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Changes to the appointment system at Pavilion Medical Centre

We have listened to your views and feedback on the appointment system.

As a result the system changed as of December 2013

The appointment system is now led by your GP.

Our aims are:

· To improve ways for you to see or speak to your own GP

· To improve access to appointments either by telephone or face to face

· To give you a chosen time convenient to suit your daily schedule.

This is the type of access we aim to provide to our patients.

We have agreed as a practice team to change the way we book appointments. We believe that by making this change, we will be using our time and your time more responsibly and giving you a more effective and consistent service.


Our pledge to you is that meeting the needs of our patients will always be our top priority.

How will this work for you:

1. You call the surgery to book an appointment between 8am-11am

2. The receptionist takes your telephone number

3. The receptionist will also ask for a short simple description of the problem in order that the GP can prioritise the most urgent cases first. 

5. The receptionist will put your name on your doctor’s ‘call back’ list.

6. The GP calls you back within a given timescale of usually 1-2 hours

7. GP discusses your medical condition; he/she will offer you a face to face appointment or will provide advice over the phone.

8. Please note, on an exceptionally busy days we may only be able to accommodate medically urgent appointments if the demand is higher than usual.

 9. Patients may also be directed to one of the local hub practices if the problem is something that cannot wait.

Frequently asked questions

Please find below common questions regarding the new service. We will continue to review and add questions as we learn more about the service and in response to any issues that may subsequently arise.

Why are we introducing this new service?

Recent feedback from patients asking to speak to a doctor and not having to wait days or even weeks before they do so. Patients want reassurance that they are doing the right thing and want to know if there is anything else they can do. They often wish to talk to the doctors in the practice rather than be re-directed to A&E, the walk-in centre or even the Out of Hours. The doctors think this will provide a much better service for patients as the majority of patients will be dealt with by them on the day (even if some patients are asked to come back later)

What are the benefits of this service?

Patients call the surgery between 8am and 11am for either a morning or afternoon telephone consultation. We hope the majority of calls will be dealt with over the phone safety and effectively without needing you to come to the surgery. This saves you time, allows you to continue going to work or carry out your daily activities with the added reassurance of knowing that if the doctor needs to see you then it can be arranged. It also means we can offer many more consultations for patients than we have been able of late.

What if the doctor rings me back and I miss the call?

The doctors will do their best to ring you back between 1-2 hours, but this may not always be possible. If you miss the call, the doctor will try again. If you have not received a call back within 3 hours we would suggest you contact the surgery again and let them know. Sometimes we may have the wrong number and by asking you to call back, we ensure that contact is always made.

We already offer telephone consultations - what is new about this service?

We have been offering telephone consultations for some time now, very safely and effectively. Patients like to be phoned instead of having to take time off work to come to the surgery and also the further inconvenience if the GP is running late. We will continue to offer the same service but to even more patients so that all patients get a consultation with a GP. All requests will be passed on to the doctor to deal with. All the receptionists will ask you is your name, your preferred telephone number (preferably a landline as the connection is usually better) and a very brief description of what the problem is about. Receptionist will no longer need to decide if the problem is medically urgent or not.

What happens if you are asked to book an appointment in a month's time for example?

Instead of booking an appointment to see us in a month's time, you will need to speak to a doctor who will book you in or you will be advised to call on the day to speak to a doctor.

What about patients who have a disability for whom a telephone consultation may not be appropriate?

We appreciate that this system may not work for all patients all the time. Those who are unable to talk to us on the phone will be given a face-to-face appointment with a doctor as they do now. But we would like to encourage all patients to try to find somebody who can speak English on their behalf or talk on the phone so that we can deal with your problems quickly and safely without delay. If this isn’t possible we will book an interpreter but require 3 days notice as they are very busy.

What happens to visit requests?

Visit requests will be checked by doctors as well as by the Community Outreach nurses to see if the problem can be safely managed over the telephone as well. A visit can often take up to 30 minutes - in that time we could deal with between 3-6 consultations. But we will continue to offer visits for those who need them.

What about online appointments booking?

Patients can only book same day on-line telephone consultations on line the night before from 7pm for next day telephone consultations, you will be given a choice of appointment times to book throughout the day, if you wish to be seen by your GP you will need to discuss this in your telephone consultation.

Have there been any consultations with patients in the practice?

We have discussed the new appointment system with HGP@Pavilion Patient Participation Group. Discussions are ongoing as more detail becomes available.

* What happens if patients ring after 11am or just before the surgery closes at 6pm?

The receptionist will still deal with your problem especially if it is something medically urgent that cannot wait but we are trying to encourage patients to call before 11am in order that the GP can deal with all calls in good time and bring in any patient that requires a face-to-face appointment.

Have others done this before or is this completely new?

Over 50 GP practices around the country have implemented the system and it is working very well for them. Some of them have been doing this now for over 10 years and feedback from patients, clinicians and others has been very positive. We have been in touch with a few practices and learnt from them so that hopefully the introduction will be smooth and without too many difficulties. Here is a PDF of a practice that has been championing it .

What can you do to prepare for the new service?

The main difference is that patients must phone the surgery and wait for a call back by the doctor either requesting morning or afternoon call back. Please do not come to the surgery first thing in the morning as all the doctors will be busy dealing with phone calls. Of course, if it is an emergency then we will see you but this will delay us from talking to patients on the phone.

Many problems that we see could be dealt with just as easily by the pharmacist for Minor Ailments. Please see details on the website for all participating pharmacies.

It would be helpful if you could gather together relevant information prior to the phone call about your condition e.g. what medication you are taking, any blood pressure readings you may have or a letter you may have received asking to contact us. Please remember to try to keep to one issue at a time if possible so that we can deal with as many people as possible.

What happens if you can only receive calls between a certain time e.g. before 10am?

Please inform the receptionist when you book the appointment so that the doctors are aware and try to accommodate you as best as possible.

Do patients have to inform the receptionist of what their medical problem is?

You do not have to tell the receptionist what is wrong with you if you do not wish to. However it is helpful for the doctors to have some idea of what the problem might be so that they can prioritise calls based on what the receptionist tells them. We have a robust confidentiality policy that all staff adhere to at all times.

How is it possible for us to have more consultations with patients and still deliver better quality care for all?

Whilst considering the new appointment system, all the doctors have been reviewing patient consultations that they had over the past few months. This showed many patients came to see us face-to-face when in fact they could have been better dealt with by seeing a pharmacist for a minor ailment, see the nurse or have blood tests or other investigations done before seeing the doctor. By enabling more patients to be dealt with over the phone, we think it will give us more time to spend with those who need to see us whilst at the same time providing reassurance and a plan of action for those who are happy to be dealt with over the phone. Out of Hours services often deal with consultations over the phone safely and effectively too.

Can patients see a doctor face-to-face if they wish to?

Yes, patients can see a doctor face-to-face but they will need to book a telephone appointment with the doctor first who will make this decision. Many problems can be dealt with over the phone without needing to be seen face-to-face.

Do you have any further questions that you would like to ask?

We would like to hear from you if you have any questions or queries. Please send a comment via our website or write to the practice manager, or ask one of the doctors, nurses or receptionists when you are next in the surgery.

Alternatively you can join the Patient Participation Group.

Information on the website.

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