Appointment System

All services in the practice are by appointment only. We do not offer a walk-in service. From 3rd of November 2014, we will be introducing a new appointment system called 'Dr First'. This is a system utilised by our doctors at James Street Family Practice, Louth where it has been well received by patients in terms of ease of access and general satisfaction. Dr First is an efficient method for managing patient demand by allowing patients rapid contact with a senior clinician, usually a GP. Instead of patients having to go through the lottery of 'fastest finger first' or jump through hoops to get an appointment, GPs use their medical knowledge to help people in order of clinical need.

The knock-on effects of 'Dr First' is to reduce inappropriate use of emergency and secondary care admissions and out-of-hours facilities and allows the receptionists’ to facilitate rather than filter patients’ journeys through the system of primary care.

By having a doctor talk to all patients, we are able to achieve a service that assesses patients on a clinical priority basis and give patients appointment lengths that much more closely match their need. This not only gives patients a better service individually, it also reduces the stress on doctors and staff and makes it much less likely that clinics overrun. Additionally, our system also enables patients to specify their clinician of choice, thus improving continuity of care.

All Nursing, Phlebotomy, and INR appointments are available to be pre-booked via reception up to two weeks in advance.

If you cannot keep your appointment, please notify the surgery as soon as possible as we can offer the appointment to someone else.

The Practice closes every Thursday from 2.00 - 3.00pm to allow for protected staff training.

Dr First - How it works

If you wish to make an appointment with your Doctor or need a home visit, please telephone the surgery preferably before 12 pm. The Receptionist will take a contact number and ask you who you normally see, so that your Doctor can call you back, enabling the Doctor to plan their own workload.

Your Doctor will phone you back and make appropriate arrangements for you. For some patients, the Doctor may be able to deal with your problem over the telephone, which will save you having to come in for an appointment and will also mean that there are appointments available for patients that need to be seen.

Some telephone consultations are available to be booked on line. Click here for more details. NB. Although the telephone appointments online give an exact time for a callback, we ask that a bit of flexibility is shown as Doctors can sometimes be called away and may not be able to phone at the precise time allocated. Also it may help if you can give a window of time in the comments box to show your availability.

If you need to come in , the Doctor will arrange a suitable appointment for you. It may be the same day, the next day or perhaps further ahead.

If your Doctor wants you to attend for a follow up appointment, then they will arrange a date and time whilst you are in the surgery. Sometimes they will book an appointment for you with our triage nurse who is trained to deal with minor illnesses.

We know that some patients find it difficult to get into surgery for an appointment because of work commitments or transport. Please tell the Doctor if this is a problem and a mutually convenient time can be arranged.

Dr First Pictorial Guide

Home Visits

Home Visits are available as a service for patients who are physically unable to attend the practice because of illness.  Seeing a patient on a home visit takes on average three times as long as in the practice.  Patients are requested to telephone before 10.00 am for a visit request.  If a home visit is requested, the details of the request will be passed to the doctor who will then call the patient and triage the request.  We encourage all patients to visit the surgery for their consultations.  We believe that this is better for the patient clinically because we have specific equipment and support staff to provide the best quality care for the patient.

Out of Hours

NHS 111 service (free-phone number nationwide): When the practice is closed, there is an out of hours' emergency medical service available at all times.  This service is meant for urgent and emergency problems and should not be used to avoid the inconvenience of consulting during the day.  If you need out of hours help, you should telephone 111 which is a free-phone number nationwide.  Trained staff located at the call control centre will handle your enquiry.  If you are able, you may be asked to attend the out of hours centre which is at Louth County Hospital.

For medical emergencies, please dial 999 or go straight to a local A&E.