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How to get an appointment when you need one

Tips to help you get the right help when you need it.

We understand that it is not always easy to get an appointment at your GP practice. Demand for GP services is greater now than ever before. In the city we are seeing more than two million patients every year, that’s an increase of 30 per cent compared with five years ago.

Primary care is changing and there are now different ways of getting health advice, so here are some tips to help you get the right help when you need it:

  • Ask yourself, do you really need to see a GP? Practices now have a range of other professionals who can help, such as advanced nurse practitioners and nurse prescribers.
  • Local pharmacists are very knowledgeable about which medicines are best to treat minor illnesses and whether they will conflict with any existing medication you are taking. They can also offer advice on how to treat common health conditions – and if they think you need to see a GP they will tell you.
  • When you contact your GP practice for an appointment, expect to be asked some questions: The receptionist might ask you to tell them a bit more about why you are calling, so that they can make an appointment with the most appropriate person.
  • If possible, try ringing outside of the busier times – avoid calling first thing in the morning. You can also go online to book appointments, you don’t need to make a phone call. Ask your practice how to register for online services so that you book and cancel appointments online at any time.
  • You will not usually need to see the same GP each time, because your medical record can be seen by every professional in your GP practice. If you really need to see a particular GP, it might take longer before you can get an appointment with them.
  • If you’re registered at a Leicester City GP practice and you need to see someone urgently, but your practice cannot fit you in, ask them to make you an appointment at one of Leicester’s Healthcare Hubs. They are open every day, including evenings and weekends and you can usually be seen on the same day.
  • If you’re not sure what service you need, and you need advice straight away, call NHS111 or go online 111.nhs.uk.  They are open 24 hours a day and in some circumstances can even book an appointment for you if they decide you need one.