Accessing your GP

All primary care services (GP practices, dental practices, pharmacies and optometry providers) are open and people can continue to access them as they have throughout the pandemic.

Despite national restrictions easing recently, it is still mandatory for patients to wear face coverings in healthcare settings. This is to ensure patients and staff are protected against COVID-19.

Here’s what to expect when contacting your practice for an appointment:

General practice

Please contact your practice by phone or online to begin with. You will be assessed and offered a phone or video appointment, or a face to face appointment if you need one.

The majority of common conditions can be assessed and diagnosed by your doctor by telephone or video consultation. They are experienced and skilled in doing this.




Is my GP practice open?

Yes, your GP practice is open.

You can access GP services from your GP practice. Some of the ‘traditional’ ways of working have been adapted to protect you and staff from the potential risk of coronavirus. For example, how you access your GP practice building or how your appointment is undertaken might be different.


I would like a face-to-face appointment, when can I get this?

Not all conditions need to be seen by your GP in a face-to-face appointment.

When contacting your GP, you will undergo an assessment (called triaging) of your needs and to determine whether you may or may not have COVID-19 symptoms.

Based on this assessment your doctor or clinician will determine if you need a face-to-face appointment.

If safe and appropriate to do so a member of your practice clinical team may undertake your consultation via telephone or through a video consultation. This will help to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection to you and the practice staff.


How can my condition be properly diagnosed via telephone or video?

Lots of common conditions can be diagnosed using mobile devices, telephone or video thanks to the experience of your GPs and their ability to recognise the signs and symptoms of conditions from the information you provide. However, if they judge that it is safer and more appropriate to organise a face-to-face appointment for you then this will be arranged.


What if I can’t or don’t want to use video technology for an appointment?

If for a number of reasons, you aren’t able to have an appointment via video technology then your GP will arrange an alternative option – either a phone call, or a face-to-face appointment for you.


Can I still access other services from my surgery, such as ante-natal appointments for example?

Services such as ante-natal clinics, all vaccination programmes for example child and baby immunisations, and hormone injections for patients with prostate cancer have remained in place throughout the pandemic. If you are unsure what the arrangements are, please contact the service directly.

Before you attend your appointment, you will be assessed to see if you have any symptoms of covid-19. The helps keep you, other patients and practice staff safe.


Where else can I get help?

Your community pharmacy can support you with a wide range of minor ailments.

The majority of conditions can be assessed and diagnosed by your doctor by telephone or video consultation. They are experienced and skilled in doing this. Using technology like this will help to protect you, your family and loved ones – and GP practice staff from the potential risk of the virus.

If you need urgent help, use the 111 service either by telephone or online at NHS 111 online. Trained professionals are on hand to direct you to the best service for your needs and will be spoken to be a clinician if needed.

If it is a life-threatening emergency, you should call 999.

Last updated on 4 March 2022 at 13:01 by Meg Pugh