Following recent feedback received, we appreciate that it is not always transparent as to how our appointment system is currently structured (and why) so thought an outline would be useful.
We remain “open” to support your healthcare needs. We have enhanced infection prevention measures in place including a buzzer entry system to the surgery, to reduce footfall into the premises and therefore the risk of cross infection of potentially vulnerable patients and of course staff.
We insist that all visitors into the surgery wear a face covering (we can provide a mask if needed) irrespective of the current legislation. If you are unable to wear one, we can make special arrangements for a Visor and the clinician you are seeing wearing enhanced Personal Protective Equipment.
You will appreciate that doctors and all the staff are no different in that they get “pinged” by track & trace, need to isolate themselves, or look after children and occasionally catch Covid or other infections doing the rounds. This causes a shortage in planned resources at a time when demand is higher that we have ever experienced.
In common with most other practices, we are operating a “book on the day” system in case a particular GP cannot work as planned. Appointments become available for the day as the telephone lines open at 08:30….. until they are fully booked. There are a few appointments available to book ahead but at present, for the reasons above, these are limited.
Our telephone system allows for queuing in order of call time and a (just improved) call back system avoids you having to be on hold for an extended period. Please be patient as we work through the queue – we will get to you.
Virtually all GP appointments are booked for a telephone discussion first but, please be reassured that if you and the doctor agree that a face-to-face appointment is needed, perhaps to examine you, they will book this in for you, usually later that same day. This makes the most efficient use of the time available whilst still being flexible to what the patient needs.
When the routine appointments for the day are booked, we usually add a message to the telephone system to advise this fact and asking you to call the next working day unless you are calling about:
A child under 16,
or a medical emergency such as:
- Crushing chest or, other unbearable pain,
- Loss of consciousness,
- Active bleeding,
- Possible stroke,
- Difficulty breathing,
- An allergic reaction including facial, mouth or tongue swelling, or
- An overdose of medication or poisoning,
in which case the doctors ask the Reception staff to follow a documented protocol outlining how to help you in the safest way. This might be for a call back or in some circumstances, advising you to call 999 or go to the Emergency Department.
Any system we devise will not meet the needs of all patients, at all times, and we recognise that some people struggle to call at 8.30 for a variety of reasons. If this is the case, you can either request an appointment or for help and advice using the online triage system* via our website
If you have consistently struggled to get an appointment to suit your needs and need help, please email stoccg.marplemedicalpractice:nhs.net or ask to speak to the Practice or Assistant Practice Manager. We can in limited circumstances unlock appointments on days where we have sufficient capacity to help you.
Nurse pre-booked appointments are a mix of telephone where reviews can be done remotely or face to face where this is required. We are monitoring peoples Medication Review Dates and moving them on where safe to do so please don’t worry if you haven’t heard. We are still ensuring that appropriate tests are in place where prescribing safely dictates this.
* the online triage system is a good tool that can be used to communicate with us but also to seek reliable / accredited advice about medical conditions symptoms and treatment. It is available 24 hours a day (Closed Friday 18:00 – Monday 08:30 & Bank Holidays)
NHS 111 is available 24/7 free phone by calling 111 or online here