What will happen when I contact the service?
When a patient or carer calls the out of hours service we will ensure that when clinical advice has been requested, an appropriately trained clinician (nurse, advanced nurse practitioner or general practitioner) contacts the caller, within 20 minutes for an urgent call or within an hour for all other calls. The call handler during the initial telephone call will advise the patient of this timescale.
When the clinician, either a GP or nurse, calls the patient back, they ask further questions about the patient’s condition to reach an initial diagnosis and determine what medical care they may need. We are then able to offer the patient a number of different options:
- We can give advice over the phone on how to manage their own care without the patient needing to see a GP or nurse in person. The majority of patients that contact us do not need anything more than this.
- We can offer the patient a face to face consultation with a clinician at our out of hours base.
- We can also offer the patient a face to face consultation in their own home, referred to as a home visit. This is usually only offered if the patient is very seriously ill or housebound and it is not appropriate for the patient to travel.
- If the patient is more seriously ill, the GP or nurse can refer patients to the hospital after discussing with the on call specialty doctor, or refer patients directly to the local A&E department.
- If the condition is not urgent they will be asked to contact their own GP for further care when the surgery is next open.
- We can signpost patients to the relevant facility, like a dental service.
The patient is always encouraged to ring the service back if their condition deteriorates.
Appointments at Waters Meeting Health Centre
If the patient is invited to attend for an appointment following the initial phone conversation then the clinician will advise the patient of the appointment time and the location of the service.
Patient information will be shared across the locations used by the out of hours service via a secure system in advance of the patient’s appointment.
When the outcome of the initial phone conversation indicates that the patient requires a home visit, the clinician will advise the patient of the estimated time in which the general practitioner will arrive at their home.
Reporting after consultation
Following a consultation we will communicate the outcome directly to the patient’s GP practice by 8.00a.m. on the following working day.