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West Wittering Medical Centre - Doctor First Triage

Thursday, April 18, 2019

On 29 April 2019 we will be introducing a new appointment system, known as “Doctor First Triage”.

Doctor First Triage is a method by which any requests to see a doctor will be allocated to the triage screen, and the patient will receive a same day phone call by a GP. This will enable the GPs to determine which problems can be resolved by phone and which patient’s need a same day face to face appointment. The aim will be to see all patients who need to be seen in person on the day they phone or on a mutually convenient day.

How will it work?

When you telephone for an appointment with a doctor or if you come into the surgery to make an appointment with a doctor, our receptionist will take your telephone number and a doctor will call you back that day.

The Doctor will assess your clinical need and either deal with it on the telephone or, if necessary, make an appointment for you to be seen.

Other appointments, such as blood tests or to see a Practice Nurse can be booked directly with our Receptionists.

The receptionists will still be able to book all nurse and HCA appointments and will be able to send prescription requests to the GPs and give patient results (where appropriate) over the phone. If a GP feels that a follow up appointment is required then a phone or face to face appointment will be made by the GP at the initial consultation.

Minor operations, joint injections, contraception, baby checks and chronic disease review clinics will remain pre-bookable.

Why is the appointment system changing?

To improve access - There were 3485 wasted appointments in 2018 where patients did not turn up for their appointments.

To optimise GP appointments - With an ever developing workforce less complicated needs can be dealt with by other members of the health care team.

Reduce waiting times - Feedback from patients in the past has highlighted that there is a difficulty seeing a GP within an appropriate time.

We will regularly review this process to ensure that it is achieving the goals and expectations that we set. We are committed to listening to feedback and working with patients to improve and develop our service and minimise risks.

Will it to stop me getting an appointment?

No, not at all – “Doctor First Triage” will ensure that all the patients that need to be seen are seen by an appropriate health care professional. It is also a tool for which a telephone consultation can be used to appropriately manage patient’s concerns even if an appointment is not required

How will it benefit me, the patient?

  • There is no need to phone at 8:30am to get an appointment; we know how frustrating this can be
  • There is no advantage to queuing up for a green ticket at 8am; you will be given a telephone call slot alongside the other patients who have phoned in
  • You will be able to see a doctor sooner according to your clinical need
  • You can be confident that our system is fair to all patients on the basis of clinical needs
  • You will not have to deal with a confusing appointment system. This one is simple
  • It is possible to book a telephone triage appointment with your doctor using our online service. If you are not registered for the online service and would like to be, please attend the medical centre and our receptionists will be happy to arrange it for you.

Home Visits

The GP will visit you at home, as before after speaking with a doctor first.

Out of Hours

If you need help or advice and the situation cannot reasonably wait until the surgery re-opens telephone 111 to contact the NHS111 Out of Hours Service – all calls to this number are free from landlines and mobiles.

Please do not go directly to the treatment centre as appointments are strictly by invitation and you may be refused access. All telephone conversations with the Out Of Hours Centre are recorded for your own protection.

In a life threatening emergency you should still dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Sickness Certificates

You do not require a ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’ (previously known as a ‘Sickness Certificate) for any illness lasting 7 days or less.  Your employer may, however, require you to complete a self-certification form SC1 (SC2 if self-employed) which they must provide, available from

For any illness lasting longer than 7 days you will need to speak to the doctor for them to issue a ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’ (Form Med3).

Thank You for your Patience

We recognise that there will be teething problems changing to this system and ask you to bear with us whilst we establish whether this will be an effective way of ensuring that all our patients get fair access to medical advice and treatment. We are keen to hear any constructive feedback during this process.