How to make best use of the surgery
Please see the Coronavirus page for updates on our service.
Thank you for choosing the Practice to look after you and your family. We will try our best to provide a good service to you, and in return, we request you keep all appointments and attend for checks and immunisation appointments for your family and yourself. Where possible we would appreciate you attending our morning surgeries if you have a sudden illness. This information is available in English, Polish and Lithuanian as attachments below. Please also see our Patient Charter for more details.
There are also appointments available at the City Care Centre hub and the Parnwell Surge Hub. If you would like a telephone or video consultation in the evening or weekend you can book an appointment yourself with the Greater Peterborough Network Hub service by clicking the link and selecting book appointment at the top. This is for a routine new problem only. Many of our Doctors contribute to this workforce in the evenings and on weekends.
Protecting Our Surgeries
We aim to try and have enough appointments for all patients who want to ask us about routine care in the morning. This is no mean feat and depending on demand usually by 11am all routine appointments may be gone. We track the number of patients we help on a daily basis and this has increased by 40% over the last 2 years.
Unfortunately - appointments are not unlimited - but we will do our best to meet your needs. If you problems are realtively straight forward or minor we do ask that you consider other services, community pharmacies can help people with many conditions and ailments - these include: aches and pains, sore throat, coughs and colds, flu, earache, cystitis, hayfever, red eyes.
Please see NHS advice here: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/prescriptions-and-pharmacies/pharmacies/how-your-pharmacy-can-help/
There are special services for eye problems that are then to help you when you have minor eye problems, details of these services are here:
We have a huge medical workforce - Doctors, Trainee Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, Paramedics as well as health coaches and physiotherapists to help you, but even with this huge team appointments will get to a point where their appointments are full up and on that day we can only then deal with emergencies. We need to protect appointments on future days - as if we fill these appointments up - then this will only create a problem on future days. The exception to this is procedures - such as blood tets, cervical cytology (smears), dressings and injections (childhood, b12 etc) - which can be booked in advance, hopefully to your convenience. We also need to ensure we have enough medical support for proactive care such as chronic disease checks, changes to medications, supporting people to come off medication. The art of General Practice is the balance between reactive care and proactive care.
The NHS pays for special dental services to help for you and your family. We are getting a lot of enquiries about dental problems. As a service we are not able to help you with dental problems, you are best seeing a professional who has been trained in dental problems. If you contact us with a dental problem you will be signposted to other services. If you have a dentist - please contact your own dentist about this problem. If you don't have a dentist you can contact the emergency dentist at Midgate on 0300 555 6667, option 1, please contact them as close to 8am as possible, if you have the ability to travel they also have branches in Huntingdon and Cambridge.
If you still need help you can contact 111 and they can sign post you to dental services.
Direct to hospital
There are a group of problems that are much better treated in a hospital. This is because the hospital has a better degree of monitoring, has access to same day blood tests and results, has the ability to scan and has access to different routes of treatment - such as medication intraveneously, oxygen driven medications (such as nebulisers) and clot busting medications.
If you have given us a history (an account) of symptoms that fit with these issues you may be directed straight to hospital - this is for your own safety and we expect you to follow our advice. Over the years - we have helped many patients in extreme situations but getting patients to the right place at the right time is key - minutes count when we are dealing with life-threatening problems.
Community based services
There are a number of community based services available to support you. There are teams for patients with chronic lung conditions - like COPD where if you are having a flare we can organise a team to come to your house to assess you. There is the JET team (joint emergency team) who can also come to see you and see if this enables you to stay in your homes and out of hospital. If the information you give us suggests that you may benefit from these community teams we may organise these teams to help and support you in the first instance.
To get an appointment
There are a number of different ways of contacting us to get an appointment.
Our prefered 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.
Engage consult is available on the home page of our website
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 paitents 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 surgery. The surgery 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 surgery for the emergency clinician. Please see the section above - that explains that there are many conditions - which are lifethreatening where you would be better cared for in a hospital environment - eg heart attacks, strokes, acute heart failure, meningitis, head injuries.
The Practice has the ability to send you information in many formats that allows you to receive information but also allows you to text information back to us! This can be a really convenient and efficient way for communication to happen and can help provide a level of re-assurance about your test results or encouragement about your improving diabetes results!
We encourage all patients to visit the surgery where we have a full range of facilities available to sort out your problems efficiently. Only housebound and bedridden patients will be visited unless there are exceptional circumstances. Our catchment area is about 1 mile radius of the Practice, if you live outside this area it would be most appropriate for you to register with a local Practice to you.
Decision to visit is made on clinical need rather than social circumstances. All requests for home visits should be made before 11 a.m., where possible. If you request a home visit we may direct you to call emergency services if this is appropriate or utilise the support of the community teams mentioned above (eg JET or the community respiratroy team).
If you are pregnant and would like to self-refer to the midwife service please follow this link:
This allows for the midwife team to be notified electronically of your pregnancy and allows them to care for you in a more timely way.
How to Register at the Practice
In order to register as a patient at our practice you will need to complete a NHS family doctor services registration form GMS1 and a new patient questionnaire (found on our home page and also below) as appropriate and bring them with you when you come to register at the practice.
On your first visit to register you will be explained how our service works and what you can expect from us, but also what we expect from you as well. You will be signposted to electronic new patient registration forms and will be expected to complete these forms fully to enable us to register you. This will be done in a separate appointment. If you do not have access to electronic forms (these are available on most phones as well as computers) then a physical form will be provided.
We would ask all new patients to read our practice charter which sets out our responsibilities to you and your responsibilities to us. Please bring this GMS1 form and new patient questionnaire to the practice when you register.
Documents required when you visit the practice to register:
New patient Questionnaire (attached below)
Under 16 registration form (attached below)
Newly registering patients will be asked to provide documentary evidence depending on their status, at the time of registration.
Prescriptions may be ordered by any one of these means: post, e-mail, systemone online or by engage consult requets– NOT by phone for safety reasons.
We require 48 working hours’ notice for repeat prescriptions. When ordering prescriptions please provide your current phone number in case we need to contact you.
Repeat prescriptions may be collected from the surgery or any chemist in town providing the patient has made arrangements for the chemist to collect the prescription from the surgery. Once you choose a chemist this will be logged in our system, therefore, if you change your pharmacy please let us know when ordering your next prescription.
For your convenience, we would recommend that you make use of the Prescription Collection Service which is available from the following pharmacists:
Alfa Chemists Ltd, Werrington Centre
Boots, Bretton Centre
Graham Young Pharmacy, 681Lincoln Road
Granville Pharmacy, 35 Granville Street
Millfield Chemists, 387 Lincoln Road
National Co-Op, 2-6, Hampton Court, Westwood
National Co-op, 303-307 Lincoln Road
Thomas Walker Pharmacy, Thomas Walker Centre, 87 Princes Street
Walton Pharmacy, 178a Mountsteven Avenue, Walton
West Town Chemist, 63-65 Mayor’s Walk
If you are a pharmacy that also provides this service in the Peterborough area and you do not appear on this list please email us to let us know and we will add you to this list.
Zero Tolerance Policy
The NHS operates a zero tolerance policy with regard to violence and abuse and the practice has the right to remove violent patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and other persons.
Violence in this context includes actual or threatened physical violence or verbal abuse which leads to fear for a person’s safety. In this situation we will notify the patient in writing of their removal from the list and record in the patient’s medical records the fact of the removal and the circumstances leading to it.
We believe that it is important to protect our staff and other patients or visitors.
We understand that the pandemic has been challenging, and recognise that many of us are struggling as a result of this. However, this is no reason for you or your carers to be rude, abusive or racist to us or out staff. If this happens - you will be written to to explain that this behaviour is unacceptable, this will be your final warning. If this happens twice, we will write to our commissioners and ask for your registration with the practice to be cancelled.
A simple guide - is please treat us the way you would like to be treated.
We aim to offer our registered patient population a service they are satisfied with; our vision statement is “The service we provide is the service we are happy to receive”. If however, you are dissatisfied with service you receive from any of the Doctors or other member of the practice team please let us know to enable us to resolve the matter. We operate a practice complaints procedure inline with NHS Guidance.
We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly following a telephone conversation with the Complaints Manager, Paulina Janczura or Ajmal Razza. They are supported by Roszia Bi who helps lead our patient relations work and will try her best to resolve most problems.
We would also ask for your consideration when providing feedback. Feedback is really helpful as it helps us consider ways of improving our service, but we would appreciate some consideration in the way you provide feedback to us. In the same way that someone provided feedback to you in your job or in your raising of a family.
If you do have a problem you would like dealing with in this way please leave your telephone number with a member of our Reception Team and Paulina or Ajmal will call you back within 2-5 working days. Please note Paulina or Ajmal are unable to speak to patients face to face without a pre-booked appointment. We aim to investigate within 10-15 working days and respond to the complaint within a further 5-10 days. All complaints are sent to our legal advisors to comment which is why the process takes extra time. This may be even longer in complex situations (for example when many different clinicians were involved) or where care was delivered by other health providers. You may be signposted to complain to the service directly or to other support organisations that can help you with this.
The practice adheres to the strict rules in place relating to patient confidentiality. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to be assured that you have his or her permission to do so. A consent form signed by the patient concerned will be required by the practice, unless they are incapable (because of illness) of providing this to enable the practice to carry out an investigation.
If your concerns cannot be addressed by speaking to Paulina Janczura or Ajmal Razza please click on the link below which gives full details of our Complaints Procedure including a consent form which should be completed if you are complaining on behalf of someone else.
View the full Complaints Procedure (attached).
Text Messaging Appointment Reminders
From 1st August 2014 we have been sending appointment text reminders and other text messages which we hope is useful to you.
If you do not wish to receive text messages from us, please let any member of staff know and we will document this preference.
We are committed to providing a safe, comfortable environment where patients and staff can be confident that best practice is being followed at all times and the safety of everyone is of paramount importance.
All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure where they feel one is required. You may have a family member of friend present to provide support and comfort but they do not fulfil the role of chaperone.
Wherever possible we would ask you to make this request at the time of booking your appointment so that arrangements can be made and your appointment is not delayed in any way. There are also certain procedures where for the clincian will want a chaperone present - these will include intimate examinations such as breast, rectal or prostate examinations.
Certain work is not covered by the NHS and this work attracts fees. These include private sick notes (for the first 7 days of illness), insurance forms, HGV medicals, fitness to travel certificates etc. There is an up to date private fees chart at reception. We enclose the latest fees poster below, please note this is subject to change and is here as a guide. Please check with our reception staff for more details.
In the first week of your illness you should be able to self-certify with a form from your employer or by downloading a self certification form. The reason the NHS does not pay for the first 7 days of illness is to try and avoid the need for individuals to see a GP for illnesses that will get better within a week. These certificates can be found online:
Hospital forms, passport forms, DHSS forms etc. will not be completed during consultations with doctors. You will need an appointment with our Fees Admin Team who will discuss this with you. We would ask that you are give the practice at least 7 days notice to allow the team alongside the practice clinicians to complete the work. If you need information on a quicker basis the fees are usually doubled due to the pressure this places on the organisation. Please remember that this work is not covered by the NHS. This private work is important to you - but it is not normally our highest priority and hence we apologise for the delay but hope you can understand the need to prioritise NHS care.
Please tell us of the best way to contact you. All information given to the surgery is governed by the data protection act. All information is confidential.
Are you a carer? Please let the staff know by registering as a carer with the social services, there is a large range of services you are able to access. We need your permission to make a referral – please discuss this with a staff member.
Children’s immunisation: We need to know the immunisation dates and details of your children up to age 18 years – please bring the immunisation record within 1 week of registering at the Practice so we can inform the child health department.
This might mean you have to get the details from your home country – but we need your full cooperation to get the details when requested to do so.
Travel immunisation: We provide basic travel advice and access to the free vaccines that are available for free on the NHS. For paid for vaccines there are several alternative providers in Peterborough.
Are you a Military Veteran? Military Veterans are eligible for priority treatment within the NHS – please do let us know so we can use this information for your benefit.
If you are on medication for management of any long term medical condition: We will not be able to prescribe any medication without you first seeing a doctor or nurse so they can authorise the medications – please try and give us as much information as possible about how long you have had the problem and the original packing of the medications you need – we will try to give you the same medication if possible or a suitable equivalent alternative.
You will need to attend for regular checks as long as we prescribe the medications to you and we would like you to bring all your medications with you when you attend for the review appointments.
Updating contact details: We need to be able to contact you whenever necessary so we request you to let us know if you move to a new address or change telephone numbers.
Please tell us of the best way to contact you. All information given to the surgery is governed by the data protection act. All information is confidential.
Stop smoking clinics: Smoking is harmful to health – we host clinics where patients can be seen by smoking cessation advisors. You can also get appointments with local chemists for free and also with the council's health coaches.