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We are Changing How We Work To Improve Our Service To You

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we making this change?

This change should make it easier to submit requests to the practice and ensure that requests are seen by the most appropriate member of staff and dealt with in an appropriate timeframe. Appointments will be prioritised according to need, rather than who gets to the appointments first or shouts the loudest.

The benefits are:

  • Easy to access – it should only take a couple of minutes to fill out your information

  • No waiting on hold on the phone

  • Your request will be seen by the right person

  • Convenience – send your request over whenever you need it, rather than when you can get through on the phone

  • Your GP might be able to help more quickly and easily, for example with a phone call, or by referring you directly to the service you need, such as physiotherapy

We know many of you will have questions about how the new system will work and worries about the effect it will have on your care.  We will be continually working to address your concerns and will provide you with regular updates

What if I do not have access to the internet or struggle to complete forms?

Please telephone or come into the Practice and our team will fill in a form on your behalf.

Does this mean I won’t see a GP anymore?

No the idea is the opposite.  Completing the form is just a preliminary way of collecting information to ensure you are seen by the right person at the right time, first time, not a way of deflecting medical issues that need contact with a GP.  We foresee that by moving to this system we will be able to offer you a much improved service where you will receive help more quickly from the right person.

Can reception make me an appointment instead?

No. From now on, whether you visit in person or contact us by phone, they will no longer be booking you routine doctor’s appointment. They will help you complete the form for if you struggle to do it yourself.

If you contact the surgery and say you want an urgent appointment what happens next as reception will no longer be making appointments?

We will continue to have an acute clinical team every day to deal with urgent appointments. You will still be asked, or given help, to complete a form and your query will be dealt with by the acute clinical team.

If the receptionist will not make an appointment how does the patient get an appointment on the day if they say they need to see a doctor as they are unwell?

Our clinical team will be able to determine the urgency of the request and deal with more urgent queries on the same day.

Here is an example of what you will be asked to fill in the triage form

Accurx patient triage example

How long will it take to fill in the form?

How long will it take to fill in the form?

For medical queries if will take less than 5 minutes. For administrative or simple issues it is shorter

  • Examples of admin issues are – to ask about recent tests, to get a repeat prescription, to ask about a fit (sick) note.

  • Examples of simple issues are – change of contact details such as a mobile number

How long will it take to hear from the practice?

We Aim to…..

  • Respond to your medical request on the day you submit it or within 1 working day.

  • Respond to medication and prescription requests within 3 working days.

  • Respond to administrative requests e.g. Reports, Letters, Med 3s within 2 working days

When the surgery contacts you it will either be by text, email or phone call based on your preference.

Why do I need to complete a form or answer the questions the reception team ask me?

So that the team who look at all the information submitted can provide you with the appointment or advice you need with the right person at the right time, first time.

Bideford Medical Centre now has a number of additional health professionals  working alongside our GP’s and nurses. These include Clinical Pharmacists, First Contact Physiotherapists, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, Paramedics, Older Persons Integrated Care teams, Mental Health Practitioners, Health & Well Being Coaches, Social Link Workers, Dementia Advisors and Social Prescribers/Community Connectors.

They will direct your request to the most appropriate clinician so that you can be seen or spoken to by the right person as quickly as possible.

Will I get an appointment quicker if I speak to reception instead?

No. The reception team will no longer be making routine GP appointments with patients directly. All methods of completing the triage forms, either online, in person or over the phone will be assessed and dealt with as quickly as possible.

I don’t feel comfortable telling reception about my medical issue

Please be assured that anything you discuss with a receptionist will be treated with absolute privacy and respect. All Bideford Medical Centre, including receptionists, sign a confidenti-ality agreement, meaning anything you discuss with them is not shared inappropriately.

What if English is not my main spoken language?

In the same way that clinicians frequently use an official translation service on the phone the receptionists will also be able to access this if the patient they are speaking to is on the phone or in person in the surgery. 

What if the time/day of the appointment doesn’t work for me?

There is a section on the form where you can write down the times that you aren’t available, which our team can avoid when getting in touch with you.

What happens to a request that I send overnight or at the weekend?

The form is available from 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday. For patient safety, the form is not available during evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays.

How can I request repeat Medication?

We ask that your make your repeat prescription requests in writing using the one of the following methods:


  • Online - using Systmonline

  • Via paper repeat slip - this can be dropped into the surgery letter box or via your nominated pharmacy.

  • Though the NHS app.

  • Through submitting a new ‘Repeat prescription’ admin query online.

Or - sign up to use our repeat prescription automated phoneline. Please contact the practice to register for this service. This can be done by submitting a new ‘admin’ request on our website or calling the practice to register if you are unable to go online.

Please note:

  • We do not accept routine prescription requests over the telephone, our reception team will ask you to place any routine requests in writing.

  • Please allow Three working days for your prescription request to be actioned by the practice. 

  • We will not respond to any routine prescription requests sent via AccuRx unless we require further information.

Can I request an appointment on behalf of someone else?

Yes, you can submit the form on behalf of the patient (although please write on the form that you are doing so) and can put the contact number that we should either contact the patient or their representative on. Please note that due to patient confidentiality we cannot discuss anything about one of our patients unless they have explicitly given permission for us to do so.

Will my request be saved to my record?

Any request you submit about a medical issue will be saved to your record so that whoever calls you or sees you about your problem has your information to hand. If you send us a question about an administrative issue, we will only save this to your record if we think it would be helpful to do so (or if you ask us to).

Will this disadvantage me or my elderly or vulnerable relative?

For those with access to a mobile phone or internet, the new online form will be a more convenient way to contact the practice, which should free up our phone lines for those who really need it – especially those who cannot access the internet for whatever reason. If you or your relative cannot use the form please contact us on the phone as you normally would and we can deal with your query.

Under the existing system patients spend a significant time waiting on the phone. If the receptionist is helping patients to complete a form it suggests that the waiting time will be even longer and can be stressful for the patient and also the receptionists manning the phones?

We will encourage the patients who can use the triage from their phone/tablet/computer to do so, and to release the phone lines to the ones who might struggle with technology or may need our reception team’s help because of other issues.

We will change our telephone system recording, continually add details to the website and our waiting room screen. We also plan to have a text message campaign to inform the patients of the upcoming change.

Online resources for patients:

Patient Guide to Patient Triage – Patient Triage: Patient guide | Accurx Help Centre

We will continue to update you as we identify any other commonly asked questions or concerns that any of our staff are hearing.

Thank you for your co-operation during this time of change towards better access.

Yours sincerely,

Bideford Medical Centre Team

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