A better way to request support from your GP

Posted by: lindsaygollin - Posted on:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – last updated 8 May 2024

When will it start?

Our Appointment Hub will start reviewing all requests from the 13th May.

All GP requests will have to be submitted online, via Telephone Assistant, on a paper form in the practice, or to our reception team on the phone.

Why is the practice making these changes?  

  • Avoids the 8am rush at the Reception and on the phones.
  • Reduces phone calls so phones are available to those who can’t access online.
  • A safer and fairer system where we prioritise appointments based on clinical need.
  • A more accessible system where there are different ways to contact the practice.
  • More consistent care – if you have discussed an issue before it will be easier to book with the same person again, so you don’t have to repeat the same information.
  • More choice – for routine appointments there will be more choice about the day and time of your appointment.
  • Increased confidence from patients that requests are prioritised fairly and there is a response from the practice.
  • Appointments are made with the most appropriate health professional – it may not always need to be a GP.
  • This system is designed and supported by NHS England and is already working in other practices across Leeds and nationwide.

I’ve made a request, what next?

Your request will be handled the Appointment Hub who will assess all requests. We will aim to get back to you on the same day but certainly within 48 hours. All urgent requests will be dealt with on the day.

  • We may contact you to get more information – this could be a phone call, or we might send a message via PATCHS, or a questionnaire

Once your request has been reviewed:

  • If you need an on the day appointment we will call you to book.
  • If you need a routine appointment you will be sent a link to book, or we will call you
  • Other information may be sent out to support self-care or recommend appointments with other services.

What do I do if I can’t access online?

You will still be able to phone or come into the practice. If you come in, you will be asked to fill in a paper form. On the phone you can either use Telephone Assistant or, if you have trouble with any of these options, you can speak to our reception team.

How do I access the Telephone Assistant?

You will be able to select an option on the main phone menu – e.g., Press 2 for the Telephone Assistant. The Telephone Assistant can cope with multiple callers at the same time.

What about people whose first language isn’t English?

PATCHS offers a translation service and can be completed in most languages.

Will I get an appointment on the day?

Appointments on the day will be offered based on clinical need.

If you do not need to be seen quickly, you will be offered an appointment within the next 14 days. You will be able to choose from appointments on different days, and times. You will be able to see who the appointment is with or you may be able to choose.

You may be directed to another service or health professional if they are the best person to see you.

You may be given advice to selfcare.

How can I get a repeat appointment with the same Doctor regarding ongoing issues and treatment?

PATCHS asks whether there is a Doctor already aware of the issue and we will try to book a follow up with that Doctor. The invitation to book an appointment will give links to all available GP appointments for each Doctor. Patients will be able to choose whether they prefer to speak to a specific GP or whether they prefer to speak to a different GP if those appointments are available sooner.

I’ve made a request, why haven’t I got an appointment with a GP?

All requests will be sent to our Appointment Hub where they can decide who needs to be seen on the day.

For some requests there may be an alternative clinician better able to give advice or support e.g., a practice pharmacist, a physio, or community pharmacy, or you may be given selfcare advice.

It is very important that you provide accurate information on your request. If your symptoms change, or get worse, you can contact us again.

Why do you close clinical PATCHS requests?

If we have a very high demand, we may need to close so that our Appointment Hub team can safely manage all requests.

You will still be able to submit Admin PATCHS requests for queries such as fit notes, prescriptions, reports or to book appointments with the Nurse team.

What do I do if PATCHS is closed for clinical requests?

If you feel that you need to be seen urgently, you can call the practice and your request will be assessed. You may be directed to other services as, once we have reached capacity, we will prioritise the most vulnerable patients.

If you can wait, please submit a request from 7:30 am the next day when PATCHS is open again.

Who is looking at my request? / Who is in the Appointment Hub?

Our assessment hub is clinically led and made up of a trained and skilled team including GPs, Advanced Clinical Practitioners, and our reception team.

Why do I need to provide this information?

The information you are providing is the same as you would provide to your clinician. It will support the Appointment Hub team to make sure you are seen appropriately, and the information will be shared with the Health Professional who sees you.

What if I don’t want to use PATCHS?

You don’t have to register for PATCHS, you can use the Telephone Assistant over the phone or you can complete a paper form and our reception team will enter it for you. However, being signed up to PATCHS does  make it easier to use booking links or receive messages back from the practice.

What if this new system doesn’t work?

We have visited other practices where this is working well, and we are confident that this will be a better and safer system for everyone.

We will continue to review and take feedback from patients and staff to ensure we can provide the best service possible, with the resources we have available.

We know that it will take a few weeks for patients and staff to get used to the new way of working and we appreciate your support and understanding.

What about nurses appointments?

GP requests must be submitted by PATCHS only. Nurse appointments can be booked by PACTHS, by our reception team, or via a link if you have been sent one. If a request comes in that is appropriate for our nursing team, you will be booked in or sent a link to book.

Our nursing team appointments include: bloods, immunisations, long term condition reviews, health checks, blood pressure checks and smears.

New: Can I submit on behalf of my children or someone I care for or support?

Yes, you can submit PATCHS on behalf of family members as follows:

If you and the person you are enquiring for are both registered patients with the practice, more details are available here:

Contacting your GP for Someone Else – PATCHS Support

If the person you are enquiring for is a registered patient with Oakwood Lane but you are not, more details available here:

Registering for Patchs as a Carer User – PATCHS Support

New: Do I have to register for PATCHS to submit a request?

No, you can send a request via PATCHS as a guest user but you will miss being able to track the progress of your enquiry or where we may have tried to contact you. More details available here:

Contacting your GP without registering for a Patchs account – PATCHS Support