To get an appointment
There are a number of different ways of contacting us to get an appointment.
- Our preferred way – is for you to fill in an engage consult request. This aim is that this is helpful to you – as it guides you through questions about what is wrong with you – and it helps you consider what you have tried already. It also looks for ‘Red Flags’ these are warnings that direct you to call 999 or 111 or seek urgent and emergency help. If you have been given this advice – then we expect you to follow this advice.
Using engage consult is quick, easy and the information is sent to us securely so that we can ensure that we can then direct you to the best person who can help you. This may be any of our wide ranging team. The feedback of this service is overwhelmingly positive.
- For Fit notes/Sick note requests
- – All new Fit/Sick notes requests need to be submitted using Engage Consult form.
- – For continuation of Fit notes use Fit note link on the right-hand side
- For administrative enquiries and requests, please use the Administrative Request – OneContact Patient Portal also available on the ‘I want to’ tab on the taskbar. For a full list of all administrative requests check out Common Admin Queries section.
- Telephone – you can call our main number – 01733 551988. Please be aware that we get 1,000 phones calls each day. Please be kind and polite to our reception staff. They are there to help you and will do there best. As you know Thistlemoor has a diverse team of staff from a multitude of backgrounds – in the same way that our practice population is diverse. If our staff receive any form of abuse or aggression – we will consider this a breach of our zero tolerance policy – please see further information on this below.
Waiting times can be long on the phone – we would suggest that you avoid the busiest times around bank holidays and weekends as this is when there is most pressure on our phone systems.
If you are a healthcare professional then please call 01733 707705.
Guide for appointments
All appointments are for 10 minutes and each member of the family needs a separate appointment. Please remember, clinicians will spend the required time with a patient to ensure that decisions can be made with sufficient information. This can also lead to different waiting times for different clinicians. The clinicians will prioritise the calls on their list – and will try to attend to those that are sickest first. This enables us to escalate care to other settings where necessary.
We have 30 lines and often 4-5 members of staff on switchboard. We face challenges due to some of our patients speaking limited English – which can mean it takes a longer time than normal to help them and also the general demands on our service – which is around 40% higher than before the Coronavirus pandemic. We ask our reception to direct calls rather than resolve problems. The reason for this is simply the length of time it takes to resolve problems on the phone. The longer the receptionist spends with you the longer other patients are waiting for help and support. The more staff we have on the switchboard, the less staff we have to help resolve your problem. If you have a more routine matter we would suggest avoiding Monday and Friday mornings.
Patients who are younger (under 40) or have simpler problems are asked to see our nursing team who are supervised by General Practitioners.
Patients who ask to see a Doctor will be directed towards the Doctor with the shortest waiting time but will be asked questions about their problem to see if another member of the team can help them. This is to ensure the efficient running of the service. Around busy periods like bank holidays or if there is unplanned leave for staff members the practice may reduce the ability for patients to chose the clinician. However, we generally believe that having the ability to be cared for by the same clinician is helpful and will try to facilitate this where clinicians have available appointments.
All appointments will be first screened by telephone first or engage consult. If the clinician feels that you need to be seen you will be booked for an appointment.
When you come to the Practice you will be find the doors open, there will be someone in the greeting position to check what you have come for and help assist you.
You will be informed as to which area you need to be seated in.
If you need to see a doctor in an emergency please ring and let the receptionist know before coming to the medical centre. The medical centre is closed for routine appointments on Thursday afternoons. We do use these times to prioritise pro-active care such as smears, childhood immunisations, medication reviews. If you have an emergency, contact the medical centre for the emergency clinician. Please see the section above – that explains that there are many conditions – which are life-threatening where you would be better cared for in a hospital environment – eg heart attacks, strokes, acute heart failure, meningitis, head injuries.