Getting The Best Out Of Your Surgery



Patient Access

Pressure in the NHS is not just confined to the hospitals. Surgeries are increasingly coming under pressure to serve an increasing number of patients and are continually turning to technology to try to provide a better service.

However, there are ways in which we, as patients, can help ourselves in this regard. Our surgeries have recently introduced a system called Patient Access which can save you and them precious time by connecting to your GP services on line or from an app on your mobile phone. Patient Access allows you to:

  • Request repeat medication with the request going direct from the GP to your designated pharmacy
  • Message your GP securely from within Patient Access
  • Book appointments with your GP, nurse or clinician
  • Keep track of your medical record including test results, immunisations and allergies

To get connected visit the Surgery with photo ID and they will arrange your registration for Patient Access.

Getting the most out of your contact with the surgery and GP/nurse

Here are some pointers about ways we can improve the experience of booking an appointment and visiting the Surgery:

  1. Allow the Receptionist to help you see the right clinician.

Your surgeries operate a telephone triage system, as do the vast majority of surgeries. This is to try to ensure that  patients’ needs can be met at the right time and by the right member of the primary health care team. To enable this to be done effectively and safely, please provide the Receptionist with as much information as possible.

Whilst your GP has a lot of general knowledge about primary health care, most doctors have their own specialisations and the Receptionist is aware of these. Most of us insist on seeing our “own” GP whatever we think is wrong with us but that is not always the best solution for us. Tell the Receptionist what your symptoms are and allow them to suggest the best approach for you. For example, if your problem is one affecting your skin there is a doctor with a special interest in this area. He/she has done additional training for this and so has a higher level of knowledge meaning they will be best able to help you with your problem. The Practice website lists the areas of special interests for all the GP’s but the Receptionist will be happy to guide you with this.

  1. Get the most out of your time with the doctor

Prioritise before you arrive. What’s the most important thing affecting your health right now? Share it right at the beginning of the appointment and try to provide a summary of why you are there in your first sentence so the GP can focus accordingly. Your appointment time with the GP is 10minutes. The GP is only likely to be able to focus on one problem in this short time so by focusing on this from the start your GP will be able to ensure your problem is dealt with thoroughly. Requests for multiple problems to be considered in a 10 minute appointment can make it very difficult for the GP address any of the problems properly.

  1. Be specific about your symptoms and the reason for you visit

“I have a cough and a fever” says more than “I think I have a chest infection” If you have a headache try to describe where the pain is and if it occurs at any particular time or after a particular activity. Tell the GP what you are expecting from the appointment – Reassurance? A certain medicine? A private referral? Are you are worried you may have something serious? If you don’t mention it you may leave without an answer to your main questions.

  1. Give a Recap

If you are visiting for a follow up on test results give a 10 second precis of why you are there (eg. I’ve been feeling very tired and you organised a blood test to rule out anaemia). You might think the doctor has time to study your notes before you enter the room but this is rarely the case.

5 What happened and when

It helps if you can establish in what order things happened over a period of time. This can help your GP rule out some things and point to others. Do say if you think big life events may be affecting your health.

  1. It’s Ok to suggest treatment ideas.

If you have read about a new drug you would like to try write down some of the specifics you have learned about it and share these with your GP. But remember, many trials are reported in the media at very early stages and long before they are available for NHS use.

  1. Check your understanding

By the end of your appointment you should have agreed a way forward and it is the GP’s job to make sure you understand the potential diagnosis and what, if anything, needs to happen next. It could be helpful if you repeat back what has been agreed as well as the next steps you are going to do. The GP should also make sure you know what to do if things get worse or you get certain symptoms or side effects from your medications.

  1. You can change your GP/see a different GP

If you are not satisfied by what you are told you can ask to see a different GP. You can also complain if you feel this is warranted – think about sharing your concerns first with the GP or Practice Manager as most complaints are easily resolved, they also help the surgery to address any problems and learn from any complaints which have arisen.

  1. Dress for the occasion

The GP only has 10 minutes in which to identify your reason for attending, ask for the relevant information, examine you, and then make a plan with you. Please dress appropriately for the purpose of your appointment or remove additional outer clothing in the waiting room prior to being called in to see the doctor or nurse. Using half of your appointment time in order to undress detracts from the time which can be spent helpfully addressing the reason you are visiting the GP/nurse. If you are having an injection in your arm or blood test make sure your sleeve can be rolled up. If you want the doctor to look at your knee wear loose trousers etc.

Finally – Our Patient Participation Group (PPG)

Our Patient Participation Group (PPG) is growing with twelve representatives including members from Odiham, Old Basing, Long Sutton and Upton Grey. New developments are being introduced in the NHS at quite a rate and we now meet every 2 months to assess the impact of these on our Practice and determine how we can help, particularly with the publicity of new working practices. If you are a patient of the Practice and interested in joining us please speak to David Woodward on 01256 702712 or and he will let you know what is involved.

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