Why are you now changing the way you access help from the surgery?
Since March national guidance following the start of the coronavirus pandemic has required us to complete as many of our patient requests remotely as possible. This is to avoid increasing the spread of infection especially as some people attending the surgery will be in vulnerable groups. Up to now this has involved booking a telephone appointment to speak to the GP first so that the health concern can be discussed prior to any further examination, investigation or treatment being arranged.
We are now in a recovery phase and reintroducing more of our routine work. People are feeling more confident in approaching the GP surgery and we wish to maintain a safe, effective and responsive way of managing queries and concerns.
We have decided to use an online method so that information is passed directly to the GPs who can then assess the best next steps. This may be by progressing the concern online, arranging for a telephone consultation or booking the patient directly into a face to face appointment.
This method has been tried in many areas around the country over the past few months and some practices were using this method prior to the pandemic. The feedback from patients has been positive in these areas with patients finding it a convenient way of contacting the surgery to arrange for help and GP surgeries an effective and safe way of managing concerns. We hope that introducing this will be a positive step now and in the future.
How do I access the online form?
If you can, we would ask you to fill in the form yourself by going to the surgery website and selecting the Consulting Room on the homepage. This will then take you to a page with Get Help For Any Health Problem on it which is the form to complete.
If I have a problem and I need to speak to a GP on the same day do I still fill in the form?
Experience at other practices is that the majority of forms are sent overnight or in the morning. We have amended the GPs days to take this into account and would ask if you have a concern that you need answered on the day you continue to complete the form as early as possible in the day and it will be answered within 2-3 hours. If you have a health concern that develops after 4.30pm which you feel is urgent you will need to contact the surgery on the reception number.
What if I or someone I know is unable to access or complete the form?
It is possible to complete the form on someone’s behalf if you are a parent, carer or relative for the person seeking help. You can ask someone you trust to fill the form for you and they can do this from their own home by accessing the website. Reception will happily complete a form for those who need support to do so.
Can I fill in the form from my mobile?
Yes if you can access the website from your mobile you can complete the form this way.
Will I still be able to specify the Doctor I wish to see?
Yes there is space on the form to request the GP you know and you can let us know if you wish to wait for a reply from this GP in particular. If this doctor is available the form will be directed to them. Another GP may contact you to offer support if the query is felt to be urgent and your usual GP is not available.
What happens to the form once I have sent it?
All clinical queries will be passed directly to the GPs working that day who will assess and advise next steps as above. We expect that for some matters the information on the form will be enough for the request to be dealt with directly without the need for a telephone call or a face to face appointment; if you need an appointment this will then be booked.
How will I find out what is happening next?
The GP will email back once they have seen the form with the next step. If this is to arrange an appointment you will be contacted by reception to book this in. This may come up as a withheld number on some phone systems. There is the ability to state your availability on the form in which case reception can book your appointment, send you information about this and request that you confirm that you are able to attend.
Can I attach further information to the form?
The GP or surgery may reply and ask you to attach a photograph or further information.
How is the form kept secure?
All information on the form is kept securely within our software systems and when the episode is finished is copied into your patient record. The local Clinical Commissioning Group and our IT teams are confident in the systems we are using.
Do I need to fill in a form if I wish to make an appointment with the practice nurse or for a blood test which I have been invited to make by the practice or is part of routine monitoring reviews or screening?
No we would ask those patients who have been requested to attend to book their appointment with reception as usual.
I have a concern that I wish to keep confidential from other members of my household. What should I do?
We would ask that patients only give the surgery contact details that they are happy for us to reply to and make sure these are updated when necessary. This may mean using email addresses or a phone number that you feel are secure from other people. All information is kept confidential by all members of the practice team and we take any concerns about this very seriously. If you are concerned about being able to access the surgery we would ask that you contact the reception for advice and support on how to arrange your appointment.