Access GP services

Since the start of the pandemic, GP practices have had to work differently to keep patients and staff safe. Find out how to access services at GP practices in South Warwickshire.

Despite lockdown measures lifting, the pandemic is not over

GP practices are working extremely hard to make sure patients can access the right help as quickly and safely as possible. However, the demand for GP appointments nationally is at an all-time high and this may impact on the waiting time to address your enquiry.

Practices are open and appointments are available

You will always be offered a face to face appointment if it is clinically necessary and many practices are once again offering face to face appointments if that is the patient’s preference.

However, many issues can be safely and conveniently managed over the phone and some practices will continue to triage calls and direct people to the most appropriate support. This may not necessarily be a GP as many other members of the practice team may be better placed to help you.

New ways of accessing services during the pandemic

A video from NHS England explains the different ways practices are working and how to access services.

View the video on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/health-at-home/

How you can help

Practice staff are working hard in difficult circumstances – help them to help you by treating them with courtesy and respect and choosing the right service for your needs:

Telephone consultation

Video consultation

eConsult online enquiry and call back

Help from your local pharmacy

Dial 111 or visit www.111.nhs.uk for general health advice
In an emergency, dial 999

Visit usetherightservice.com for more information on choosing the best service for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are appointments made at my GP practice?

All appointments are triaged over the phone. This means you are asked to describe what is wrong, so that we can make sure you have an appointment with the most appropriate person.

What is triage?

A trained member of the GP practice team assesses you over the phone and decides which type of appointment is most suitable. Sometimes, our receptionists need to ask personal questions to help make sure you speak to the right person. GP reception staff are a vital part of the GP practice team. They are skilled in assisting with triage and treat all information confidentially.

A Guide to your GP practice

Coventry & Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group has produced a useful guide to the different types of appointments and support you can expect to receive at your local practice.

A Guide to your GP practice

What kind of appointments are there? 

Face-to-face: You see a healthcare professional in person.

Video and telephone consultations: You speak with a healthcare professional over the phone or on a video call from your mobile phone, tablet or computer. On video calls you can see your healthcare professional from the comfort of your own home.

E-consultations: Many GP practice websites have forms that you can fill in with your medical concerns. The forms are reviewed by a GP. Advice is given or a member of the practice team calls you back to discuss the issue further. You may need to see a healthcare professional in person following a video or telephone call or an e-consultation. Your healthcare professional will discuss this with you.

Who might I see or speak to?

GP practices, or networks of GP practices, are now home to a range of health professionals who can diagnose and treat you. If it is most appropriate for you to see a doctor, you will be offered an appointment with a GP. However, a GP is not always the best person for you to see.

In addition to your doctor, there may also be a clinical pharmacist, physiotherapist or a health and wellbeing coach. There are also social prescribers, who can signpost you to a range of support services in your local community. The different roles are experts in different areas, which helps ensure you are seen by the person best suited to your needs.

What happens if I need GP services outside of practice opening times? 

To make it easier to access GP services, practices can offer appointments in the evenings and at weekends at times to suit you. We call this our extended access service. Extended access appointments take place at ‘hub’ practices, so whilst you may not always see your usual GP at your usual practice, you will see an appropriate clinician at a place local to you. To make an extended access appointment, just contact your practice in the usual way. Outside normal surgery hours you can still phone your GP practice, but you’ll usually be directed to an out-of-hours service and phone number. You can also call 111 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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