Making an appointment with a GP
You can book an appointment with the GP practice reception staff over the phone or by visiting the practice in person.
You can also book online – if this is something you would like to do you will need to ask the reception staff.
GP practices are often very busy and you may need to wait several days or up to two weeks for an appointment.
If you think you need to see a GP urgently you will need to tell the receptionist why and they may be able to get you an appointment quicker.
You can also phone your GP practice at 8am, to see if there are any appointments the same day. Be aware, these same day appointments get booked up quickly.
You can ask for a male of female GP or nurse if you want.
You might not always need to see a GP. You can make an appointment with a practice nurse.
Practice nurses are qualified to provide immunisations (vaccinations), treatment of wounds, and provide advice about contraception and stopping smoking.
What to expect when you arrive for your appointment
It is really important you keep your appointment and arrive on time. If you think you cannot attend the appointment you need to call the GP practice as soon as you can.
This is really important so they can give the appointment to someone else. Be aware, if you arrive late your appointment will be cancelled.
When you arrive at the GP Practice you must tell the person on the reception desk you have arrived so they know you are there.
Some practices have a computer screen you can use to do this.
The receptionist or computer will ask you to confirm your name, address and date of birth.
After this, you will need to wait until your name is called for your appointment.
Be aware, if the GP practice is particularly busy, sometimes there can be a delay with appointments.
What happens in your appointment
Appointments usually last for about 10 minutes.
Usually there is only enough time to talk about one health problem.
If you have more than one problem you want to talk about, it is a good idea to decide which is the most important.
You may have enough time to talk about two problems in your appointment, but often the GP will advise you to make another appointment.
Each appointment is for one person only.
You can not bring other family members to ask about their health problems in the same appointment.
It can be helpful to write down what you want to ask the GP or nurse and take it into your appointment to remind you.
If you don’t understand anything the GP or nurse tells you, you should ask them to explain it again.
It is also a good idea to take notes so you can remember what they told you and look for further information if you need it.
Your GP or nurse may also make you an appointment to see a specialist, for example in a hospital, if your health problem needs further treatment or tests.
You will receive a letter in the post with the details. It may offer you the choice of where to go for the treatment.