It is surprising how many medical queries, which have traditionally required surgery appointments, can be resolved by using a telephone consultation.
A good example might concern a medical condition which is already fairly well known to one or more of the doctors, where the need arises to clarify some issue, or report progress or otherwise of a particular treatment, discuss a test result, or to determine the next course of action. Administrative problems associated with such a condition can also often be resolved on the telephone.
The key factor is usually whether or not at least one of the doctors is already fairly familiar with you medical history, reducing the importance of an actual physical examination.
It may be feasible to give telephone advice regarding new medical conditions. This should certainly apply when the symptoms are clearly minor and not serious and patients may also wish to contact NHS Direct for assistance. Alternatively, we will try to help with the problem. Even if the symptoms are more major, telephone advice may still be appropriate, and this may depend whether, in the view of the doctor, the symptoms are likely to be self-limiting or to follow a predictable pattern.
It is rather difficult to generalise, but if you feel you want to avoid a surgery consultation and have a problem, which could possibly be resolved on the telephone, then contact the receptionist for further directions.
At present, we try to allocate time at each end of the day for telephone consultations.
Telephone consultations can be booked by ringing the main surgery number and ask the receptionist for a telephone consultation/encounter. The usual arrangement is that the doctor will then ring you on your home or mobile telephone number. The time will vary, depending on the doctor involved and their normal morning surgery schedule, but will typically be between 10:00 and 14:00. (although if they have patients that do not attend they may ring during the morning)
Clearly, it is preferable to try to speak to the doctor who is most familiar with your medical history and illness, although this will not always be possible.
Occasionally, if the surgery is very busy, the doctor may be unable to ring until the following day. If this is the case, we try to let patients know.
Also, if there are a very large number of requests for telephone advice, we may need to suggest that some patients make a surgery appointment.