Why can’t I get an appointment?

The practice is well aware that there is often a perceived difficulty in being seen urgently and that routine appointments are not available as soon as you may like.


There are a variety or reasons for this including high patient demand (did you know our patients visit the doctor more often in a year compared with the national average?) and the fact those additional services we offer for your benefit such as the clinics – asthma, COPD, Coronary Heart Disease, Hypertension, Diabetes, Travel, Well-Woman, drug monitoring, epilepsy, minor surgery, ultrasound - can eat into our consulting times. A large amount of our day is also spent caring for our patients at the Glen ‘o’ Dee Hospital and in several local nursing homes and residential complexes. Clearly, it can be difficult to find a balance between these various demands, and any additional clinics/services we could offer will often be at the compromise of ‘routine’ appointments.

The recent increase in the number of doctors within the practice, the ongoing development of nurse triage and nurse-led clinics and the expansion of doctors in training have helped to significantly improve the situation. Appointment availability is monitored on a weekly basis and we will continue to try and improve access to the team as much as possible in the months ahead.

 But what if I need to be seen that day?

 All patients needing an urgent appointment or a home visit will be spoken to by either the triage nurse or the duty doctor who will then agree with the patient on the best course of action. The outcome may be an appointment later that day with the nurse or doctor or perhaps being given some advice followed up by a routine appointment in a few days. Sometimes telephone advice is all that may be required in the knowledge that you can phone back if anything changes.

 By having a dedicated nurse triage and duty doctor system in place each day we hope this will enable us to deal promptly and efficiently with urgent cases and prevent any interruptions and delays to your non-urgent care.

I am trying to book an appointment online but I can't find an appointment for my particular doctor on the day I want. Why?I

 We offer online appointments for all our doctors for all their routine surgeries. If you are booking ahead and can’t see an appointment on a particular day for a particular doctor it is either because the doctor is on holiday, doesn’t consult that day or their appointments are already fully booked. You could try booking for another day or another doctor. 

How far ahead can I book an appointment online?

We release appointments 50 days in advance online. Each morning we also release some appointments for that day and for 2 days in advance. These appointments are available from 8:30am each day just as they are if you were phoning the surgery direct.

I am having difficulty registering, activating or using my online account?

There is a very useful online help tool that is found on the top right hand corner of the Vision Online website. It will guide you through each step of the process. Click here to go to the help screen.

I keep getting the message "The Practice is Busy" when trying to order repeat prescriptions or make an appointment Online.

The website is taken offline when any updates are being done to the system. This could occurr at any time but it does always happen in the early hours of each morning to allow the extra "book on day" appointments to be added to the website. The system comes back online at 8:30am so that people phoning the surgery for an appointment have exactly the same access to the "book on day" appointments as those booking online. Unfortunately we cannot keep the prescription part of the website online while the appointments are being updated.

Why was my doctor or nurse running late?

 We apologise to all patients who have been made to wait to see a nurse or a doctor and if this situation arises our reception staff will endeavour to notify you when you book in. We would like to point out though that the most common reason for a doctor or nurse running late can be patients themselves turning up late which then has a knock-on effect on the rest of the surgery. This is closely followed by patients often presenting with several problems and anticipating that they can all be dealt within their 10 minute appointment. For this reason we may occasionally ask you to come back for a further appointment. Ideally we would like to offer longer 15-minute appointments and have regular ‘catch up’ breaks during our surgeries. However, we must balance this with the need to provide as many appointments as possible to prevent waiting times building up for routine appointments.

 Why do you have a telephone-answering message when I phone the surgery?

 We all know that ‘talking telephones’ can be frustrating and downright annoying at times but we hope that the benefits outweigh these frustrations. The principle reason for introducing it several years ago was to try and ensure that genuine emergency cases were responded to as quickly as possible. Before the new system, there was no way of prioritising calls to the surgery. For example, patients with chest pain (who could be suffering from a heart attack) had to wait to be answered just as long as someone who was simply phoning for results etc. In the early morning when the phones are very busy, they may have received an engaged tone.

 Clearly this was unacceptable and the problem failed to improve despite increasing the number of incoming lines. The current system effectively rectified the situation whilst also allowing us to further increase the number of incoming lines.

 But what if I have a pulse-dial telephone?

 Having a pulse-dial telephone (as 1% of the population do) rather than a touch-tone phone means you cannot navigate the menu. However, it takes less than a minute for the menu to run-though following which your call will be answered in the usual way

 Why won’t my GP give me an antibiotic?

 Numerous studies have shown antibiotics to have no effect on the vast majority of infections including sore throats, earache and chesty coughs. If your GP doesn't give you an antibiotic he/she is not trying to save money! It's simply because these infections are typically viral and will resolve in time. Antibiotics have only been around for 50 years and yet their overuse has resulted in frighteningly high levels of resistance and the emergence of ‘super bugs’. e.g MRSA

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