To contact GP Out-of-Hours you can:
Phone your GP Surgery and the phone number for GP Out-of-Hours will be on the answering machine or your call may be put through directly to GP Out-of-Hours
Contact GP Out-of-Hours directly if you know the phone number.
When you telephone GP Out-of-Hours, you will be asked for the patient’s name, address, date of birth, name of GP and the reason for your call. If your call is very urgent please tell the person taking your call. A doctor or nurse will telephone you back. Details of your contact with GP Out-of-Hours will generally be passed back to your registered GP by the next day.
The doctor or nurse will do one of the following actions:
1. Advice - Give you advice over the telephone. (This may include asking you to go to a Pharmacy to collect a prescription or asking you to contact your normal GP Surgery when it is next open.)
2. Centre – You may be asked to attend an Out-of-Hours Centre or advised to go directly to an Emergency Department or Minor Injuries Unit.
3. Home Visit – Arrange for the relevant health professional to visit you at home.
4. Other – You may be redirected to a more appropriate service e.g. 999, nurse, mental health professional, social worker etc
All calls will be returned as soon as possible, ideally within one hour. The doctor or nurse will deal with the most urgent first so for non-urgent cases there may be a little wait. If the patient gets worse it is very important that you phone back and let us know. In the event that you are not called back within one hour of phoning GP Out-of-Hours please contact us again.
All telephone calls plus subsequent follow up calls are recorded for training, monitoring and audit purposes.
If the doctor needs to see you and thinks you are fit to travel you will be asked to come to an Out-of-Hours centre at a given time. Each centre is fully equipped, safe and secure, so your doctor will have the best opportunity to diagnose and treat your illness. A doctor can see several patients in a centre in the time it would take to carry out one home visit. This means that the doctor's time is used more efficiently and they are better able to respond quickly to emergencies if they should arise.
You should go to the Out-of-Hours Centre only if you have been given an appointment. Please do not simply attend one of the centres as they are not staffed all the time and turning up without an appointment could lead to unnecessary delays in your treatment.
A home visit will be arranged if necessary and appropriate. However home visits are reserved for special and urgent circumstances such as very elderly / bed bound patients, very ill people or where travelling may make the condition significantly worse.
In an emergency you should dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.
Are doctors obliged to make house calls as part of their NHS contract?
A doctor has never been obliged to make house calls. The family doctor's contract states that in the case of an emergency the doctor must offer a consultation but it is up to the doctor to decide where the consultation takes place. When you are fit to travel, a properly equipped medical centre is always a better place to deal with your illness.
If you need any medication immediately you will be given a prescription to take to a local pharmacy. However, in emergencies you may be given medication in an Out-of-Hours Centre that will cover you until the pharmacy is next open.
All telephone calls to and from GP Out-of-Hours are recorded. All GP Out-of-Hours providers are computerised and registered under the Data Protection Act 1998. Confidentiality is of utmost importance. It is a legal requirement that all staff maintain confidentiality of patients' records. Information about you will not be passed onto any unauthorised person. CCTV cameras are in operation in some GP Out-of-Hours Centres.
GP Out-of-Hours aims to provide a high quality service. However, if for any reason you are unhappy with the care you receive or would like to give a compliment or make a suggestion about GP Out-of-Hours in your area contact your service provider.
Patient satisfaction surveys are carried out on the service. This gives valuable feedback on the service provided. Your participation and help would be appreciated should you be contacted.