Getting the most out of your appointment




At East Cliff, we believe that you should be able to access high quality medical care in a timely manner, appropriate to the urgency of your problem. As a Practice, we are always looking for innovative ways to improve the service you receive, whether this is care of an ongoing problem or help with an acute illness. Nationally, patient demand for appointments is at an all time high, whilst at the same time there is a recruitment crisis in general practice. We have for some time been developing a number of alternative solutions that benefit both patients and GPs.

As an initiative to optimise appointment use, we have introduced a new service, The Acute Care Team. It is staffed by three acute care practitioners, each of whom is an experienced nurse with additional training (and experience) in the management of new problems.

Each day, this team will see the majority of patients withproblems that need to be seen that day. The Acute Care Practitioners work alongside one of the practice GPs on a rotational basis. The GP will be available for queries and to see the more complex patients and young children. The Acute Care Team will deal with your immediate medical need and will direct you towards your usual GP if any further care is needed.

Receptionists are busy and often have to deal with anxious and possibly unhappy patients. Being polite to them will encourage them to help you. 

  • Our telephones are very congested when we open at 8.00am, so you may find it easier to telephone later in the day
  • Monday mornings are always very busy – avoid them if you can
  • Please wait until later to call unless you need to see a doctor that morning
  • Only a small number of appointments are available to book with a specific Dr on the same day
  • Requests for test results should be made after 2pm
  • We do not take requests for repeat prescriptions over the telephone
  • Please allow 3 clear working days for us to process your prescription request

Routine Appointments

In response to our patient survey results, we now offer a greater number of pre-bookable appointments and these can be booked up to four weeks ahead. This does however mean that there will be fewer appointments reserved for booking on the day for a specific doctor so it is advisable to pre-book your appointment to help you get an appointment that suits you. Please bear in mind that some doctors work part time and maynot be available on the days you have requested.


Why should you book in advance?

If you have long-term health problems we strongly recommend you see the same doctor wherever possible. If you do this you will not need to keep explaining your problems and the doctor is more likely to get to the bottom of your problems quickly. We would recommend that you book ahead:

  • If your condition is on-going
  • For Medication reviews
  • For continuation sick notes
  • For follow-up appointments NB: if the doctor asks you to come back for review try to book your next appointment at reception before you leave or as soon as you get home if you have to consult your diary

If you wish to speak to a Doctor by Telephone

We offer Telephone consultations and we have a small number of telephone consultations available for each doctor which can be booked in advance or on the day subject to availability.


Preparing for your routine appointment.

To make the best use of your 10 minute appointment, it is a good idea to spend a little time before the appointment preparing:

  • If you have a number of problems it is worth letting the doctor know at the beginning of your appointment
  • Try to prioritise the problems and start with the most troublesome one first
  • Please do not “save up” multiple problems for one appointment. A ten minute appointment really isn’t time to deal with more than one or possibly two problems effectively
  • Whenever possible we will try to deal with your problem within one appointment
  • Sometimes it is safer to ask you to book another appointment rather than attempt to hurry.

In order to keep the surgery running as smoothly as possible, please remember the following:

  • Please let us know if you cannot keep your appointment (so that another patient may benefit)
  • Please do not expect the doctor to “squeeze in” other members of your family at the same time as this means less attention being given to each person
  • Please be punctual for your appointment

If you are late the receptionist will ask if the nurse or doctor can fit you in between appointments later in the surgery but you may have to re-book to avoid keeping others waiting even

Occasionally, due to the unpredictable nature of the problems we deal with, you may be kept waiting. We try to keep to appointment times, but inevitably some patients require more time than others. There will be occasions when an emergency may also cause us to run late. If you are kept waiting, please be patient. On the next occasion it may be you who requires more of the doctor's time.


Text Message Reminders

If you would like us to remind you about your appointment by text message please complete the request form available at Reception.


Dental Problems

Your GP has little experience in dealing with dental problems. You should always consult a qualified dentist for ALL dental problems. If you do not have a NHS Dentist the PCT can assist you in finding one. Your doctor will not routinely issue antibiotics for dental problems without you first consulting a dentist.

NHS Dental Helpdesk is open 8.00am - 5.00pm Mon - Fri

  • Contact number 0300 330 1348.
  • Dentaline contact number 01634 890300.

Cancelling Appointments

Patients who persistently fail to attend appointments without cancelling will receive a letter from the practice manager and may be removed from the surgery list if the problem continues.