Primary Care Services
Who Should I See?
Click below on your language for a printable quick reference sheet:
When you consider that GP practices across Wales have over 19 million consultations each year, it is no surprise that patients sometimes find it difficult to get an appointment. Practices are often completely overwhelmed by patient demand for appointments and at present have no more capacity to resolve the issue. GP practices across Wales face the challenge of providing the highest level of primary healthcare with finite resources.
Here we outline ways in which together we can achieve this goal.
Does this mean I shouldn't ring my GP?
Absolutely not. GPs want to be able to use their skills and expertise for those patients that we need to see the most.
How do I get the most out of my appointment?
Appointment systems are different between GP practices but most offer appointments with doctors and nurses as well as telephone consultations and home visits for patients who are terminally ill or housebound. If you have several issues that you want to discuss inform the receptionist as you may require an extended appointment. Why not make a list and bring it with you as this will assist you when explaining symptoms to the clinician.
Don't be upset if the receptionist asks for some details about why you want to be seen when you are making your appointment.
They are just trying to make sure that you do not need to see someone urgently or have a life threatening illness and to ensure that you are able to see the correct person as soon as possible. If you are calling from a public place and can’t speak freely then tell them – they will understand. If you need an interpreter then let us know in advance. If you just want someone to come with you to the appointment then that’s fine also. Make sure you tell your clinician about any ’over the counter’ medication or herbal remedies or vitamins as sometimes these can interact with medicines we may prescribe. If you are not taking the medication that a doctor has prescribed please tell us that also.
Don't be surprised if the doctor asks to examine you.
Sometimes you will be asked to come back for a follow-up appointment if it’s not immediately clear what the cause of your problem is. This is perfectly normal. If you want to ask questions, then please feel free to do so. You may also find it helpful to write down the things that we have talked about. At the end of your appointment you should be clear on what needs to happen next if your problem needs further tests or a follow-up appointment. Please make separate appointments for other family members; we don’t like rushing through our patients and being asked to take a "quick look" can lead to mistakes or important signs being missed. Whilst we always try to run our appointments to time sometimes this is impossible as some patients may need just a bit more time than we or they had planned for. We hope that you can understand when this situation arises.
Please try to keep the appointment you have made or tell us in advance if the appointment is no longer needed or you are not able to attend.
Life Threatening Problem.
Ring the ambulance service on 999 if you are suffering from chest pains, shortness of breath, significant bleeding, or severe abdominal pain. Acute Accident or Emergency but you don’t need a 999 ambulance. You can attend the Emergency Department at Morriston Hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Self Care / Health Information and Advice.
For Health Information and Advice - Call 111 - FREE. If you think that your problem doesn’t need a health or social care professional but you are unsure how to manage your problem yourself then telephoning the 111 Service (Previously NHS Direct Wales) 1 1 1 FREE may be helpful. They will be able to advise you if you need to see a health care professional. You can also access local information via the Healthy City Directory website www.healthycity.co.uk.
We’ would also recommend that you keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet for minor illnesses such as colds and sore throats.
Dental Problems are best dealt with by a dentist. Either contact your own regular dentist during the daytime to book an appointment or contact the Dental Out of Hours service via NHS Direct Wales during evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays 0845 46 47. If you do not have a regular dentist and have dental pain contact NHS Direct Wales and they can assist you in getting an appointment. If you have had a facial trauma, bleeding following treatment that isn’t stopping or a facial swelling that is affecting your eye or your airway you should go to the Emergency Department.
Eye Problems. Optometrists offer the Welsh Eye Care Scheme which is a rapid access full eye assessment (usually within 24 hours) for acute eye problems and is free of charge. www.eyecarewales.nhs.uk website explains all of the services they can offer.
Stress Problems. There is an excellent book prescription service available in Wales that your GP can prescribe for a variety of conditions.
Social Problems. If you or a loved one needs help with social issues such as personal care then you can contact the City and County of Swansea Social Services team. You do not need a GP referral to do this. Age Concern and Red Cross have an invaluable wealth of resources as well. For debt or other problems Citizens Advice Bureau are an excellent resource. You can also access the Samaritans if something is troubling you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 08457 90 90 90.