We endeavour to provide all our patients with an appointment to have most appropriate contact with the most appropriate clinician(GP or a Clinical Practitioner or other newly established additional roles in General Practice such as a First Contact Physiotherapist, a Clinical Pharmacist, First contact Mental Health Practitioner, Physician Associate, Paramedic) within a 2 day period. In most situations, all above practitioners are skilled to be able to offer initial assessments and either seek advice from the GP if needed or organise for a second opinion by a GP.A small proportion of appointments are available to book upto 4 weeks in advance and these are usually reserved for specific reviews of an ongoing problem not needing acute clinician input or planned reviews after first contact by any of our skilled practitioners.If all appointments are booked for the day, and your problem is urgent, the Reception Team will arrange for the On-Call GP to ring you to triage your clinical symptoms and offer the most appropriate appointment.
Our Care Navigation Programme provides tailored training for your staff to signpost people to local community resources, empowering them to manage their personal needs and reducing their reliance on GPs. The three main aims of the programme are to:
- Reduce unnecessary GP appointments
- Increase patient wellbeing
- Maximise resources already in the system
Care Navigation is a tried and tested model of care that improves access to primary care services for patients and reduces GP pressures all in one. It allows front line staff to provide patients with more information about local health and wellbeing services, both within and outside of primary care, in a safe, effective way.
Where patients have an urgent need for same day care and there are no available appointments at the GP surgery, there is extended access to healthcare professionals through the Extended Primary Care Service at: Seaham & Peterlee. Weekdays 8am-8pm, Weekends and Bank Holidays 8am-1pm. Access is via NHS 111 or practices can book appointments if necessary.
Patient Appointment Flyer
How to make an Appointment
Appointments can be made by phone or in person at the reception desk or online. You can see the doctor of your choice but on occasions when it is not possible, another doctor or clinical practitioner will always be available for consultations.
If you have an urgent problem, please let the reception staff know so that they can arrange for you to have an appointment the same day. Always think before taking an urgent appointment and ask yourself, “does my problem need to be seen today or do I want it to be seen today?” Someone else may be in greater need of the appointment. If in doubt ask to speak to a doctor or nurse.
Please remember that our GP appointment times are ONLY 10 minutes long. Therefore, if you have a long list of problems it may not be possible to deal with all of them in one consultation. If you have more than one problem to discuss with the doctor, please make a double appointment.
Routine '4 week release' appointments
Can be booked up to 4 weeks in advance
Routine appointments are released daily, upto 4 weeks before that specific date.
Routine appointments are either:
- Face-to-face consultation, or
- Telephone call appointment (Unfortunately we are not able to guarantee a time for a telephone call appointment as the doctors have to prioritise their workload depending on demand each day).
- Video Consultation
Same day / within a 48 hr period appointments:
These appointments are released daily to be booked at 08:00 every day on a “Acute Needs ” basis . The reception team will need some details from you to book you into an appointment at the shortest length of time.
All patients are advised to fill the AccuRx TRIAGE Questionnaire that is sent when you are booked in for a callback without fail. This will help our clinicians to prioritise caseload and also enable them to still advise you if you have been unable to answer their calls.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why can I not book further than four weeks ahead?
- We have previously opened up the diary for patients to book appointments outwith the two weeks, but we noted that our “do not attend/ DNA” failed appointment numbers increased. We found that limiting our diary to two weeks has dramatically reduced our DNA rates.
- Why can I never get through on the phone lines at 0800?
- We apologise that the phone lines are extremely busy first thing in the morning.
- We have increased receptionist cover when the practice opens to help with this demand.
- The surgery would like to remind everyone that patients can ring anytime during the opening hours to arrange an appointment unless urgent for the same day and an appropriate appointment will be offered
- Why are the same day appointments always used within a few minutes of the lines opening?
- We recognise there is increased patient demand on the NHS and General Practice as a whole, and unfortunately we cannot accommodate all requests for a same day appointment.
- As a medical establishment, we have to prioritise all demands to deal with acute medical emergencies, and therefore we have introduced a duty doctor/clinical practitioner triage system.
- Each day, a duty doctor/Clinical Practitioner will triage and prioritise all calls felt to be urgent from patients, all prescription requests, and all hospital requests.
- Each day, the duty doctor can utilise urgent appointment slots following an initial conversation with a patient. It is noted that a lot of triage calls can be dealt with safety over the telephone.
GP or Clinical Practitioner Info
If you cannot attend an appointment for any reason please inform us as soon as possible in order for us to give the slot to someone else.
There are occasions when patients need to be assessed by a doctor which might involve intimate examinations. This Practice is committed to putting patients at ease whenever possible, and if you wish a chaperone to be present during your examination please do not hesitate to ask the doctor.
It may not be possible for such a chaperone to be provided immediately and you might have to return for the examination to be carried out at a mutually convenient time.
Trust is important in the relationship between GP and patient and we would, at all times, wish you to feel able to ask for a chaperone, should you require it.