Appointments ClockBeacon Medical Practice is committed to providing you the best possible access to its services. All the Doctors and Nurses are available for consultation by appointment at all our three Surgery sites. Please see the Surgery Opening Hours for details of availability. Appointments may be made either in person, by telephoning our switchboard on (01754) 897000, by using our automated telephone booking service or by booking online. There is no open access or ‘sit and wait’ surgery. The Practice operates an appointment system which offers a mixture of face-to-face pre-bookable appointments for those patients who wish to see a specific Doctor of their choice (up to 4 weeks in advance) and same-day appointments (bookable on the day of your appointment).
You may see any Doctor in the practice, but are encouraged to see the same Doctor for a particular condition in order to achieve continuity of care. Please, ensure that you arrive on time for your appointment. If you are late, you may be asked to re-book your appointment. An appointment is for one person only. If another member of your family needs to be seen or discussed, more time will be required and a separate appointment should be made.
It is the nature of General Practice that some interruptions are unavoidable, e.g. a patient who suffered a heart attack would require immediate attention. Nevertheless if you are kept waiting then the commonest reason is that patients ahead of you have taken too long. It is difficult for Doctors to run to time if you bring too many problems to a single appointment. A normal appointment with your Doctor is for TEN minutes. This is usually sufficient to deal with ONE medical problem. If you wish to discuss several problems, or if you feel that you are likely to need longer for other reasons, please tell your Doctor at the start of your consultation. Please be mindful that if your healthcare needs take longer than the allocated ten minutes then patients having an appointment after you will have to wait longer than they anticipated.
If after having made an appointment, you are subsequently unable to attend for any reason, PLEASE LET US KNOW (even if it is only a few minutes before you are due) so that we can offer the appointment to someone else. A significant number of appointments are lost each day through patients not attending and in general, these are appointments booked in advance. Please help us to avoid wasting costly NHS resources.
Automated Telephone Appointment Booking Service
At any time of the day you can book an appointment with a GP by using our automated telephone appointment booking service. Patients who do not want to take advantage of our telephone appointment system can still speak to one of our Receptionists during Surgery opening hours. To use the service you will need a touch-tone telephone, your contact telephone number and your date of birth. When you telephone the Surgery, select the option for the automated booking service and follow the simple instructions. You must inform us if you change your telephone number, landline or mobile.
Pre-booked and same-day appointments
Every Doctor (except Duty Doctors) has a mixture of pre-bookable and same-day appointments during their surgeries. You may pre-book with you preferred GP up to two weeks in advance. These appointments are ideal if your problem does not need attention on the same day. Please, notice that we operate a tight system and we try hard to reduce as much as possible wasted slots. If you cannot attend for whatever reason always cancel a pre-booked appointment.
If you are requesting an appointment on the day (either by telephone or in person), we will strive to offer you an appointment on that same day. We will try to get you an appointment with your usual/preferred clinician if there are appointments left, otherwise you will be given an appointment with whoever clinician has room for you. Our Duty Doctors operate a daily triage system which helps our Doctors and Nurses to manage the request for same day appointments.
Pre-book an appointment online
It is now possible to book an appointment using the internet. Some “pre-bookable” sessions are available to book online. You can also cancel or change your appointment online. To use this service, you first need to register in person at Reception. You need to bring two proofs of identity – at least one bearing your photograph. You cannot do this on behalf of anybody else or a person who is below 16 years of age, even if he/she is your own child. You can register only for your own personal use.
Once you have obtained all the details from Reception, please click on the link to create your account and start using this service.
After all same-day appointments have been booked only patients with urgent medical conditions that cannot wait until another day will get a telephone call back from the duty Doctor or Nurse Practitioner and after assessment you may get an appointment at the surgery if needed. Patients with non-urgent matters will be asked to ring for an appointment the next morning. If available you may be able to book a routine appointment on a later date.
When you are requesting an urgent appointment our Receptionist will take some brief details of your condition so that the Duty Doctor or Nurse Practitioner is able to prioritise your call. These brief details are essential in order to deal with your urgent medical condition effectively. By phone one of the Duty GPs or Nurse Practitioners will discuss your problem with you and will either offer you an appointment, a home visit, give you advice or a prescription, order tests or refer you to hospital, whatever seems appropriate after assessment.
For medical emergencies, like sudden onset of chest pain, weakness in limbs, shortness of breath or collapse, please dial 999 for an ambulance. If you sustained an injury then go to your local A&E or minor injuries department. For any dental problems visit your dentist.
Before you make an appointment to see your GP, consider the alternatives. You can call NHS 111 (24 hours a day, seven days a week) for medical advice over the telephone. The pharmacist behind the counter at your local chemist may be able to give you the help you need, so you won’t have to spend time waiting for an appointment. Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals, and may offer a wider range of health services than you might think.
Finally, when making an appointment we respectfully ask all our patients for their understanding and patience and to remain calm and polite towards our reception staff who are just to doing their job and are always trying to help you to their best of their ability.