Patients are expected to arrive in good time for their appointments, taking into account journey times when booking appointments. We offer a 10 minute consultation time for each booked appointment. We do understand that an occasional delay is unavoidable therefore if a patient arrives within a reasonable time then the clinician will see them. If patients arrive more than 10 minutes late, they have missed their appointment and will need to rebook. This is to prevent delays to the GP sessions and to ensure fairness for patients who have arrived on time.
We appreciate the effort our patients make to attend on time and therefore do our best to run as close to booked appointment times as possible. Adhering to a Late Patient Policy assists us in doing so. However, due to the nature of a GP surgery, sometimes the doctor or nurse may be running behind. This is generally because the clinician has needed to spend longer with a patient, for example if a patient presents with complex issues or there is a medical emergency. We continually monitor this and where a patient regularly presents with complex issues, allowances are made and extra time given to the consultation at the time of booking. We do ask that patients bear this in mind when waiting, as there may be an occasion in the future where they themselves need to spend extra time with the doctor.
When a patient is less than 10 minutes late:
The receptionist will book the patient in, but advise them they are late for their appointment and remind them that they must attend on time in the future. If applicable, the receptionist may advise them that the doctor is now seeing the next patient and that they may have an extended waiting time, as the doctor will see patients who arrived on time first.
When a patient is 10 or more minutes late:
Patients who arrive 10 or more minutes late have therefore missed their appointment. The receptionist will advise them to rebook a new routine appointment.
If the patient indicates that there is a medically urgent reason they need to see a doctor that day, the receptionist can ask the reason and may leave a message for the duty doctor, depending on the circumstances.
If a patient calls ahead to say they will be late, this does not alter the policy. If they are going to be more than ten minutes late, the receptionist will advise them on the phone that they should rebook, rather than waste a journey.
Receptionists are not permitted to interrupt doctors during surgery to request them to see late patients, so to avoid disappointment, please do not ask them to do so.
We run 3 commuter surgeries a week (ie early morning or evening clinics) to try and accommodate patients outside normal working hours.