How to Access the Best Service for You

“Red Flag” Symptoms Dial 999

A “Red Flag” is a worrying symptom requiring urgent medical attention, for example, sudden onset of pain and feeling unwell, sudden onset chest pain, children under 2 with a high temperature and a non-blanching rash, a possible stroke (think FAST – Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, Time to call emergency services), a head wound which will not stop bleeding, sudden onset abdominal pain, sudden shortness of breath.  The main focus is timing.  Dial 999 for emergency assistance.

Triage System

We offer our patients phone access to a GP for same day, medically urgent issues.  To protect your health, we want to minimise the time anybody spends in the waiting room, so please telephone from home, rather than coming to the Practice, as soon as you are aware of the problem, and wait there for the triage doctor to call you back. Please note that we do not offer a “walk-in” service. When phoning our reception, please give your name, date of birth, phone number for contact and a brief outline of what the problem is.  This helps the triage doctor assess the urgency of your call. The receptionist may be able to signpost you to a more appropriate service.  The triage doctor will usually call you back within the hour, and often sooner.  Please don’t wait until the end of the day to call us (we hand over to the NHS 111 service at 6.30 p.m. each week day).  We are closed on Bank Holidays and weekends so you should contact the NHS 111 service at this time, or dial 999 at any time, if you have a medical emergency.

“Walk-In” Patients

We are noticing an increasing number of “walk-ins”, ie those patients who present in the surgery, rather than phone us, asking to see a doctor with what they assess is a medically urgent problem that needs managing today.  If your problem is medically urgent for today, it is the best use of your time and our doctors if you remain at home and call us via our triage system.  The triage doctor might not be at the site that you walk into. Please note that we are not a “Walk-in” Centre.  If you are in doubt about what service you require for your medically urgent problem, our team can advise you by phone, which may save you an unnecessary visit to the surgery.

Minor Injury Units

Many patients go to Accident and Emergency Departments (A&E) when they could be treated just as well, and probably quicker, at a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU). X-Ray facilities are available at the Minor Injury Units at certain times. You don’t need an appointment to visit a Minor Injuries Unit.  They are run by a highly qualified team of nurse practitioners, who have a lot of experience and expertise in the treatment of minor injuries. You can also phone NHS 111 to seek advice and/or pre-book an appointment with one of the Minor Injury Units.  What can MIUs treat?

  • Sprains and strains
  • Minor head injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Insect and animal bites
  • Traumatic wound infections
  • Minor eye injuries
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Injuries to the back, shoulder & chest

Our local Minor Injury Units are:

  • Henley – Townlands Hospital – telephone 01865 903755
  • Thatcham – West Berkshire Community Hospital – telephone 01635 273508
  • Abingdon – Abingdon Community Hospital – telephone 01865 903476

To be certain of their opening hours, it is wise to check online or call before you visit. See our website for further details about MIUs in our locality. There is also a First Aid Unit (FAU) at Wallingford Community Hospital (but no X-Ray facilities).  Please call ahead of visiting to ensure it is open and to check it is the most appropriate place to attend in light of your injury or medical problem – 01865 903471.

e-Consults

You can now take advantage of our new and exciting e-Consult service via our website. This is for routine, non-urgent medical issues.  You will be asked to complete a form which will help the doctor assess your medical problem and give you safe and prompt advice.  You can expect to receive a response from your GP (or their buddy doctor), within 48 hours (Monday to Friday) or often sooner.  Try it out and see what an excellent service this is.  We have already received very positive feedback from patients who have accessed our e-Consult service.

Telephone Consultations

You can ask our reception team to book a telephone consultation with your usual GP for an issue that can be managed over the phone in a 5 minute appointment.  You will be given an approximate time that your GP will phone you.  Please have your phone to hand at this time, but note that the GP might call you slightly later if they have had a very busy and over-running surgery.

Evening and Weekend Appointments

We offer a wide range of evening and weekend appointments with doctors, nurses and our HCAs.  These are aimed primarily at our patients who may find it difficult to attend during the day-time, eg if they have work or carer commitments that make this difficult.

Queries or Problems Relating to Secondary Care (eg Royal Berks Hospital)

If you have not heard back about the result of an investigation, eg a scan, which was requested by your secondary care consultant, or the outcome of your visit to them, please contact the hospital rather than coming back to the Practice. We do not get the results before you do.

Online Access

Please make sure that you have signed up for online access at the Practice.  This will enable you to book and cancel appointments, see your blood results, order your repeat medication and access other helpful information from your medical record.

Our Website

Please make good use of our website.  It has lots of useful self-care information and advice on how to access services.  You can even request a sick note via our website which may save you a visit or phone call to the surgery.

Our Texting Services

If we have your mobile phone number on record (unfortunately, you cannot use our texting services if you share a phone number with your partner or other family member), we will text you with a reminder of your appointment with us.  We can now also use our new accuRx system to send you text messages, for example, to let you know that your referral information is ready for collection at the surgery, or a message from your doctor regarding results of your recent investigations.  Please note, however, that this is a non-reply service.  If you have a query relating to the message you have received, please telephone us or send a message via the website or to our generic email address which is gandw.admin@nhs.net.

Some of our routine appointments are released on a daily basis for a week ahead.  These are available online or by calling either of our surgeries – Goring 01491 872372 or Woodcote Surgery 680686.

As you can see, there are lots of exciting developments happening at the Practice. Please help us to help you by using the most appropriate and safest method of getting medical help and advice from our team.  Do check that we have your correct mobile phone number on your medical record. Just ask our team about this next time you contact or visit us, or send in an update via our website.

Julia Beasley, Practice Manager, October 2019