You can request an appointment by asking at the reception desk or by the phone. You may request to see a particular Doctor but this may involve a longer wait for the next available appointment.
It is very important that if you are unable to keep your appointment you contact Reception to cancel. This enables us to offer that appointment to another patient.
When you contact the surgery and ask for a same day or an urgent appointment, you will be asked for your telephone number and a brief description of the reason for the appointment. Our reception staff will then try to give you the most appropriate appointment at the practice or advise you if there are any alternative ways you can receive treatment. You may receive a call from the surgery from the GP or a nurse in order to assess you or resolve your problem sooner.
If you are late for an appointment by more than 10 minutes then it is up to the Doctor or Nurse if they will still see you or whether you have to make another appointment.
Please do not abuse the receptionist as they are only going on the Doctor or Nurse's decision.
This will be counted as a missed appointment without cancellation if the Doctor is unable to see you.
If you need to speak to a Health Care Professional for medical advice you will be allocated a time slot during surgery hours when they will either contact you or you can ring back to speak to them. However, in emergencies there is someone available at all times.
We understand that sometimes you cannot make your appointment, you must contact us if this is the case to cancel your appointment . Patients who have failed to attend without informing the practice stop these appointments from being offered to other patients. Because of this the Practice has adopted the following policy:-
- If a patient fails to attend 3 appointments in one year without informing the Practice, a letter explaining the Practice Policy will be issued.
- If a patient fails to attend yet again, a further letter will be issued explaining that they may be asked to leave the Practice and who to contact regarding any queries
- If a patient continues to fail to attend without informing the Practice they will be removed from the Practice list and requested to register with another Practice.
There is an appeals process that is explained in any correspondence sent to you.
These are for patients who are housebound and too ill to come to the surgery. If at all possible, please make requests for these before 10.00 a.m. This allows the Health Care Professional who does the visits to plan their rounds.
On average, seeing you at home takes four times as long as seeing you in the surgery. Please help us save time by keeping home visits to a minimum. You will be asked some questions regarding your house visit because of our policy to ascertain the urgency of particular problems or requests. The Health Care Professional may ring you back before visiting to see if a home visit is necessary.
Babies and small children should be brought to the surgery where we will do our best to see them promptly.
You can request access to our online services where you can book, cancel or rearrange appointments with a GP, request repeat medication and view your medical record. For more information see here.
What to do when the GP practice is closed:
- If you need medical help fast but it's not an emergency call 111
- If it's a life-threatening emergency call 999
NHS 111 is the number to call when you need medical help fast but it's not a life-threatening emergency. Calls to 111 are FREE from landlines and mobiles NHS 111 is available 24/7, every day of the year. During normal practice opening hours, the practice remains your first point of contact for all routine requests.
When to call 111
You should call 111 when:
you think you need to go to A&E or to another NHS urgent care service
- your GP surgery is closed and you need healthcare advice
- you don't know who to call for medical help.
When to call 999
Call 999 for life threatening emergencies such as:
- Major accident or trauma
- Severe breathlessness
- Severe bleeding
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe chest pain
In addition to dispensing prescriptions the large network of community pharmacies across Co Durham and Darlington provide a wide range of services e.g. minor ailments, sexual health and smoking cessation services.
A number of pharmacies provide extended opening hours including opening in the evenings and at weekends, details of all pharmacies in County Durham and Darlington can be accessed via www.durhamlpc.org.uk, click on the 'pharmacies' link on the left hand side of the home page. We recommend that you telephone a pharmacy to check they can provide the service you need before you set off.