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Appointments System

How to contact us

There are two ways in which you can seek medical advice or help from one of our clinicians.

By phone or by eConsult.

If you call for an appointment, you will be asked a series of questions by our trained staff.   Any information given will be in strict confidence, and is at the request of the clinicians.

This is so that we can ensure that you receive:

  • The most appropriate medical care
  • From the most appropriate health professional
  • At the most appropriate time

Reception staff, like all members of the surgery team, are bound by confidentiality rules

  • Any information given by you is treated in the strictest confidence 
  • The practice takes any breach of confidentiality very seriously 

Our reception staff will ask you a few questions to help navigate and direct you to the most appropriate type of appointment.  Appointments can be with your usual doctor, a clinician in our assessment team, nurse practitioner, social prescriber, our pharmacist, paramedic or physiotherapist. 

However if you feel your issue is very private and you do not wish to say what this is then we will respect your decision.  We may advise you to fill out an eConsult instead, so that we can make sure you are still triaged appropriately.

If you would prefer not to call us, our eConsult service is an alternative way for you to contact us.  To do so, click on the eConsult blue banner directly below, where it says Get Started.  This service allows you to seek health advice, submit your symptoms or requests electronically to the practice, as well as offering around the clock NHS self-help information, signposting to services and a symptom checker.

 

About our appointments

We would like to be able to offer patients some continuity of care.  So if you wish to speak to your usual GP regarding a follow up, ongoing issue or non-urgent medical problem, we will offer you their next available appointment slot.    

If you have a new and acute problem, your name can be added to our assessment team's triage list, along with the information you have given.  Our assessment team of clinicians review this list, and you should be contacted on the day.  Occasionally you may be given an appointment with the appropriate clinician or health professional within the next few days.  

Telephone appointments are not always at a specific time and the clinical team will return your call when they have time that day.  Please let us know what number to call you on, and any times that you are not available.  Sometimes the call may appear to be from a private number, due to how our phone system works.  Please try to answer when we call. 

If you are invited to the surgery for an appointment we ask that you wear a face covering where possible, or a visor if not.

If you are visiting Cornwall, and not registered with us, we ask that you contact your own GP or the 111 service.  

 

For more information on our appointment system, please see our FAQs section below.

 

Important changes to routine and non-urgent blood test appointments - as of 23rd August 2021

All GP practices are affected by the current national shortage of blood tubes and are taking urgent steps alongside our hospitals to prioritise their use for people with the greatest clinical need. This includes testing for serious conditions such as cancer.  

We are following national guidance which has been issued in response to the shortage. As a result, we need to cancel and delay a number of patient appointments for blood tests deemed routine or non-urgent. If you have a routine blood test appointment the reception team at the surgery will be in touch directly if they need to cancel your appointment, this will be by phone or by text message.

Please be assured that appointments will be rescheduled once the situation has improved, and in line with national guidance. There are a few things you can do if you are affected by this change: 

  • Keep checking our website for regular updates – we will be sharing the latest patient information here as soon as we receive it. 
  • Check your phone for messages from us – we will also be using our patient text service to keep people informed. 
  • Please don’t call or contact us with questions about routine blood tests – we are experiencing exceptional levels of demand at the moment, and your cooperation will help us to reach those without smartphone or internet access with this critical information.  
  • Do get in touch online if your condition worsens or changes so that we can prioritise your blood test if necessary following clinical review

The changes are likely to be in place for at least four weeks. We will keep all our patients regularly updated as the national situation changes. We fully understand the frustration this is likely to cause, and apologise for the inconvenience.  

Home Visits

If possible please try to telephone reception before 11:00 if you require a home visit.

You may only request a home visit if you are housebound or are too ill to visit the practice. Your GP or one of our trained specialist paramedics will only visit you at home if they think that your medical condition requires it and will also decide how urgently a visit is needed.

You can be visited at home by a community nurse if you are referred by your GP. You should also be visited at home by a health visitor if you have recently had a baby or if you are newly registered with a GP and have a child under five years.

GP Training

Doctors in training are attached to the practice.  They are fully qualified doctors and have had at least two years experience in hospitals. 

They spend 12 months in general practice before becoming independent General Practitioners.  Being a training practice keeps your doctors abreast of medical developments. 

 If you would prefer to see your own doctor in private please say so—it will cause no offence.

Cancel an Appointment

It is important that you inform the reception staff if you are unable to attend your appointment, this will allow that appointment to be offered to another patient. If you fail to notify the Practice that you are unable to attend, you will be sent a letter informing you that you have defaulted from your appointment. Persistent defaulters maybe removed from the list.

You can also complete our appointment cancellation notification request form. This can only be used if your appointment has been arranged for more than 24 hours in advance. (excluding weekends and public holidays). You can also text to cancel your appointment.

Text Reminder Service

We have a texting service which allows you to receive confirmation and reminders about your appointments.

To have this service you will need to register by completing a consent form.  Please use econsult and ask via the administrative help.

Please remember to update your contact details with us when you change address, telephone numbers and email address.

FAQs

How are we working?

Our clinican’s and other health professionals are seeing patients over the phone and face to face where appropriate.

We currently have 2-3 clinicians working in our assessment team each day, triaging all on the day patients based on the information given to our receptionists or by eConsult.

 

What is triaging and why are you doing this?

Triaging is a process where patients are sorted or allocated based on symptoms.

The more information we have about your problem, the easier and quicker it is for us to assess your needs.

We get a high volume of calls every day, and triaging allows us to make sure patients can get the right patient care at the right time. 

Most GP surgeries are using a triaging system of urgent or acute medical problems.

It was something that we had planned to set up before the pandemic, to help manage the demand on our services, and also help us utilise all the new health professionals we have in our practice, such as physiotherapists, paramedics and pharmacists.

 

Why aren’t you seeing patients?

Our clinicians will often assess your symptoms over the phone, and with the use of photographs if requested and supplied.  They may be able to diagnose, offer medication and advice over the phone.  If they have any concern over a diagnosis, or that they are not getting the full picture over the phone, they will not hesitate to bring you in to the surgery for a face to face appointment, (with covid protocols in place.)

Before the pandemic our GP’s saw on average maybe 20-30 patients a day, this included follow up and routine appointments, or to give urgent medical advice, alongside their other duties, such as checking prescription queries, patient medication reviews and home visits.

Now we are conducting a mixture of remote consultations (by phone) with appropriately triaged face to face appointments our clinicians are getting to treat 40-50 patients a day, and still manage their other duties.

 

Why can’t I see a doctor today?  Why have I received a text message about an appointment?

We know it can be frustrating when you can’t speak to a GP on the day that you call.

We endeavour to triage and treat all patients that call with an urgent and new acute medical problem on the day.  These include an unwell child, persistent coughs, infections, recent onset pain, or a complication of an underlying condition such as asthma, cancer or diabetes.

If you have an ongoing medical problem we would like you to see the GP that has been treating you where appropriate.   We believe this gives you continuity of care, and will hopefully mean the GP already understands your medical history and is best placed to follow up on your care.

 

 
Why wasn't I told I had a medication review appointment?
 
Our GP's, amongst their many daily tasks, calls and appointments, also conduct patient medication reviews. These are mainly done through assessing patient records and mostly do not require patient contact. Due to the way these are set up on our clinical system, they will appear as appointments on the NHS app. We want to assure patients these are not appointments you have missed or need to attend (unless you have been told otherwise), but is purely a way for our clinician’s to make sure each and every patient has a regular review.
 
We are looking at a way to change how we have these set up in the future, so that it is less confusing for you as the patient. We won’t however be able to remove past appointments due to the clinical system settings.
 
 
Why haven't I received a call from the Practice Nurse about my online COPD or Asthma review?
 
Our nursing team is currently sending out a COPD and Asthma online review questionnaires for patients to fill out.  These are normally sent yearly, near the month of your birthday.  Once you have filled out and completed these, you should receive a text to let you know we have received it.
 
These reviews are being added to your medical records, along with how you scored on the review.  These are then being reviewed by the nurses and patients with scores outside the acceptable ranges are being prioritised for a call back.  We are currently trying to get through a large backlog of reviews, so if you are in the acceptable range i.e. you are seen to be currently managing your condition, you may not receive a call back regarding your result for several weeks.  
 
 
 

Practice News

We have made some changes to the way we are running our surgeries, to try to keep everyone safe.

Please stay at home if you have either a high temperature and or a new, continuous cough.  Do Not go to the GP Surgery, pharmacy or hospital.  Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.

Changes to our Appointments

If you call for an appointment, you will be asked a series of questions by our trained staff.   Any information given will be in strict confidence, and is at the request of the clinicians.  You will be asked if the problem is urgent for today or related to an ongoing or non urgent medical problem.

If you wish to speak to your usual GP regarding a follow up, ongoing issue or non-urgent medical problem, we will offer you their next available appointment slot.  If you have a new and urgent problem, your name will be added to our Acute Team's triage list, along with the information given.  Our Acute Team of clinicians review this list, and you should be contacted on the day and given an appointment with the appropriate clinician or health professional.  

If you would prefer not to call us, you can alternatively use our eConsult service by clicking on the eConsult blue banner directly below, where it says Get Started.  This service allows you to seek health advice, submit your symptoms or requests electronically to the practice, as well as offering around the clock NHS self-help information, signposting to services and a symptom checker.

If you are visiting Cornwall, and not registered with us, we ask that you contact your own GP or the 111 service.  

The doctors like to look after their own patients whenever possible but you may make an appointment with any of them.  If appropriate, an appointment can be made with one of our practice nurses. 

If you are invited to the surgery for an appointment we ask that you wear a face covering where possible, or a visor if not.

Routine or pre-booked appointments

We are managing many of our routine appointments remotely, and will be bringing in patients to the surgery where appropriate.

If you are visiting Cornwall and are not registered with us

Please contact your own GP or the 111 service for advice.

When visiting the Practice

Please avoid visiting the practice unless you have an appointment booked.

On arrival for your appointment please let us know you are here via the intercom.

When you waiting for a clinician to come and let you in please keep a distance of 1 metre (3ft)between yourself and others. 

Please can we ask you to wear a face covering when visiting the surgeries, to keep you and our practice staff safe.

Collecting Prescriptions

When you come to collect prescriptions,  please keep a distance of at least 1 metre (3ft) between yourself and others. 

(At St Columb Major please queue at the window on the left hand side of the building, following the signs for the dispensary.)

Our Dispensary hours have changed. 

Our Dispensary is open

9:30 – 13:00 and 14:30 – 17:30 at Padstow and St Columb Major.

and

9:30 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 17:00 at St Columb Road

Note: this is subject to change at short notice, please check here or our web page for further updates.

Self-Isolating and Prescriptions

A friend or neighbour can collect your prescription on your behalf.

Sick notes

Online Isolation notes for those self-isolating due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, can be accessed through the https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/.