Understanding our GP Appointments System
Our aim is to see any patient who has a health problem within a timespan that is appropriate for that problem. As a practice we undertake more than 6000 interventions each month for our population of more than 11,500 registered patients. Some of these consultations are for new illnesses whilst others are for continuing problems, with more than 90% of all medical care being provided in general practice. It can therefore be a massive challenge to match the needs of individual patients to the supply appointments.
Did you know that your pharmacy can help with the following ailments? Please consult them first for over-the-counter medication:
- Patchs: Why phone the surgery when you can book your appointments or request advice through our website, with no wait or hassle? Next time you need an appointment you could save time by starting an online consultation with the GP by using Patchs. We’ll get back to you in 24/48 hours of submission. This is especially useful for medical advice, queries, and admin tasks such as requesting a sick note. Select the Patchs box above.
Please note, if you have an urgent health query, call the surgery on 0151 327 1391 for advice, or 111 when we are closed.
- Telephone appointments. One the day appointments for acute problems, please phone reception from 8:00am.
Appointments will be made for telephone triage with a Clinician. A medical problem can often be solved over the phone if the Clinician would like to see you face to face, they will make that decision and ask you to come down to the practice that day. Not all appointments require face to face.
- Urgent (same day) appointments: These are intended for problems that need to be dealt with as a matter of medical urgency. Please phone early in the day if you genuinely require one of these appointments.
- Routine appointments: These can be booked several weeks in advance and are best suited to follow-up of continuing problems with a doctor.
- Pre-bookable appointments: For non-urgent appointments you can request a pre-bookable appointment to speak with a clinician.
- Home visits: Patients are requested, where possible, to telephone before 11:00am if a home visit is required that day. All requests are triaged to ensure that apart from the genuinely housebound, all patients attend the surgery rather than request a home visit because of the extra time home visiting takes. On average four to five patients can be seen in surgery in the time it takes to do a single house call. In addition, the care that can be offered due to the lack of adequate lighting, examination facilities and equipment means that you may not receive as good a service as the doctor may be able to offer if you came to the surgery.
A doctor or nurse may phone you back as it may be that your problem can be dealt with by telephone advice, or that it would be more appropriate to send a nurse, or indeed arrange a hospital attendance.
House visits are only available for patients who are housebound because of illness or disability.
- Advanced Nurse Practitioner: A nurse practitioner is an experienced nurse with additional specialist training. They are qualified to diagnose illness, decide on treatment, and issue prescriptions.
- Nurse appointments: Our nurses can deal with a range of common problems including monitoring long term health conditions.
- Mental Health Practitioners
- Health Coaches
- Clinical Pharmacists: Qualified experts in medicines who can help in a range of ways. This includes carrying out structured medication reviews for patients with ongoing health problems and improving patient safety.
Appointments can be made with the team to review your existing medication or get advice.
How to make an Appointment
- In person. We are happy to make appointments at the reception desk although it can sometimes be very busy as other patients will be wanting to check in or have other requests.
- By phone. This is still the most popular way of making an appointment although our lines can sometimes be very busy depending on the number of patients phoning that day.
The receptionists are here to help you. To ensure that they can assist you as efficiently as possible, they may need to ask for further details or check information in your medical records when you telephone the surgery. They are bound by the same rules of confidentiality as the doctors and nurses. Please appreciate that receptionists are not qualified to discuss your clinical care, but they will do their best to point you in the right direction. Please show the same courtesy to them as with all members of the team.
When the practice has reached its full capacity and we have no more appointments to offer you may be advised to contact 111. This service is in place to support practices when we reach full capacity.
Tips to help us to help you get the most out of the Appointment System
- Is it ‘urgent’? Please don’t request an urgent (same day) appointment unless you consider your problem to be medically urgent. Inappropriate requests for same day appointments mean that it is more difficult for patients with genuine urgent problems to be seen.
- Think ahead. If you have a long-term medical condition or take regular medication then you will need to be seen periodically for review, usually every six or twelve months. Please try to book these review appointments well in advance so that you can see the doctor (or nurse). Appointments can usually be made up to four weeks in advance.
- Turn up … or cancel. Please don’t miss an appointment that you have booked. This is wasted time that could have been used for another patient. If you can’t make an appointment or need to change it then let us know.
- Can anyone else help? Before you make an appointment, please think about whether there are any other services that might be more appropriate. For example, remember that pharmacists are trained to give advice about minor health problems and answer any questions about your medicines and treatment. The NHS 111 system is also available to guide you to appropriate sources of advice.
- What’s the problem? Understandably many people are reluctant to tell a receptionist about the reason that they want to see a doctor. However, our reception staff are more likely to be able to guide you in the right direction if you give them a rough idea about your problem. All our staff have a responsibility to treat your information confidentially, and we take this very seriously.
- Telephone consultations. If you have a simple problem or question, then it may be possible to sort this out over the phone. Ask the receptionists to take a message and we can call you back. However please check that we have your correct phone number and you let us know if there is a best time to call.
- Continuing care. If you have an ongoing problem, then please try to see the same doctor for each appointment. This means that you don’t have to keep on repeating your story and enables the doctor to build up a better picture of what is going on. If you have been for a consultation and been told that you need a follow-up appointment, then try to make it before you leave the surgery.
- Multiple problems. A routine appointment is for 10 minutes. During that time the doctor needs to read up on your records, deal with your problem, and write up the records. If you have more than one problem, then it may not be possible to deal with it in a single appointment. Ask the receptionist if you think that you may need more time.
- Be patient. Please understand that the receptionists and clinical staff are trying to meet the needs of thousands of patients, each of whom is very important. Although we want to offer personal, patient-centred care, we are often stretched to the limit. Please try to be understanding if things are not completely to your satisfaction. Finally, although our reception staff will always do their best to offer you an appointment that meets your needs when you contact us, if one is not immediately available then you will be invited to leave a message so that the doctors can decide on the best way to deal with your problem.
If appropriate a GP will offer you the opportunity for a chaperone to be present or you can request this service yourself.
We are honoured to be a designated teaching practice which involves having medical students from the University of Liverpool. Occasionally, we may ask your permission for you to participate in their teaching programme.
Students often learn more from their patients than their tutors and books! You can be involved in the medical learning of our future doctors, for the benefit of future patients. It is of great benefit for the students to learn from you in this way, but we will always respect your decision if you do not feel comfortable with this. Please inform the staff if you do not wish to be seen by a medical student.
In 2021, across all of our team members 982 appointments were wasted because patients did not attend. This equates to 148 surgeries. These appointments could have been utilised by other patients had they have been cancelled.