How do I book an appointment?
You can book an appointment by calling the surgery on 01332 856050. When booking, please let the member of staff know if you would prefer a telephone or face-to-face consultation. (Currently over 75% of our appointments are face-to-face). If you need an appointment on the same day, please call as close to 8.15 as you are able to. For pre-bookable appointments, our telephone lines tend to be quieter after 11am.
We are currently reviewing our online booking offer and will update the website if we are able to offer online booking.
Please remember - Telephone consultations are appointments. Each call is allocated an appointment and there is no such thing as "a quick chat with the doctor". The clinician will still need to open your record, read your notes, take notes and update your record after the call. This takes the time of an appointment slot.
If you need a home visit, requests should be made before 10:30 am. Home visit requests will be reviewed by the duty GP and triaged over the telephone first. Requests may be passed on to our acute home visiting service.
Why am I asked to tell a receptionist what my problems are?
Our Patient Services Team who answer your call will ensure we put you with the most appropriate clinician or service. Sometimes it’s more appropriate for you to see a nurse or other clinician for some conditions.
If all routine appointments have gone, we have to give appointments based on urgent clinical need. Each day one of our GPS acts as the On-call GP (often referred to as the Duty GP). This is the doctor who can see urgent patients with serious (but not life-threatening) issues. The staff member will be assessing your conditions according to safe signposting and will be trying to ensure you can see a clinician as quickly as you need – even if that means you might not necessarily be coming to the surgery but may be advised that an urgent care centre is the place you need to go to.
In addition, some issues might need a longer appointment, so we are trying to ascertain if you need a longer consultation.
We understand some issues can be personal, but our staff are bound by the strictest confidentiality rules, and we are asking these questions in order to give you the safest possible care.
Why can I not always book a same day appointment on the day I call?
We typically offer more than 1,200 appointments each week, but our capacity is not infinite. We offer as many appointments as we safely can. There are currently 3 different appointment types:
- Same day appointments, released when the phone line opens at 8.15 for same-day need
- 4 days in advance – for patients who need a bit more notice to get time off work or to arrange childcare.
- Pre-bookable up to 6 weeks in advance for those who have a long-term condition which needs regular monitoring, for patients with non-urgent queries, or patients who have been asked by the GP to come back for a review in a defined time period.
We try to ensure there is an appropriate mix of these appointments. We know that demand still outstrips supply, but we have maximised the number of each type of appointment balanced with current need.
Why am I being signposted to somewhere other than my own GP surgery?
In 2022, we offered over 62,000 appointments at the practice, 77% of which were face-to-face. Unfortunately, Primary Care in the UK is under unprecedented pressure.
In April 2016, NHS England produced, “The General Practice Forward View”, which introduced 10 High Impact Actions for GP practices. Number one on this list was “Active Signposting” which is defined by the NHS as “providing patients with a first point of contact, which directs them to the most appropriate source of help”. Our Patient Services team are all trained in active signposting and this may mean that - especially when we have no same-day appointments available - you may be signposted to, NHS 111, Urgent Care Centres (Walk-in centres), a different Leicestershire NHS service or a local pharmacy for appropriate care. We use the NHS’s CPCS (Community Pharmacy Consultation Service) for a defined list of minor ailments that we should refer to the local pharmacists and so an appointment might be made for you at a local pharmacy for some conditions.
Why is it so hard to get through on the phone?
We currently have 20 phone lines coming into the surgery. This means that up to 20 people can be attempting to make incoming or outgoing calls at any one time. At busy times, all 20 lines can be in use, and at this point people ringing in will receive an engaged tone. Where there is a line available, you will receive a message telling you what queue position you are in. At busy times, it’s not just reception staff, but our entire patient services team who can answer your call, so please do stay on the line, we will answer as soon as we can and hanging up will mean losing your place in the queue.
If you are calling to chase a hospital appointment, please note that we will not have any further information on appointments than you have, so please call the hospital direct.
Don’t forget, if you have a Smartphone, it can be quicker to download the NHS App to order repeat prescriptions or find out about local healthcare services
For any non-urgent queries, you might prefer to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve received a letter/ text saying “book a routine appointment”, what does this mean?
A routine appointment simply means it’s non-urgent and you will need a pre-bookable appointment. The letter will often outline the timescales to make the appointment for (eg in 2 weeks or 6 weeks etc). We can usually book up to 6 weeks in advance, although we know sometimes all our pre-bookable appointments are full when demand is very high, so we may ask you to call back nearer the time so we can use a same-day appointment. We recognise how frustrating this is, but please be assured that where the GP needs to see your urgently, we would notify you of this.
If there are appointments free tomorrow why can’t I book one now, why must I call back tomorrow at 8.15?
Every day we reserve a number of appointments for same-day consultations. This is to help us care for the most vulnerable and the most unwell patients who need to be seen quickly.
We recognise that knowing appointments are available the following day and being unable to book them can be frustrating. However, we also know that we are also faced with the same frustration when people call up needing a same day appointment and there is none available.
When demand is greater than supply for any service, compromises have to be made and every GP surgery in the UK has to balance offering pre-bookable appointments with saving enough for same-day appointments.
GP surgeries are not an emergency service and if you need urgent care, Urgent Care centres are the appropriate place and this is why we may redirect you there when we have no appointments available.
How do I order a repeat Prescription?
There are a number of ways to order a repeat prescription:
- via the NHS app,
- by emailing us at email@example.com
- By contacting us via Accurx here: Accurx Online Select "I have an Admin Query"
- Via SystmOnline
- If you cannot use any of the above methods, you can still order using the paper counterfoil on your printed prescription
See the Prescriptions page of the website for full details: https://www.castledoningtonsurgery.co.uk/prescriptions
I’ve just found out I’m pregnant, what do I need to do?
Congratulations, we know this is an exciting time for you and you may have lots of questions, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Please come into the surgery and pick up a pregnancy form, or you can print one from here: University Hospitals of Leicester Maternity Services - Pregnancy Form Complete this and return it to the surgery and we will notify the midwife of your pregnancy.
You will not necessarily need a GP appointment at this stage if your pregnancy is progressing normally and you have no concerns or worrying symptoms. The midwife will be in touch and you will be given an appointment for when you are 8 – 10 weeks pregnant, the midwife will inform you of where this will take place. If you are more than 10 weeks now, they will make this appointment as soon as possible.
Why can’t I always see the same doctor every time?
Like most GP practices, Castle Donington employs a team of clinicians with a variety of specialities & experience. Most UK GPs now work part-time and there is a nationwide shortage of doctors, and as a result, it is now much harder to ensure that you can always see the same GP, especially if your need for a consultation is urgent.
We will always try to take into account your GP preference, and will endeavour to book you in with the clinician of your choice. However, if you need to see someone before that doctor is available, we will book you in with an alternative clinician.
Please be assured that the doctor you see will have full access to all your notes and records and will be able to see the contents of consultations you have had previously.
I just need a quick chat with the doctor, why are you insisting on an appointment?
There is no such thing as “A quick chat with the doctor”. Every interaction with a patient requires the GP or clinician to open the patient record, check the notes and make a written record of the conversation with the patient in the patient notes. All of this requires the time of a consultation slot, which is why it requires an appointment.
I can’t find an NHS dentist can I see the doctor instead?
GPs are not trained or experienced in dealing with dental issues and often patients require dental surgical intervention, which GPs cannot provide. For example, a patient with an abscess will often need the infection to be drained or the tooth taken out; GPs can do neither procedure.
To find a dentist, please visit https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/dentists/how-to-find-an-nhs-dentist/
You can get help from NHS 111 or NHS 111 online if you have severe pain, heavy bleeding, swelling of your mouth, throat, neck or eye. You should go to A&E in serious circumstances, such as injuries to the face, mouth or teeth, severe or increasing swelling in your mouth, throat or neck, making it difficult to breathe, swallow or speak.
I’ve had a private consultation / assessment, will the NHS now take over my care, or enter into a shared care agreement?
The Practice will consider all requests for shared care agreements with third parties, including private providers. For full details of what to expect following a private consultation or assessment, please see the Practice statament here:
Is it possible to have a chaperone at my appointment?
Yes. All patients, of any gender, are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure, not just those of an intimate nature. Patients may request a chaperone at any point before or during the appointment. For our full statement see https://castledoningtonsurgery.co.uk/chaperone-policy
Can you visit me at home?
As home visits take significantly longer than an appointment at the surgery or a telephone appointment, we can only offer home visits to genuinely house-bound patients. Home visit requests should be made before 10.30am and will be triaged by the On-call doctor first via a phone call.
Requests may be passed to the DHU acute home visiting service when we are unable to undertake all home visits requested
How can I give you feedback, give a compliment or make a complaint?
We value all feedback and whilst we appreciate compliments, we understand sometimes patients also want to give us feedback that helps us improve. You can do this either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting
https://castledoningtonsurgery.co.uk/feedback--complaints and completing the online form.
Why is the surgery closed for staff training? And when is it closed?
Every GP surgery across the UK is allowed to close for one afternoon each month for “Protected Learning Time, known as “PLT”. During this time, our phone lines will divert to an out-of-hours provider.
PLT allows staff to learn about new clinical developments, updates to national guidance, and best practice in healthcare. It also gives us dedicated time to share experience and knowledge between staff.
Fundamentally, PLT is about improving patient care by providing a dedicated learning time for healthcare professionals away from their busy day-to-day primary care work.
PLT at Castle Donington currently takes place on the third Thursday of every month except August and December.
Why is there not a second doctors’ surgery in Castle Donington now that the population has increased?
The population of Castle Donington has been steadily increasing for some time, and we would welcome an additional surgery in our area. To enable us to continue to safely care for our patients we recently reduced the catchment area of the surgery and will no longer accept new patients from some villages further afield such as Sawley, Long Whatton, or Weston on Trent. Whilst no one who was a patient on the day the catchment area was changed will be expected to leave the surgery if they now reside outside the new boundary, if patients later move to addresses outside the new boundary they will need to register elsewhere. This is helping us to manage our patient numbers safely.
We are aware that a number of residents have heard that we refused to let another GP surgery in Castle Donington. This is untrue, and couldn’t be the case because:
- GP surgeries have absolutely no say in when and where other surgeries open, that is a decision for the ICB (Integrated Care Board).
- The population of Castle Donington has been increasing in the last decade and we know that demand for our services is at an unprecedented level. We know that another surgery in the village would ease pressure on our service and be beneficial for everyone. We would welcome another GP surgery in the village and would never raise an objection.
Unfortunately, to the best of our knowledge, the ICB have not put forward any plans to fund a second surgery. We are monitoring this closely and we do know that a re-assessment of the local population needs is underway at the moment.
Why am I not offered annual PSA screening for prostate cancer?
There is no national NHS PSA screening programme. Men can request a PSA blood test for prostate cancer and we recommend reading the NHS information on this test here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-cancer/should-i-have-psa-test/
You can request a blood test, but the NHS advises this should happen only after a consultation with a GP. During the consultation you will be able to discuss your reasons for wanting a test, note any significant family history or other risk factors and what symptoms, if any, you have. The GP may want to examine you and they would also be able to discuss the pro and cons of having the test.