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Frequently Asked Questions

‘Hello, this is Oak Tree Surgery. How can we help you?’


I am no good talking about my problems on the telephone. I would like to see someone.

The receptionist can book you a telephone call back with a doctor. When the doctor calls you please mention that you would like to see the doctor face to face. Even at the end of a telephone call back if you feel in any way unhappy and still wish to be seen, please mention this to the doctor.

What if I am deaf or a patient has difficulty communicating?                            

We are aware that some patients may have specific physical or psychological problems which mean that they genuinely cannot benefit from a Telephone Triage system.  Patients or carers of patients who believe they fall into this category should arrange to speak with their doctor to receive an individual exemption from use of the system, if appropriate. 

The receptionist asked me for a brief explanation of the problem. I am not happy with this.                                                  

It helps the doctor to have an explanation of the problem. It may also be that the problem can be dealt with by someone else much quicker. For example sick note or chasing a hospital referral.

Do I need to phone early?

If you need a specific time it is better to ring early.

I work during the day and cannot receive phone calls at work except on my breaks.

You may request a specific time for the doctor to ring you on your break time or after work hours and the doctor will do their best to phone you at that time.

What if the doctor rings me back and I miss the phone call?

If you miss a phone call, the doctor will attempt to contact you three times. If you are concerned that the doctor has not rung please ring us back to check. Sometimes we may have the wrong number and by asking you to phone back, we ensure that contact is always made.

The doctors’ telephone number will show on your phone as a blocked / unknown number.

Will the doctor ring me on my mobile if that is what I ask?

Yes, as long as we have the right number we will ring you back. Please provide the receptionist with this number.

What if the doctor rings me on my mobile and I am in a place with no signal?

The doctor will make three attempts to contact you or you can ring us back if we have been unable to reach you.

Will the doctor leave a message on my voicemail or answering machine?

If your voicemail message is personalised, the doctor may leave a message if they have been unable to reach you. For automated or non-personalised voicemails this may not be appropriate. It would help if you could let the receptionists know if we can leave messages.

I don’t want to speak to a nurse. She cannot help                                     

Our nurses are highly trained and work closely with our doctors. They assess and treat a wide range of conditions. So it is not always necessary to see the doctor with your problem. Our Minor Illness Nurses have been specially trained to treat a range of conditions and are able to prescribe medication if needed.

I have phoned the surgery and am waiting for a call back but I feel things are getting worse, what do I do?                                  

If you feel you are getting worse and still waiting for a call, please phone us back.



Who decides if I need to be seen?

You and the doctor will assess the problem together during the telephone consultation.

What if I need to see the doctor in a few weeks?

If you phone the surgery on the day you need to speak to the doctor and you will be added to their telephone consultation list. They will phone you back that day.

I regularly see the doctor is this still possible?

Phone the surgery when you feel you need the doctor, you will be added to the doctors telephone consultation list. When the doctor calls you back you can discuss the matter together.

After the telephone consultation the doctor made me an appointment, can I cancel it?

Yes, if you need to cancel any appointment, for whatever reason, please let us know as soon as possible as we can then offer that appointment to another patient should they need it.

I usually have a home visit from the doctor                                                    

Your call will still be added to the doctors telephone consultation list and the doctor will phone you back. Together you will be able to discuss the problem and the doctor will visit you if it is necessary.

Can I still make an appointment with the nurse, healthcare assistant or phlebotomist?

Yes, these appointments are pre-bookable with the reception staff.

Can I book a telephone consultation at Reception?        

Yes you can.    

Can I book a telephone consultation in advance?

Yes you can. You can book a telephone consultation up to a month in advance.                                                                                                

I like seeing my doctor face to face. Why can’t I always have an appointment?                                                                              

When you speak to your doctor, you will discuss together what would be best and if you agree that a face to face consultation is right, they will arrange that for you.   You may choose to have your own doctor phone you when they are available or you may choose to see any doctor who is working that day.

I usually see my doctor each week/month and have done for some time. Will this change?                                                      

This will be for you and your doctor to discuss. Many of the regular appointments that now happen may be replaced with a telephone call instead, saving you a trip to the surgery. Your doctor will discuss the best plan of care with you, which may mean you do not always need to be seen as some of your continuing care may be provided over the phone.

What if I am late for my appointment?

If you are late for your appointment it will impact on other patients. In order for the clinicians to keep on time, you will be asked to rebook your appointment if you arrive more than 10 minutes late for your appointment. However, the Receptionist will always ask the doctor or nurse if they will see you (unless they have already indicated that this is not possible). You may have to wait until the end of the session as it would be unfair to those patients who have arrived on time to be delayed because you were late. We accept that on occasions the Doctor/Nurse can run late. This is because someone they have seen earlier has needed more time due to the complex nature of their problem. We ask for your understanding in these circumstances.

Can I see the same doctor?

Yes. You can always ask for a telephone call back with the doctor of your choice but because of their study/annual leave or the fact they work part time you may have to wait a bit longer.

My doctor is dealing with my problem. He knows me. I do not want to see anyone else.

You can always ask for a telephone call back with the doctor of your choice but because of their study/annual leave or the fact they work part time you may have to wait a bit longer. All clinicians in the practice have access to your medical records and can discuss this with you.

Am I registered with a particular doctor?

No. Patients are registered with the surgery and not with individual doctors. This means that you can choose from any of the doctors at the practice. You can also see the same doctor, bearing in mind their availability will be affected by their full time/part time status and their study/annual leave. We currently have a total of 10 doctors (6 males & 4 females) working at the surgery (one of whom is a doctor training to be a GP). 



Can I order my medication over the phone?                                                 

No. We ask patients to register with the waiting room. They can post in their request, order in-house or drop in our letterbox.  Patients can also order their prescriptions through the community pharmacies.

Why can’t I have two months prescription at a time?                                          

We used to issue three monthly prescriptions but evidence shows that this results in more wasted medication. This excess waste could be costing the NHS as much as £90,000. We appreciate that this will cause our patients some inconvenience, but we believe the benefits to the NHS are worthwhile.

Why does it take three working days to get a repeat prescription?

We handle a huge volume of repeat prescriptions every day. Each patient’s records need to be checked againsttherequest for medication. The prescription needs to be checked and double checked to ensure the right medication and dose is prescribed. Some patients can have 10 or more items on their request. All prescription requests are checked and must be authorised and signed by a doctor.



Getting Test Results

All test results are seen by a doctor. If any action is needed we will contact you either by phone or post asking you to book a Telephone Consultation or a Face to Face appointment.

If, however we have not contacted you and you would like to know your test results please ring the surgery.

Receptionists are not medically trained and cannot tell patients what any of their results mean unless a doctor has instructed them to do so.

They can tell you the results are back and pass on any comments the doctors have made e.g. 'no action needed' or 'book phone appointment'. If you then wish to speak to a doctor the receptionist can book you a telephone call back. We are unable to give test results to anyone other than the patient, except by prior arrangement. 

Minor Surgerypatients should ring the surgery after six weeks for results of any skin samples that have been sent to the Laboratory.


All our staff work very hard to try to provide the best possible health service for all our patients. Oak Tree has a Zero Tolerance Policy and therefore if you are abusive or violent towards any member of the Surgery staff either in person or on the telephone, you could be removed from our Practice list.

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