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Frequently asked questions !

Why do you have an 0844 telephone number?  

Do I have to see one particular practitioner?

How do I make an appointment?

Why can I not always book an appointment “on line”?

Why do I have to phone back after 8am to be offered an appointment?

Why do I have to obtain a prescription for a travel vaccination?

Why O844?

The 0844 number is charged at a rate of 5pence (+vat) per minute from ANYWHERE in the UK… this is less than the cost of a slice of bread! We have used this facility as it allows us to add and remove additional telephone lines without the need ever to change the practice telephone number – something which results in less confusion for patients.  Patients should also consider that the costs to us of phoning patients has increased considerably as more and more reliance is made on mobile phones – which can cost us sometimes over a £1 a call to contact patients about medical results etc.  We believe that 5p a minute is not a significant amount of money to pay … appointments can be made over the internet now which is less costly for those with internet access. 

Seeing other practitioners

While all patients have a “nominal” practitioner with whom they are officially registered, patients are welcome to see any of the other practitioners – we have two female doctors (Dr Wilson and Dr Preuveneers) and three male doctors (Dr Higson, Williamson and Jani). We also have three female nurses who have specific skills.  If you are not satisfied with the care or service provided by one practitioner, you are welcome to attend any of the others – however not all practitioners work every day of the week, although there are usually at least two different practitioners working every day. 

For those (few) patients who obviously are not satisfied with the personality of the doctors or their perception of the care that they have received from us the sensible option would be to register with another practice as caring for your health does require confidence in the practitioner offering you that care. To register with another practice, you need to contact that practice. At the time of writing ALL practices in HOVE are officially accepting new registrations. Information on practices in the area can be obtained from www.nhs.uk

How do I make an appointment?

Appointments may be made in person by attending either practice (the appointment systems are linked electronically so that you can make appointments for one site at the other if you wish) or by telephoning on 0844 477 0925. You can also make appointments over the internet through our website – go to the link 

Why are appointments on line restricted?

When we set up the “templates” for our appointment books on the computer database we can specify whether the appointment can be made available “on line” or whether it is only available to personal or telephone callers. If we had availability both online and to personal callers then there would be potential for “double booking” as the online database is reconciled with the practice computer database only once every 20 minutes. We have the facility of making an appointment available online until a set time period before the actual appointment time and date. We therefore allocate a certain percentage of appointments to be available online until “two days before”, “one day before” and “the morning before” at which point they are released to our receptionists for personal booking.  We are constantly juggling and changing this type of availability as more patients use the online facility. You will often find that if you cannot book a suitable appointment by telephone, then one may well be bookable online

While the other doctors tend to have regular planned surgery sessions, Dr Higson (who has the ultimate responsibility in the practice to ensure that adequate appointments are available), varies and changes his appointments on an almost daily basis to maximise the access for patients – hence he does not tend to open his appointments books usually more than 2- 4 weeks ahead. At certain times of the year, Dr Higson also has to accommodate various health service inspections and meetings which require the use of the consulting room… thus while he tries to ensure that future appointments are available to book, there will be times when this is not possible.

We cannot open Nursing appointments up onto the online system as the nurses need different appointment duration for different activities – a diabetic review appointments needs a lot more time than removing a single suture for example.  The nurses also have different specialist skills and it is essential that appropriate appointments are booked with the appropriate person.

In summary … appointments are available on line but will vary day to day and by practitioner…. If you are not able to find what you want one day – it may well be worth trying the next day

Being asked to phone back from 8am

You will often find that you are asked to telephone back for an appointment if you specify that you require it on a particular day – usually “the next day” – or on a Friday.  This is partly due to the freeing up of online appointments as explained in the answer to the previous question above and also by the need to ensure that there are adequate appointments available for patients who become ill on Friday who cannot otherwise wait until Monday.  If you take at look at the ONLINE appointments you may find that there is something suitable for you without the need to phone back.

Travel vaccines

The provision of travel vaccines is a complicated aspect of NHS law…. you are allowed to obtain, at NHS cost, treatments or vaccines for diseases which can be caught in the UK. This includes such diseases as Typhoid but excludes Rabies, Malaria, Yellow Fever and Japanese B Encephalitis for example.  We ask you to submit us a travel vaccine request form in order that we can advise you and, if necessary, prescribe for you vaccines that are not stocked at the practice.

As a convenience to patients we stock some of the more frequently required vaccines. Those that are not held in stock will need to  be obtained by prescription, kept cool in the refrigerator, and brought by appointment for administration.

Please note that those vaccines or treatments which are not allowed on the NHS will require a private prescription for which you will have to pay for the whole cost of the drug/vaccine at the pharmacy.