Signposting – What to Expect
Ashfield Medical Practice
Booking an appointment – An explanation of signposting.
Your NHS now offers lots of community services and self-care options that you can access without needing to see your GP first.
When you request an appointment at the surgery, a receptionist will ask you the reason why you are calling. If you tell us the reason for your call, the receptionist might be able to give you information about services or self-care options that you could access for your symptoms – for example the minor ailments service at your local pharmacy.
You do not have to say what your symptoms are if you don’t want to, but if you do it might get you the help and information that you need more easily and quickly.
* Receptionists are NOT trying to be doctors or make medical assessments and they are duty bound to respect your confidentiality, in exactly the same way the GPs are.*
When you telephone the surgery to book an appointment, the receptionist will ask you the following question:
Can I ask the reason for your appointment today?
This is because the receptionist has a number of different options and types of appointments available, and can direct you to the most appropriate option for your specific problem. The best option might be to go to the pharmacy, opticians, dentist, or if you do need an appointment it might be the Practice Nurse is the best trained person to help, or perhaps another member of our clinical team.
This way, when you really do need to see a GP, there will be a free appointment for you and the GP will have more time to spend with you. The following table may help you understand the choices available.
We very much hope that this system will make the best use of the services available both at the Practice and in the wider community.
For further information, please see the NHS inform website –
Any eye problems
Any issues with teeth, mouth ulcers, abscesses
Acne, Athletes foot, Backache, Bites and Stings, Chicken Pox, Cold sores, Colic, Conjunctivitis, Constipation, Coughs and Colds, Diarrhoea, Dry Eyes, Earache (less than 3 days), Haemorrhoids, Hay fever, Head lice, Indigestion, Nappy rash, Oral Thrush, Ringworm, Scabies, Sore throat, Teething, Threadworms, UTI, Vaginal Thrush.
Asthma, Contraception, COPD, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Hypertension, UTI (if the pharmacy can’t help)
Acute new onset chest pain, Difficulty breathing, Unconscious, Stroke, Fitting, Floppy ill child, Severe bleeding, Spinal injury, Severe allergic reaction, Head injury, Broken bones, Poisoning, Burns/scalds, Traumatic Injury, Road Traffic Accident, Sprain (unable to use limb), Nose bleed for longer than 20 minutes.
REMEMBER THAT THE GP IS NOT AN EMERGENCY SERVICE