We keep up to two months’ worth of appointments on the system at any one time. Half of these are available to be pre-booked, half are retained for book-on-the-day appointments. Once all appointments have been taken, if your request is medically urgent for the day, we will add your name and brief details to an Extras list, which the doctor will review.
All appointments are for a standard length of 10 mins; sometimes a longer appointment can be booked such as a 20 min or 30 min appointment for a medical. Most concerns can be addressed during a 10 min appointment however, on occasion, the severity of the problem and the needs of the patient mean that the appointment over runs. The doctors do their very best to address all of a patient’s concerns during the consultation but delays are unavoidable: eg, if a doctor is having to break bad news to a patient, if the matter turns out to be more serious than the patient thought, if a patient collapses. On occasion emergencies arise, sometimes from patients or visitors walking into the surgery and needing to be dealt with immediately. Whilst we understand it is annoying to be kept waiting for your appointment with the doctor, we have to prioritise the needs of those people currently being seen.
Most services provided by your GP come under the category of NHS Core Services. However, some of what we do is not covered by the NHS and is classed as private work: eg. insurance medicals, LGV medicals, Taxi medicals, travel vaccinations. Private work will incur a fee and a list of charges for the most common requests is displayed in the surgery.
In accordance with NHS Best Practice guidelines, we no longer take telephone repeat medication requests in order to try and avoid confusion and error when ordering medication. As many drug names are long and confusing, making them difficult to pronounce, some patients could order the incorrect item. In addition, many patients would just say they wanted to order “everything” as this was simpler than asking for specific items. Eventually this can result in the unwanted items being returned to us, as a stock pile builds up. If a dispensed item is returned to us as unwanted, we cannot re-use this for another patient as the NHS views this as fraud. The medication must be destroyed by the dispensary manager and then disposed of according to NHS regulations. Obviously this is tremendously wasteful and expensive.
Whilst we can listen to you and note your concerns we cannot enter into a discussion with you about someone else, even if they are a family member and you are extremely concerned about their health. Unless the patient gives explicit written, signed consent, giving us permission to discuss all aspects of their medical care and health needs with the nominated person, we are unable to discuss matters with you. This includes children who are over the age of 16, even if they are still living in the family home. The patient needs to consent to our discussing their health needs with you. If you have concerns, the best way to bring this to the attention of the doctor is to send them in writing.
Our practice area was agreed with NHS Lincolnshire in 2004 and is clearly defined. Whilst we do not remove longstanding patients who lived outside the boundary prior to 2004, we do not take new patients moving into these areas (other than certain exceptions such as newborn children, new partners/wives/husbands, people returning to their family home after a time away in the services or at university, etc). Our priority is to the patients on our list, who live within our practice boundary and we do not wish to compromise this level of care by taking on too many patients.
NHS Regulations state that any person leaving the practice area for more than three months must be deducted from the practice list and advised to register elsewhere. A patient living abroad for months at a time is expected to seek medical care from the country they are living in. We are not able to post medication or prescriptions to these patients, nor are we able to leave them on our practice list. Practices are paid a small quarterly fee per patient by NHS England. If we know the patient is living abroad, we are receiving monies for providing services which we know will not be required – and are considered to be committing fraud by NHS England. As soon as you return to live permanently in our practice area we will be happy to take you back onto our list as a permanent patient. Until that time, if you are back in the country visiting family, you will be able to be seen as a temporary resident.