Access – Surgery FAQ’s

Q: Why isn’t my GP practice open?

We’ve always been open, even during lockdown, although to keep you and our staff safe from infection we have had to change the ways in which you contact us and often how you see one of our clinical staff.

We have followed national guidance closely to make sure we continue to provide you with safe and effective care. Whilst COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted we will continue to offer phone and video consultations and you will only be asked to visit the surgery if it’s necessary.

This can save you time, waiting for a face-to-face appointment or taking time off work to attend. Many illnesses can be treated by these remote consultations.

However, after speaking to you, if we decide you need to come to the surgery then you will get a face-to-face appointment.

If you would prefer a face to face appointment for other reasons, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you although you may have to wait a little longer.

Q: Why does it take me so long to get through to you on the phone?

We know that feeling unwell or having a poorly family member can be very worrying and we are sorry that you have had difficulty getting trough to us but the practice, like many others in England, is experiencing very high levels of demand for our services.

Please bear with us at this difficult time, we are doing our best to care for all our patients, but it may take us little longer than usual.

If you aren’t sure if you need to see the GP then you may find it helpful to contact NHS 111 or speak to a pharmacist for more advice. You can also visit the Walk in Centre or Minor Injuries Unit, no appointment is necessary. Please also visit our home page for more information about Doctorlink, you can use this service to triage your symptoms and if you need to be seen by your GP the surgery will be sent an email and a timescale in which you should be offered an appointment.

Q: Why can’t I see a GP?

The practice has many specialists who can treat your medical condition and you don’t always need to see a GP.

Our practice has 5 GP’s, 1 GP in training, 1 locum Advanced clinical practitioner, 1 Physiotherapist, 1 Pharmacist, 1 pharmacy technician, 1 Mental health worker, 1 Paramedic, 2 Practice nurses and 1 Health care assistant. Many of the health care professionals are a shared resource with our Network and therefore not all work full time at Manchester Road surgery.

All our healthcare professionals are highly trained, and it will save you time as you will get to see the right specialist to treat your condition.

This lets our GPs focus on people who have serious or urgent medical needs that can’t be treated by other clinical staff.

Q: Why is the receptionist asking me questions about my symptoms?

Our receptionists are helping you reach the best medical care, as quickly as possible. They are trained to help by directing you to the most appropriate clinician as quickly as possible.

When you are asked about your symptoms, please answer their questions as best as you can.

Based on your answers they can direct you to the most appropriate care and make an appointment for you with either the GP or another member of our healthcare team.

This could be a nurse, or another specialist such as a physiotherapist or they might refer you to a pharmacist who is trained to deal with a range of illnesses.

We are very busy at the moment, with huge demand for GP appointments. Our receptionists are playing their part in helping you to get the care you need as quickly as possible.

Q: Why am I being asked to see a pharmacist when I ring up?

Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals. , They are also trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice.
they can often recommend an over the counter medicines for your condition.

If they think your symptoms may be something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. For example, they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse, or other healthcare professional.

Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You do not need an appointment.
Most pharmacies have a private consultation room where you can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard.

Q: Why am I still being asked to wear a mask and socially distance?/Why does my practice look empty when I visit?

You might be wondering why some restrictions are still in place at our practice when they are optional when you visit other public places.

We are following the national NHS guidance that will stay in place until a decision is taken that it’s safe to lift it. It applies not only when you visit our surgery but across all health services.

Wearing a mask, standing 1 metre apart or waiting outside prevents the spread of the coronavirus, and other seasonal viruses including flu, and protects the most vulnerable.

You can read more about the rules here:

NHS England » NHS Patients, staff and visitors must continue to wear face coverings in healthcare settings

Q: What if it’s urgent?

If you have a medical emergency and need an ambulance, you should call 999. For urgent non-coronavirus medical queries which don’t require an ambulance, use NHS 111’s online tool or call 111.
Q: I think I might have COVID, what should I do?

If you get symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab), even if the symptoms are mild. The main symptoms to look out for are:

• a high temperature
• a new, continuous cough
• a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Most people with coronavirus (COVID-19) feel better within a few weeks. You may be able to look after yourself at home while you recover. This advice may be helpful. Do not visit the pharmacy or your GP practice.

Go to 111.nhs.uk, call 111 or call your GP surgery if:

• you’re feeling gradually more unwell or more breathless
• you have difficulty breathing when you stand up or move around
• you feel very weak, achy or tired
• you’re shaking or shivering
• you’ve lost your appetite
• you’re unable to care for yourself – for example, tasks like washing and dressing or making food are too difficult
• you still feel unwell after 4 weeks – this may be long COVID

Go to A&E immediately or dial 999 if:

• you’re so breathless that you’re unable to say short sentences when resting
• your breathing has got suddenly worse
• you cough up blood
• you feel cold and sweaty, with pale or blotchy skin
• you have a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin and does not fade when you roll a glass over it
• you collapse or faint
• you feel agitated, confused or very drowsy
• you’ve stopped peeing or are peeing much less than usual

Q: I have COVID symptoms, but I’ve taken a lateral flow test (LFT or home test) and it’s negative.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, do not take a lateral flow test, you need a different test called a PCR test. You should self-isolate and arrange a PCR test as soon as possible

You may have the COVID virus and not have any symptoms. Lateral flow tests are great for quickly checking if you have the virus and testing regularly, even if you are vaccinated, helps stop the virus spreading.

PCR tests are designed to test people with COVID symptoms, they are more sensitive than lateral flow tests meaning they can detect smaller quantities of the virus.

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