Using your GP practice
Appointments at your GP practice
If you do need to use your GP practice, in most cases you will need to book an appointment. There are three ways to do this:
- Book an appointment online or via the NHS app
- Telephone the practice*
- Visit the practice in person if you can’t use any other methods
*Practices can get very busy on the telephone, particularly when they first open in the morning. So if it isn’t urgent, you are advised to try calling later in the day if you can.
Standard practice opening times at 8am to 6:30pm Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays. Appointments may also be available up to 8pm in the evening Monday to Friday and between 9am and 5pm on Saturdays. The arrangements for evenings and weekends will vary from practice to practice.
Where it is appropriate for your particular health problem, you can also request or you will be offered an appointment by telephone, secure video call or online consultation. For many people these might be more convenient than going to the practice in person. For example, to make it easier to fit in your appointment around work or family commitments.
It is worth finding out how it works at your GP practice, as there may be additional or alternative options available.
If you no longer need your appointment
If you find you no longer need your appointment contact your practice as soon as possible to let them know. You can do this by telephone, but ideally not first thing in the morning when practices are at their busiest. Even better would be to register at your practice for online services so you will be able to book and cancel appointments online at any time. You can also use the NHS app.
Appointments at other locations
Your GP practice may book an appointment for you at another location rather than seeing you themselves. This is to help everyone who needs it to get the right care for their particular health problem, as quickly as possible.
Primary care network
All practices work closely with other practices in a group known as a primary care network. There are over 20 such groups in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. By working together they can make resources go further and provide care in better ways. You may be asked to attend your appointment at another practice in your group, or you may receive your care in your own practice but from a team member from another practice.
Community Pharmacy Consultation Scheme
Community pharmacists have the training and skills to advise on many minor ailments which, previously, for which people used to need to see a GP practice, such as bites and stings, swelling and pain, skin conditions, colds, coughs, earache and gastric problems.
A member of the GP practice team, usually a receptionist, can refer the patient directly to a community pharmacy for appropriate health problems. This is known as the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service. The pharmacy contacts the patient to arrange for a face-to-face, phone or video consultation, and the outcome of this is reported back to the GP practice so that they can see exactly what has been recommended, any treatment given and it all goes on the patient’s record. If for some reason the patient needs more support than the pharmacy can provide or requires a prescription, the GP practice resumes contact with the patient and arranges for the patient to be seen by another member of the practice team. This saves the patient having to make multiple calls for support.
It’s often much quicker and easier than waiting for a GP appointment and they can assess the patient in a private area where they cannot be overheard. Because so many pharmacies are part of the scheme, the patient can usually choose which pharmacy they are referred to, so they can be seen in a location that suits them.