Appointments

We offer a range of face to face appointments – some of these are “pre-bookable” and others only available “on the day”.

We may also offer you, or you may prefer to request: 
 

  • An appointment with our Nurse Practitioner or Practice Paramedic who can help with minor illness/minor injuries, e.g. sore throats, chest and urinary infections.
     

  • An Appointment with our Clinical Pharmacist who can support your with concerns about blood pressure, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, anticoagulation, learning disabilities health checks, dementia health checks as well as complex medication concerns. 
     

  • To talk to a Doctor or Nurse on the telephone for help and advice in a "pre-bookable" slot.
     

  • If you wish to discuss your issues with a specific doctor our Patient Advisors are happy to advise you of your Doctor’s availability.
     

  • We operate a triage process for urgent calls and when there are no further appointments available on the day. The duty health care professional will contact you to assess your symptoms further and discuss the best course of action. 

To help us make your appointment as quickly as possible please consider the following:

  • Let us know if more than one person in the family needs to be seen.
     

  • Tell us if you want someone to accompany you during an examination or a private room to discuss any matters. Remember that the results of tests can only be given to the patient.

You can help us by:
 

  • Being on time for your appointment
     

  • Letting us know if you need to cancel
     

  • Calling for a home visit or urgent appointment before 11am
     

  • Ringing for prescription queries after 11am (please note we do not take repeat prescription requests over the phone). Click here to request a repeat prescription online.
     

  • Ringing for the results of tests after 11am. Our Patient Advisors will be able to let you know whether the test is back and whether a health care professional has advised any action but they will not be able to provide details of result.

Early Morning and Evening appointments

We currently offer early morning appointments at the Christchurch Site and evening surgeries at the Willow Site.

Weekend Surgeries

The Christchurch site offers a 7 day service and has done since May 2017, as part of the NHS Improved Access initiative.

 

We offer a limited number of appointments on both Saturday and Sunday mornings.

 

These appointments are for urgent healthcare needs however a few are pre-bookable online 24 hours before hand. 

Our phone systems do not operate at the weekend and therefore if you need an urgent (immediately necessary) appointment then we advise you to come to the surgery as early as possible. We open from 08.30am - 11.45am at the weekends. 

To support the resilience and wellbeing of the team providing you this service, in addition to their weekday commitment, once these appointments have been filled we will guide you to contact NHS111.

 

By offering these urgent healthcare appointments we hope to support the pressure on the wider health system including the Out of Hours Service and A&E.

Missed Appointments

Due to an increase in missed appointments, Downend Health Group has introduced a Did Not Attend (DNA) Policy.  A DNA occurs when an individual does not attend a booked appointment slot or fails to make contact with the practice in advance to cancel.  The DNA Policy is time specific to a 12 month period during which time the individual will receive up to 3 official warnings. The Patient Assistant Team will inform the Executive Managers should the maximum number of warnings be reached. The decision to remove an individual from the practice will be at the discretion of the Executive Managers and in conjunction with the GP partners.   

 

Patients not attending appointments, or not giving advance warning of an appointment cancellation, can have a great impact on the day to day running of the practice. The effects include:-

 

  • An increase in the waiting time for appointments

  • Frustration for both patients and staff

  • A waste of NHS resources

  • A potential risk to the health of the patient

 

We display details of our DNA policy on the practice website and in the reception areas at both Christchurch and Willow Surgery (see below).

 

Downend Health Group recognise that at times, there may be extenuating circumstances for missed appointments.   In addition, individuals who have a chronic condition, learning disability or are a carer for another individual, may have exceptional reasons for failing to attend an appointment. In such instances the Patient Assistant will endeavour to contact you by telephone to ascertain the reason for the DNA and to ensure that your health is not at risk. If considered necessary the Patient Assistant will re-arrange another appointment on your behalf.

 

For a missed appointment we follow a designated procedure:

 

  • The Patient Assistant will check the previous days’ diary and identify patients that have failed to attend their appointment

  • Providing the identified individual(s) have no identifiable extenuating reasons or chronic health conditions then a first informal warning letter is sent. A notification and copy of this letter will be added to the individuals medical record.

  • Should the individual fail to attend a second appointment then a second warning letter is sent and the above procedure is followed again.

  • A ‘Getting Started to Online Services’ leaflet is sent with every letter to encourage users to sign up to online access and self- manage the booking and cancellation of appointments. A copy of this leaflet can be found by clicking this link

  • Should a third failed to attend appointment occur, a third warning letter will be sent and the previous procedure repeated. At this time, the Patient Assistant Lead will inform the Executive Managers who will draw the matter to the attention of the GP partners for further review.

  • Should the GP Partners feel that the practice/patient relationship has been compromised due to failure to attend three appointments within the agreed twelve month period, the individual will be removed from the practice list. The Primary Care Trust will also be notified. 

  • Should the GP Partners feel there are exceptional reasons for the individual to stay with the practice then a letter will be sent informing them of the decision.

Our posters read: 

 

HAVE YOU MISSED AN APPOINTMENT RECENTLY?

 

Clinical appointments at this practice are in great demand.  However, over recent years we have noticed a significant increase in the number of face to face appointments lost due to non- attendance.

 

We recognise that there will, at times, be valid reasons for non-attendance.  However, by cancelling appointments you are unable to attend, or no longer require, we are able to offer those to patients who do require our much needed services. 

 

To assist you in cancelling your appointment quickly and efficiently the following methods are available to help you:
 

  • A telephone cancellation line.  Avoid our busy switchboard, by pressing option 2 when calling the Practice.  You will be able to leave a recorded message advising our Patient Assistant Team to cancel appointments on your behalf 

  • A text messaging service.  This service provides you with appointment reminders and the opportunity to respond ‘cancel’ should that appointment, no longer be required

  • Online Patient Access.  This enables patients, registered for this service, the opportunity to cancel appointments online.  A member of our Patient Assistant Team can assist you with registering for this service should you consider this helpful

 

Please help us to support your fellow patients by advising us, at least an hour in advance, if you are unable to attend or no longer require your appointment.   

 

To enable us to approach missed appointments in a consistent way, Downend Health Group now operate a ‘Did Not Attend Policy’. 

 

We will contact you to provide notification of a missed appointment.  In cases of multiple frequent missed appointments we may discuss whether another service provider might be more appropriate for your needs.

 

WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR CO-OPERATION