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Booking Appointment FAQs

As per NHS guidance and in response to the COVID19 pandemic, Central Surgery now operates a “Total Triage System” for medical and nurse practitioner appointments. The following is an explanation of what to do if you think you might need a medical appointment:-

Do I really need a surgery appointment or could my problem be sorted in a different way?

Like all practices we encourage self-care whenever possible. To support you with this there are lots of valuable resources that are readily available. These include:-

  • The practice website which includes information on how to manage many common ailments like sickness and diarrhoea, coughs and colds etc. The website address is .

  • NHS online . This site has lots of information about medical conditions and how medicines work.

  • NHS 111. This health advice service is available by telephone and by going online to .

  • Using one of the local pharmacies. As well as dispensing medications the local pharmacies can advise about your medication and assess minor ailments. If you don’t normally pay for your prescriptions they can provide you with minor ailment treatments at no charge. A list of minor ailments that they can help with can be found  at

  • Using our online consultation option-this can be accessed via the surgery’s website It can help us to answer simple questions and manage simple problems such as issues with prescriptions and referrals. This is a nonurgent service and we ask for up to 72 hours to respond though in most cases we respond on the next working day. We do not recommend you use this service if you are seeking medical opinion or diagnosis-use one of the other options instead.

I still need an appointment what do I do next?

Call the practice on 01652 636600 and choose the answer message option that you want.

Please note that to reduce footfall and COVID 19 risks we no longer book appointments in person at the surgery reception so please do not attend to request an appointment. In line with government recommendations we have also suspended the online appointment booking service in order to triage all appointment requests first.

Our receptionists are all trained in care navigation so they will ask you to describe your problem in a few simple words. They will then book you in to see the most appropriate Clinician or manage your request in the best way possible. They may direct you to doctors, nurse practitioners, first contact physiotherapists, nurses, healthcare assistants, pharmacists, opticians etc. You are allowed to decline to tell them what the problem is but this may cause a delay in you seeing the right person. If it will help the Clinician to see a photo of your problem eg a skin rash or a swollen joint the receptionist will arrange this with you so that the photo is ready for the appointment. This can be done through our special NHS approved text messaging service.  Receptionists are bound by our code of confidentiality and will not discuss your symptoms with anyone else.

All medical and nurse practitioner appointments now begin with a telephone consultation but we will still see you face to face if it is needed.

Please ensure that we have the right number to contact you on and that you are available to answer the call. Ideally provide us with your mobile number if this will allow you to be more readily available.

You must answer your phone when called. After 2 calls separated by 5 minutes the Clinician may close the appointment and no longer attempt to reach you.

If the doctor or nurse practitioner feels it will help they offer you the option to convert the consultation into a video call using an NHS approved app. This can be done on a smartphone, tablet or home computer as long as you have a webcam.  Don’t worry if you aren’t good with this sort of technology as the programme is simple to use and the doctor can talk you through it. If you still don’t feel able to use this technology or don’t have access to it then alternative arrangements will be made to assess and support you. If the doctor or nurse practitioner feels you need to be seen face to face they will book the appointment for you. This will almost always be on the same day but can be arranged for other days if that suits you better. All clinicians have some time reserved each day to see patients face to face when it is clinically essential.

What if all the routine appointments are gone and my need is medically urgent?

Don’t worry -If the surgery has run out of appointments on a particular day and you have a medically urgent problem that can’t wait for the next day then you will be offered a call from our Urgent Care Team. If the problem is not medically urgent you should call back the next day when appointments are released again at 8AM.

Our Urgent Care Service operates from 8AM to 6PM Monday to Friday and consists of a highly experienced nurse or nurse practitioner and the duty doctor for the day. If you need help outside of these times and it can’t wait for standard working hours you should call 111 or access 111 online .

Don’t call the practice for emergency care e.g.  if you think you are having a stroke or heart attack-call 999 instead.

How do I book an appointment with a nurse or healthcare assistant?

Please call our receptionist team who clarify what you need and make the appointment for you with the right person. Unfortunately some services such as ear syringing and spirometry are still unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions.

I have exceptional needs or a disability that makes arranging an appointment more difficult. What should I do to get help?

We will apply some flexibility if you have exceptional needs or a disability that makes following our appointment system more difficult. Please speak to our reception team if you feel this should apply to you so that they can try to accommodate your requirements.

Keeping Safe in the Surgery

Please remember to bring a mask or face covering if attending the surgery. Use hand sanitiser upon entry and remember to socially distance in the waiting room.

What if I have Coronavirus Symptoms?

If you have symptoms associated with Coronavirus, including a new continuous cough and a high temperature, you are advised to stay at home for 7 days.  Do not book a GP appointment, or attend your GP practice.  If your symptoms are serious, or get worse, NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service on  that can tell you if you need further medical help and advise you what to do.  Only call 111 direct if you cannot go online, or are advised to do so by the online service.  For the latest COVID-19 advice please visit


Whilst we understand and sympathise when patients arrive late for appointments, each patient that arrives late for an appointment will have a knock on effect for any patients later in the day who have arrived on time for their appointment.

Late arrivals can cause considerable difficulties for staff who have other commitments and indeed patients who later in the day may have to wait longer than expected to see the Clinician. In order to keep some consistency in our management of late arrivals we have taken the decision to ask all patients who arrive more than 10 minutes late for an appointment to rebook the appointment at another time.

Please note that being up to 10 minutes late for an appointment still has a knock on effect for the Clinician and the remainder of patients throughout the day.

If the appointment is about an emergency matter that cannot wait then we will offer an assessment through the Urgent Care Team based at Central Surgery. Due to obvious time constraints the Clinician would then only be able to deal with the emergency matter and would advise you to make a routine appointment to discuss any other routine matters.

We trust and hope you understand why we have had to make a protocol for dealing with this sensitive matter. We fully understand that sometimes late arrivals are beyond the control of the patient. We have contracted staff and locum clinicians who have other commitments in addition to the requirement to provide timely breaks in work. All our staff, locums and other clinicians have to work to a tight schedule please help them by arriving before your appointment whenever possible.

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