come to the surgery in person with photo-ID or a recent utility bill. Ask the receptionist for details of how to register for SystmOnline. We will then supply you with a username and first password.
If you are unable to obtain an appropriate appointment online please contact the surgery to enquire about further availability.
To meet your urgent needs (after10am):
Please remember, we do NOT offer a "walk in" service. You must have an appointment to be seen.
If you have an urgent problem that needs to be seen on the same day we can offer you an urgent appointment with the duty GP. The duty GP will initially telephone you to discuss the problem. For duty appointments it is not to specify a particular clinician.
An urgent same day appointment is only for your most urgent medical need and it is not possible to discuss routine matters during an urgent same day appointment. When requesting a duty appointment you will be asked to provide a brief explanation of your symptoms. This is to ensure that the duty clinician can identify if there are patients with potentially critical conditions waiting to be seen.
Please be prepared to wait to see the GP. The On –Call clinicians must prioritise their list should a patient with potentially critical condition present. The On-call GP may also be called out on an urgent visit and you must be prepared to wait for their return.
The following are not "urgent": medical certificates; travel vaccinations; discussion of test results unless called by the doctor; medical reports for insurance, banks and employers; requests for letters or completion of forms; etc.
We understand that you might be anxious about something that proves not to be "urgent" after all. This is reasonable and we will have been pleased to reassure you. However, should patients abuse this “urgent” appointment system we may be forced to reconsider this provision.
Nursing team appointments
There are many things that our nursing team are able to help you with. Please telephone reception after 10 am to obtain a routine nursing, health care assistant or phlebotomy appointment.
Alternatives to an appointment with the doctor- Get the Right Treatment
Every year, millions of us visit our GP with minor health problems that can be easily resolved without a doctor's appointment.
It is estimated that every year, 50 million visits to the GP are made for minor ailments such as coughs and colds, mild eczema, and athlete's foot. By visiting your pharmacy instead, you could save yourself time and trouble.
Keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet at home can help you treat many minor ailments. Colds, coughs, indigestion and many other minor complaints can all be treated with medicines that are available over the counter.
Your pharmacist can advise on what you might find useful to keep in your medicine cabinet. Always follow the instructions on the medicine label and consult your doctor if the illness continues or becomes more severe.
Your Local Pharmacist
Pharmacists offer professional free health advice at any time - you don't need an appointment. From coughs and colds to aches and pains, they can give you expert help on everyday illnesses. They can answer questions about prescribed and over-the-counter medicines. Your local Pharmacist can also advise on healthy eating.
Pharmacists can also advise on health eating, obesity and giving up smoking. Some pharmacists have private areas where you can talk in confidence. They may suggest you visit your GP for more serious symptoms. It is possible to purchase many medicines from the chemist without a prescription.
Several pharmacies now open late regularly.
NHS Walk-In Centres
NHS Walk-In Centres offer convenient access to a range of NHS services. You can receive treatment for many ailments including:
- infection and rashes,
- fractures and lacerations,
- emergency contraception and advice,
- stomach upsets,
- cuts and bruises, or
- burns and strains.
NHS Walk In Centres treat around 3m patients a year and have proved to be a successful complementary service to traditional GP and A&E services. Some centres offer access to doctors as well as nurses. However, they are not designed for treating long-term conditions or immediately life-threatening problems.
When we are closed
When the surgery is closed please call NHS 111 direct.
The NHS 111 service is staffed by a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses. They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you straight away to the local service that can help you best. That could be A&E, an out-of-hours doctor, a walk-in centre or urgent care centre, a community nurse, an emergency dentist or a late-opening chemist.
If a health professional has given you a specific phone number to call when you are concerned about your condition, continue to use that number.
When to use NHS111
You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation.
Call 111 if:
You need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency.
You think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service.
You don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call.
You need health information or reassurance about what to do next.
For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.
For immediate life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999 .
NHS Walk-in Centres
Walk In Centre
Tel : 01603 677500
Open 7am-9pm 7 days a week
In an emergency
Accident & Emergency (A&E)
Major A&E departments assess and treat patients who have serious injuries or illnesses. Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for emergencies, such as:
- loss of consciousness,
- pain that is not relieved by simple analgesia,
- acute confused state,
- persistent, severe chest pain, or
- breathing difficulties.
If you're injured or seriously ill, you should go, or be taken, to A&E. If an ambulance is needed you can call 999, the emergency phone number in the UK. You can also dial 112, which is the equivalent for the European Union.