Access to our Services

We know it is getting very hard to access GP services across the UK. We are working beyond capacity, but we can improve how you can access our services to get the care you need.

From December 4th, we are implementing improvements to our appointment system.  This change is a result of your valuable feedback.  It aligns with national guidance on enhancing appointment availability, ensuring that you receive the care you need when you need it safely and efficiently.

What's Changing?

  • Appointment Options: In due course, you’ll be guided through a new phone system when you call our Surgery.  By selecting the reason for your call, our care navigators will direct you to the most appropriate care option.  This will ensure you receive the right care in the right place and time. For now, your call will be answered directly by a Care Navigator.
  • Expanded Care Team: Beyond GPs, you may also be booked with a member of our team of healthcare professionals, including Physician Associate and clinical pharmacists, mental health practitioners, and paramedics in our care network.  We’re all here to provide comprehensive care tailored to your needs.
  • Alternative Services: We aim to connect you with the most suitable care.  Depending on your needs, you might be directed to local pharmacies, eye units, minor injury units, or emergency services (dial 999) for urgent situations.

Why the Change?

Verwood Surgery has 7 GPs (a mixture of part-time and full-time), a Physician Associate, 4 nurses, 3 Health Care Assistants, 12 medical receptionists and secretaries, and 3 administrators to support over 8,000 patients.

Verwood Surgery receives over 1,100 phone calls and issues more than 1,000 repeat prescriptions in a typical week.  In addition, we  provide around 1,600 consultations including face to face, telephone and econsults.  The new system aims to address a situation where patients wait for up to 4 weeks to see a GP, creating greater demand for urgent appointments (as patients’ conditions worsened during the time they had to wait for a routine appointment to come around. This has meant moving doctors to deal with urgent demand leaving still fewer regular appointments).

Changing our system will allow people to access medical support when needed and not wait to discuss their concerns with a GP.

How will the new System work?

  • When the phone system is changed (exact date to be confirmed), you will be asked to select an option for the reason for the call on the phone system.
  • You will be directed to the appropriate care navigator who will ask you about the reasons for the appointment to ensure you get the right care in the right place at the right time.
  • If you need to see a GP, there are options for urgent on-the-day appointments, short notice appointments and also routine appointments.
  • Patients may also be booked in with other surgery staff trained to help with their problem, such as our Primary Care Network clinical pharmacist, mental health practitioner, paramedics or physician associate.
  • They may also be directed to other, more appropriate services for their problem, such as the local pharmacies, eye unit, minor injury unit and 999/emergency services.

The practice will work within national guidelines on the number of urgent appointments offered each day to ensure patient safety. 

Our phone lines are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.

However, we ask that you use our online options for routine requests wherever possible.  Doing so will assist us by keeping our phone lines free for those who need urgent medical help or cannot access online sources of information.

What if I need urgent care?

We will offer on-the-day appointments and short-notice options for those requiring urgent attention.  If you need a same-day assessment or a home visit, please contact us by 11 a.m. to ensure prompt assistance.

We would remind patients that Home Visits are offered to housebound patients or those with a clinical condition that prevents them from attending the practice.  Please do not request a home visit unless the patient is genuinely too ill to visit the Surgery.  Most children can safely be brought to the Surgery by car, taxi or pushchair. 

What if I want to know about my Test results?

If you’re expecting results, please call after 2 p.m. for updates.  We encourage you to register to use the National Online GP Services, enabling you to view your test results 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through your SystmOnline account or the NHS App.

Do you need a routine check-up or have non-urgent concerns?

Wherever possible, for routine appointment requests, please use our online options.  Doing so will assist us by keeping our phone lines free for those who need urgent medical help or cannot access online sources of information.  In addition to our SystmOnline GP services systems to book appointments or order repeat prescriptions, we also offer patients the ability to use the eConsult system, which is available during the busy morning period between 8.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m.

eConsult System

These are not suitable for emergency medical problems but can be used for simple routine medical queries, administrative issues or to update your GP about your medical condition. If you know you need to speak to a professional or to be examined, please phone the surgery for an appointment. You should usually expect a response online.

Please use eConsult for:

  • sick certification once you have self-certified for 7 days
  • submitting blood pressures, weights and other measurements your GP has asked for
  • contraception and HRT medication reviews
  • simple medication reviews
  • routine medical queries about a non-urgent condition when you do not think you need to speak to the GP
  • some minor ailments such as urinary infection, that are best dealt with promptly but can be addressed by a few directed questions
  • to update your GP about an ongoing issue
  • for information about blood results
  • administrative requests

How do I register to use Online Services?

From November 2023 all our patients who are over 16 are able to access notes and health records online.  This includes notes from GP surgery appointments, test results, medications, and letters we receive from hospitals. These can be viewed online via the NHS App, NHS website, SystmOnline or the Airmid app. 

If you have any queries, please call in to our reception, and our staff will be happy to help. 

We’re here to address your health needs promptly and efficiently.  However you choose to contact us, our dedicated medical team will respond based on your unique circumstances.

If you need help with your appointment

When requesting care, please tell us:

  • if you need an interpreter
  • if you would like a chaperone to accompany you
  • if you have any other access or communication needs

How do I get the help I need when the Surgery is closed?

 Our website is available for advice and guidance with additional online services being added soon.  However, if you have an urgent medical problem and are unsure what to do, NHS 111 can help.  Go online to 111.nhs.uk or call 111.

For life-threatening emergencies, dial 999

Adjusting to the new System

We understand that change can be an adjustment for both patients and staff.  We appreciate your patience as we adapt to this new and improved system.  Our primary aim is to provide a better service for everyone, and we believe these enhancements will lead to more accessible and efficient healthcare for our community.

Your health is our priority, and we look forward to continuing to serve you with the highest standard of care.

Published: Dec 1, 2023