Answer 4 simple questions and PATCHS will get you help quickly.


What do chronic & acute mean?

Chronic in medical terms means long lasting. It does not mean very serious as some think. Therefore a Chronic disease such as diabetes may also be called a Long Term Condition or LTC. An acute problem is one that flares up but is usually of short duration, such as a sore throat or chest infection.

What does DNA stand for?

DNA is an abbreviation for Did Not Attend. This is where a patient had an appointment booked and failed to attend or cancel the appointment. Clearly this wastes the time of the healthcare professional who is expecting the patient and means that the appointment could not be allocated to another patient.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) who has additional education and training in a specialty area such as General Practice. As such they compliment the work of a GP and can see approximately 90% of the patients a GP would see. They typically will concentrate on acute (short term) medical problems although they do manage patients with long term conditions.

What is a Practice Nurse?

A Practice Nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who works within General Practice. Practice Nurses run either general clinics or specialise in a particular area such as respiratory (asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – COPD), diabetes or chronic heart disease. These diseases are often referred to as “Long Term Conditions” or “LTCs” due to their chronic nature.

What is a District Nurse?

A District Nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who has chosen to work in the Community Nursing area. They work in the Adult Community Nursing (ACN) Team often embedded in a practice within an Integrated Nursing Team, where they work closely with the practice nurses and GPs. They typically provide nursing care to housebound patients by visiting them in their homes or in nursing homes. They offer a wide range of services such as palliative care, wound management and some long term conditions.

What is a Health Care Assistant?

A Health Care Assistant (HCA) is sometimes also called a Health Care Support Worker. They work alongside a qualified registered nurse to provide important diagnostic checks such as Blood Pressure, Electronic Cardiograms (ECG) and blood tests. They also run clinics in minor procedures such as ear syringing and breath testing.

What is the clinician call back service?

The call back service is a way of quickly prioritising patients needs to ensure they receive the most appropriate medical attention at the right time. Call back differs from organisation to organisation, but in Middlestown Medical Centre there is a call back doctor/nurse on duty each day from 8.00am to 11.30am. The Call back doctor is there to speak to patients who may urgently need an appointment, but whose medical condition or issue may be able to be resolved over the phone, thereby saving the patient and the practice time and appointments. The call back GP/nurse or pharmacist will prioritise the patient’s needs and if required book an appointment that day or later in the week.

The receptionist will need to ask the following questions, to add you to their call back list, name , address and contact telephone number and a brief description of why you want to see/speak to a clinician, this helps prioritise calls and ensures the call is quickly followed up.

What is Health Visitor?

Health visitors specialise in the health and wellbeing of children under the age of 5. The role of the health visitor is to concentrate on prevention of illness be that physical, emotional and mental. They work in partnership with parents and other healthcare providers to promote healthy living and to protect children.

What is Choose Well?

Choose Well is a nationwide campaign to educate patients on choose the right type of treatment at the right time. Some patients turn up at A&E or worse still call an ambulance for things that are not really emergencies or accidents, wasting time and services that may be needed more urgently elsewhere. The campaign has a series of leaflets giving examples of common conditions and where best to get treatment for those. The leaflets are in the practice waiting room and on the internet site.


Try a pharmacist for minor illness advice or medication.

All dental queries should go to a dentist.  No dentist ring 111 for access to one.

Eye problems try an optician first.

Look on our service directory for advice on social care and other services.

If all the above fails then call your GP during normal working hours 01924 237100 out of hours ring 111.

999 is only for life threatening conditions.

A & E (   Accidents only )  A & E is not for conditions that a doctor can deal with.

  Protect our NHS service by using the right person at the right time.

How do I book an appointment at the surgery?

There are two main types of appointments. Urgent appointments for an acute problem (such as joint/muscle pain or a persistent headache) for which you should expect an appointment with a couple of days. A repeat appointment for routine and ongoing monitoring of a long term condition, such as diabetes, may take longer. You can book these appointments up to 4 weeks in advance.

Please remember that it is much easier to get an appointment (particularly for an acute problem) if you are willing to see any GP or nurse. Clearly some patients like to see the same GP for continuity of care, but for short term conditions any GP will be capable of consultation. 

You can book by telephone – but it is very busy first thing in the morning – leave it until after 10:30am if it is not urgent please. Please remember that when choosing a telephone option from the menu you do not have to wait to hear all the options. If you know the option you require simply choose the one you want as soon as the call is connected – saving you time and money.

Receptionists will ask you your name, address and contact number, along with a brief description of your problem this helps the clinician prioritise calls to ensure follow up is done quickly.

The options are the following:

Press 1: Appointments and Visits

Press 2: Prescriptions / medication

Press 3: Results after 2:00pm

Press 4: All other enquiries

You can book an appointment face to face, but we do try to recommend that patients use one of the other ways first if possible.