A face-to-face appointment can be booked by telephone or calling at the Brora surgery between the hours of 08:00 and 18:00 Monday - Friday. Helmsdale surgery reception is manned between 09:00 – 17:00. You will speak to a receptionist who will try to book you into a GP of your choice. Some points about appointments:
- Appointments last for 15 minutes, and the doctor will try to deal with the problems you wish to discuss in that time.
- If, however, you have a number of problems, it is sensible and safer for you and the doctor if you book an extended or double appointment, otherwise they will not be able to deal with all your issues at one visit and they will ask you to rebook a further appointment to discuss any remaining problems. This is fairer on other patients who are waiting after you.
- Please try to be on time for your appointments. If you are more than 15 minutes late your appointment will be cancelled and you will have to rebook a new appointment.
- Patients from Brora and Helmsdale are welcome to use appointments at either surgery if it is convenient for you.
These are an excellent way to discuss issues with the doctor if you need some simple health advice, have a query about your treatment or test results, or wish to decide if you need to see a doctor about a health problem. They will normally be conducted within a couple of hours of you calling the surgery in the morning so are an excellent way gain rapid advice from the comfort of your home; in some cases the GP may even be able to prescribe a treatment over the phone for you, saving you the need to come and wait at the surgery. You can book a telephone consultation by calling the receptionist and asking for a telephone appointment. She will give you a time when the doctor will call you back to discuss your issues. Please treat these appointments in the same manner as a face-to-face appointment and be waiting to receive the call.
Monday Evening ("extended hours" appointments)
The practice offers pre-bookable late appointments (between 18:00 – 19:00) on a Monday evening at Brora Medical Centre. These are primarily for adult working patients who find it difficult to take time off work to attend routine appointments. We would appreciate if other patients would use the usual daytime appointments so that these are reserve for those who need them most. Please bear in mind, these appointments CANNOT be used for the following:
- Blood tests - we have no way of getting samples to the laboratory in the evening
- Smears - we have no nurse available in the evening.
The surgery is essentially closed at 18:00 and no reception staff are on duty. There is no facility to book appointments at this time and the telephone is not answered. Pre-booked patients will be asked to wait in the waiting room until the doctor comes to collect them. Please note: these sessions ARE NOT for emergency or unscheduled patients turning up to request seeing a doctor. After 18:00 all emergency requests are to be seen by the duty GP at the Lawson Memorial Hospital, who must be accessed by calling NHS24. If any patient attends requesting to see a GP in an emergency during one of these evening sessions, they will be instructed to either call NHS24 or an ambulance. There is NO exception to this rule.
Urgent appointments should only be requested for problems that you feel need to be seen the same day and cannot medically wait:
- Please call the surgery as early as possible and say you are requesting an urgent appointment.
- You will be asked to give the reason for this to the receptionist; she may need to ask the GP if this justifies an urgent appointment. If it is felt this could wait for a normal appointment, you will be instructed to make a regular appointment.
- You will be asked to present yourself at the end of the routine surgery and wait until the GP can see you - specific times are not given
- If two GPs are on duty, you will be seen by whichever GP is free at the time - it is not possible to request an urgent appointment with a specific GP.
Please use the urgent appointments system fairly with regard to the needs of others. Problems which DO NOT count as an urgent appointment include:
- Running out of repeat prescriptions
- Wanting a sickness certificate
- Minor illnesses that can clearly wait for a routine appointment; e.g. warts, colds (try calling NHS24 for advice first).
- Problems which are chronic (present for a few weeks) and are not worsening, e.g. headaches, backaches etc.
If you are in doubt, why not book a telephone consultation to discuss your problem? We may be able to sort it out without you needing to see a GP on the same day, or can give you simple advice to manage your problem and bring you to a routine appointment the next day.
If you cannot attend an appointment for any reason please inform us as soon as possible in order for us to give the slot to someone else. We recognise that we are all human, and are sometimes late or forget an appointment we have made and do not let people know. Once per year is excusable. Twice per year is tolerable. But missing three appointments in a year is unfair on other patients in the community, and as this has become a significant problem, we are now taking action against repeat offenders.