Appointments News and How to Access a GP – August 2021

Dear Patient,

Deddington Health Centre aspires to provide the best possible care for our patients. Like all GP surgeries, we are struggling with demand. Here are some simple ways that you can help us to better meet everyone’s needs.

Telephone and Online Consultations

The pandemic has shown that many problems can be dealt with effectively by telephone or online consultation. We understand that this does not suit everyone and will continue to offer a mixture of appointments according to need. We are still bound by strict infection control guidelines. This means we have to limit the number of people in the building at one time.  The majority of consultations will still start as a phone call for the foreseeable future. To support this, we may need you to send a photo e.g., for a skin problem. Our patient services team will advise how to do this.

Many of our consultations are open for same-day booking. If you need to pre-book a consultation for a future date, the patient services team will help you with this. The waiting time for a routine pre-booked appointment is likely to be around 3-4 weeks.

If you phone after 11am we are unlikely to be able to offer you an appointment on the same day unless it is urgent. We will require more information from you to find out the urgency of your problem and may need to ask you to phone back on another day if there are no available appointments.

Continuity of care

Seeing the same doctor for a course of treatment or long-term care improves life expectancy. If you have been dealing with a doctor for a particular problem then our patient services team will allocate any follow up appointments to that doctor wherever possible. This may mean you are offered an appointment in the next 48 hours or more, depending upon their availability. Please don’t ask to speak to another doctor to speed things up. This can result in fragmented care and a worse outcome.

Test Results

You can access your own test results and medical record by signing up to any of the online services such as Patient Access or the NHS App. Our patient services team can help you with this.

To speak to your doctor about a test result, please phone to organise a routine appointment. Our on-call doctor cannot deal with calls regarding urgent test results. If a test result requires urgent action, we will call you.

Same Day Urgent Appointments

If you call for an urgent on the day consultation, please be available to take a call back. We will give you a rough timescale for this and it is helpful if you can leave a landline and mobile number as poor mobile reception often means that our calls go straight to voicemail. We make 2 attempts to get hold of you and after that will send a text message asking you to call back.

Capacity is limited due to the number of consultations that a doctor can undertake safely in one day. The British Medical Association recommends that this number is 25, but we already provide 40 consultations per day per doctor. For your own safety, we are not able to “squeeze in” extra consultations unless there is an urgent clinical need. Here are examples of things which are not urgent:

  • Forms needing to be filled in for employers/travel/hospital appointments
  • Sick notes (you can request these from us online, and they are never urgent)
  • Routine medication enquiries
  • Symptoms which have been present for a long time and not changed
  • Ordering repeat medications

Busiest Times

Monday is our busiest day. If your problem is not urgent, please try to avoid phoning us on a Monday. Our phone lines will be busy and you may have a long wait to get through, with no guarantee of there being an appointment available.

Standard appointments are 10 minutes. Please don’t expect us to deal with lots of problems during that time as it isn’t safe or fair to patients who are waiting behind you. If you have lots of problems to discuss then please book a double appointment or rebook a second appointment for another day.

Engage Consult Service

The use of our online consultation service Engage Consult (available through our web site) has been increasing rapidly. It is well suited to simple queries that don’t require a conversation. Only use this service for matters which you are happy to be dealt with electronically. Please don’t ask for a phone call via Engage Consult.  We do not prioritise online consultations over any others. Once the available online slots have been filled, we turn off the system for the rest of the day.

You can send photos through Engage Consult. Please give us as much information as possible to enable us to deal with your problem and do not skip through questionnaires when they are offered. The extra information from the questionnaires allows us to make a safe assessment without needing to ask you for further information.

Services We Do Not Provide

  • Liquid Nitrogen (Freezing) treatment for benign skin lesions such as warts and verrucas. These will usually respond to over the counter treatments and a pharmacist can advise on this. Private treatment for cosmetic purposes is available at several local clinics in Oxford and the surrounding area. We are not allowed to recommend specific clinics.
  • Ear syringing. Ear wax can be treated with over-the-counter treatments which your pharmacist can recommend or you can find online. Treatments we have found particularly helpful are Audispray and Otex Express Combi. In extreme cases there are private clinics that undertake microsuction to remove wax. If you are having a hearing aid fitted your audiologist may ask you to get your ears checked for wax before your appointment. We can check your ears but are not able to provide syringing.
  • Dental care. If you have a dental issue you need to speak to a dentist. If you do not have a dentist, NHS 111 can help you find one in an emergency.
  • We can treat minor sprains and cuts. If you have a wound that might need stitching or you are worried that you may have broken a bone go straight to a minor injuries unit or A&E department. We cannot organise X-Rays in this situation.

Referral and Support Services

We have access to a number of alternative services for your health issues. Many of these will be more appropriate than seeing or speaking to a GP. You don’t need to contact us before referring yourself. If you do phone us, our patient services team may signpost you to these services.

For the following services, please speak to our Patient Services team:

  • First Contact Physiotherapist – A detailed and skilled assessment for most joint and muscle problems including back pain and neck pain in patients aged over 16. Our patient services team can organise an appointment without you needing to speak to a GP
  • Clinical Pharmacist – our full-time in-house Clinical Pharmacist can deal with all medication queries and reviews. You can book a call with her by phoning reception.

The Practice Team, Deddington Health Centre