Doctor and Nurse Consultant care
We take turns in being duty clinician. Our availability has made us victims of our own success. A duty clinician may face over 120 patient contacts each day. Before asking to speak with a nurse or GP, please consider if you could find the same information or advice elsewhere, for example the NHS Choices website, NHS111, your local pharmacy, dentist or optician.
If you are low, anxious or stressed, please contact Lincolnshire’s Mental Health Helpline on 0800 001 4331 in the first instance.
It is important that you telephone the Surgery early in the day if you help, in order that we can plan patient care for the day. Don’t wait until you’ve got home from work!
Our model of ‘total triage’ for new contacts has substantially reduced waits for appointments and allowed us to lengthen face-to-face contacts for complex problems. It has cut the number of missed appointments with our doctors and nurse consultant.
When you telephone the practice, our Care Navigator will ask you your date of birth then name in order to identify you. If you need advice or care from a doctor or nurse consultant, they need a brief description of your problem to ensure that we can prioritise urgent care. The information is confidential to us and to you. ‘Personal’ demotes you to the bottom of the list! The practice will usually call you back within 2 hours, or before 6.30pm. In return we ask that you are available to take our call – by a landline, with mobile reception, not engaged and not unavailable at work. If we can’t contact you, you have effectively missed your appointment, and we may not have the capacity to contact you again that day. The duty clinician can’t speak to everyone in person. They may send a message in reply to some straightforward contacts.
Telephone, online and video consultations play an increasing role in GP and nurse care. They aren’t suitable for a lot of medical problems, but are safe, convenient for patients and clinicians, and an effective use of time when used correctly. You may be asked to send a photo of your problem from your mobile phone to help the doctor or nurse. The duty clinician will arrange a face-to-face appointment if your problem cannot be safely dealt with in a ‘remote’ consultation.
If you and the doctor or nurse agree that you have a serious health problem that prevents you coming to surgery, they may offer a home visit. They may suggest a more appropriate health care provider.
If you are calling because one of our doctors or nurses asked you to, please let the Care Navigator know. Where continuity of your care is important, we will try to ensure the same clinician returns your call. Please understand that many of our staff cram a week’s into three or four days, and that urgent problems will need to be assessed by our duty clinician.
Surgery appointments with our GPs and nurse consultant are 15 minutes long. Unlike a few other GP practices, we don’t insist on ‘one appointment, one problem’. We do request that you are mindful of your appointment length out of consideration to other patients. Please organise what you want to discuss. Begin with the most important problem. If we can’t cover everything in a single visit, then less urgent matters can safely be left to a second appointment to give them the airing they deserve.
If you don’t intend to keep a booked face-to-face appointment, please phone or email us in good time, in order that another patient can make use of it.