How Do I Make an Appointment?
To make an appointment please visit our consulting room.
During the our opening times there is full access for face to face and telephone contact with a receptionist.
Appointments are normally available up to a month in advance. Appointment slots are for 15 minutes to discuss a single medical problem. If you intend to discuss several issues you should advise the receptionist who may check with the doctor to see if you need to be allocated a longer appointment slot.
When you telephone the practice to ask for an appointment with a doctor the receptionist will ask you for a brief indication of your problem so that she can, where applicable, direct you to the to most appropriate service to meet your need. If you prefer not to disclose your medical problem with the receptionist, your privacy will be respected. You will then be offered a routine appointment with the GP of your choice. If you need to be seen more quickly, you will be offered an appointment with a doctor within 48 hours. However although every effort will be made to fit you in with your chosen GP they may not be available and you may be offered an appointment with another GP instead.
If you feel you cannot wait and want to be assessed urgently (i.e. the same day), you may be advised that the doctor may call you back to discuss your problem and decide the best course of action.
Practice Nurse Appointments
Where you want an appointment with the practice nurse you should advise the receptionist of the reason (e.g., blood pressure check, diabetic review, etc) so that she can allocate the appropriate time for your appointment. For example, a blood pressure check usually takes 5 minutes, however, an interim diabetic review normally takes 20 minutes whilst a full review can take up to 30 minutes.
Cancelling an Appointment
If for any reason you are unable to keep your appointment or no longer need it, please let us know as soon as possible so that it can be reallocated. Please remember that there is always a shortage of appointments and when you fail to attend (DNA) you have prevented someone else from being seen in your place. Patients who repeatedly fail to attend appointments may be asked to find an alternative GP.
Whilst we make every effort to keep to appointment times, this is not always possible. If we keep you waiting we apologise in advance. If you keep us waiting we cannot guarantee that you will be seen.
Unfortunately, a number of patients persistently book appointments and then fail to attend without cancelling. This behaviour denies other patients access to the doctors. Persistent abusers may be asked to find an alternative GP.
Why does the Doctor sometimes run late?
Unlike most surgeries, we offer longer (15 minute) appointments. We try to run to time, but, some patients need longer causing surgeries to run late. As a result patients may be kept waiting. If surgery is running late please be patient. Next time it may be you who needs extra time with the doctor.
What if I am late for my appointment?
As a general rule, if you are more than 5 minutes late for your appointment please expect to re-book it. If you are up to 5 minutes late you may be seen for 10 minutes only. Late arrivals for appointments over the day can result in the surgeries running very late and causes inconvenience to others.
We wish to offer appointments that meet your medical needs as far as possible, bearing in mind our need to serve all our other patients too. We book appointments at 15 minute intervals so that we have sufficient time to evaluate the problem and agree a management plan together.
In order that our staff may arrange the right service for you they will ask you to outline the nature of your problem.
You can book appointments up to 4 weeks in advance with the GP of your choice, or the nurse.
If your need is urgent we will offer you an appointment on our next working day. This will often be for conditions that:
- are severe
- are persisting or getting worse despite [several days] medication from the pharmacist
- have not previously cleared up within a few days
Emergency (same-day) appointments
We will see the following patients on the same day if asked to do so:
- Children under age 5
- Women with problems in pregnancy
- Terminally ill patients
If you believe you need to be assessed on the same day the staff will take your details, speak to a doctor, and phone you back.
Late night opening
We open later on Monday evenings and offer an extra GP surgery 18:30 – 19:30 and an extra practice nurse surgery 18:30 – 19:45. Please note: these appointments are for routine problems only and are provided for patients who are unable to get to the practice during the day because of their work or caring commitments. If you need to see a GP urgently after 18:30 please see our advice on how to access out of hours services.
Continuity of care
We want to offer continued care by the same doctor whenever possible. This should allow you normally to see the doctor who knows you best.
Please mention this to the receptionist whenever you make an appointment.
Appointments with a Midwife
Your community midwife is Liesl Lowe who can be contacted through the Community Midwives’ office on 0151 430 1492.
Your health visitor is Anne Radice who can be contacted at Haydock Health Centre on 01744 624321.
The ante-natal clinic is held from 09:00 every Tuesday morning. Our midwife runs the clinic and works closely with the doctors to provide quality antenatal and postnatal care. The midwife sees patients from approximately 8 weeks pregnant.
If you suspect you are pregnant
Home pregnancy kits are just as accurate as a urine sample sent to the hospital laboratory and you find out much more quickly. If you have a positive pregnancy test you need to let us know as soon as possible so that we can provide you with an information leaflet about your Antenatal and Postnatal care. We will also ask you to complete a simple form which we will use to update your medical record. This is particularly important if you are taking regular prescribed medication as the doctor may need to make adjustments to your medicines.
Medicines in pregnancy
Some medicines, including common painkillers, can harm your baby’s health. Other medicines are safe, such as medication to treat long-term conditions like asthma, overactive thyroid, underactive thyroid, diabetes and epilepsy.
To be sure a medicine is safe in pregnancy: talk to your doctor immediately if you take regular medication, ideally before you start trying for a baby or as soon as you find out you are pregnant. If you’re taking regular medication, don’t stop taking it without consulting your doctor. Make sure your doctor, dentist or other healthcare professional knows you’re pregnant before they prescribe anything or give you treatment use as few over-the-counter medicines as possible.
Medicines and treatments that are usually safe include:
- most antibiotics
- dental treatments, including local anaesthetics
- some types of vaccinations, including tetanus
- flu nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
However, always check with your midwife, doctor or pharmacist first.
You should avoid alcohol, stop smoking and take a Folic acid supplement. For more information please see the information provided by nhs.uk.
If you would like help to stop smoking please make an appointment with a GP to discuss the Smoking Cessation Services and treatment options.
Why do I need Folic Acid?
Folic acid is important for pregnancy as it can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. If you didn’t take folic acid before you conceived, you should start as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. You should take a 400 microgram folic acid tablet every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you are 12 weeks pregnant. It is cheaper to purchase this over the counter at the pharmacy than to obtain a prescription.
For further information about ante-natal and post-natal services please see our Clinics and Services page.
Health Visitor Appointments
The Health Visitors can offer advice on caring for children, special needs, benefits, relationship problems and counselling relating to children aged 0 – 19. Child Development checks are also carried out at regular intervals.
The practice holds a well-baby clinic on Monday afternoons between 13:30-15:00. This is held on the 1st floor of the building.
As of 9th March 2015 the babies 6 week post natal check will be performed by Dr Parr. This is an appointment only service. Please contact the surgery to arrange an appointment.
If you have queries regarding bed wetting, constipation, temper tantrums, etc., you can contact your health visitors to discuss this on 01744 624321.
For more information on the role of the health visitor and child development please see our Clinics and Services page.
Phlebotomist (Blood-taking nurse)
Most patients attend the drop in ‘Community Phlebotomy Clinic’ which is held on Monday mornings 09:00 – 10:30 in the health centre upstairs. You do not need an appointment or need to be registered as a patient of Garswood Surgery to attend this clinic.
Our Health Care Assistant, Julie, also offers an in-house phlebotomy service, by appointment only. This service is exclusive to our own patients, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
Please ask at reception about this or other facilities which are available for taking bloods (e.g. St Helens Walk in Centre 07:00 – 09:00).
Blood Pressure Monitoring by Health Care Assistant
This service is not routinely available for patients on medication for high blood pressure.
Our Health Care Assistant is able to take your blood pressure, although she is not trained to discuss your blood pressure reading with you. She acts on the readings they take within a strict protocol devised by the GPs. Any follow-up action that may be needed is dealt with by the GP or nurse.
The reception staff will be able to tell you when your next blood pressure check is due.
You do not routinely need to see a doctor to have a blood pressure check.
The following patients are eligible to have a blood pressure check conducted by the healthcare assistant:
- Over 16, not receiving any regular medication
- Known hypertensive patients who have been referred by the GP or practice nurse
- Patients who need regular blood pressure monitoring who have been referred by the GP or practice nurse.
What happens when you Do Not Attend (DNA) your appointment at the Practice
The Practice have a strict policy to tackle the issue of appointments that are called ‘DNA’S’. These are appointment slots that are pre-booked by patients and then that patient fails to attend, without letting the Practice know. As I am sure you are aware, appointments are scarce within the whole of General Practice, as we are busier than we have ever been before. This is the reason that sometimes it can be a wait for an appointment. Therefore when we have a patient that does not attend, it is extremely frustrating for the Practice, as someone else could have been given that appointment. We always ask that you let us know if you cannot make an appointment. We have lots of different ways that you can do this;
- Via our online form
- in person – by calling at the reception desk, which is open, Monday to Friday, from 8:00 to 18:30 (19:30 on Mondays)
- telephone – by contacting the Practice on 01744 621670
- by responding to an appointment reminder text message with the word ‘CANCEL’
- via the on-line Patient Access system
We also understand that it is easy to forget, as life is so busy nowadays. We therefore have the following protocol;
- If there is a missed appointment in the previous month and less than 3 DNAs recorded in the last year no action required
- If there is a missed appointment in the previous month and 2 other DNAs have been recorded in the last year the patient is sent a warning letter to inform them that their repeated failures to attend appointments are considered an abuse of the service and that any further missed appointment may result in us asking them to find an alternative GP.
If a patient DNAs on another occasion within 12 months of the issued of the warning letter, the case will be discussed at the next partner’s meeting. So please always let us know when you wont be able to make your appointment.
Please Cancel, Don’t DNA.