Please find below a directory of frequently asked questions that our patients have come to us with. If your question is not answered here you can contact us and we will endeavour to help.

Select your area of interest from the list below and click 'GO'. You can return to this list at any time by clicking 'return to top'.


Urgent Access Clinic     


Q: What is the urgent Access Clinic?

A: Our Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants run a same day emergency Urgent Access Clinic. If you require a same day emergency appointment you will be able to come to the surgery and be booked into the Urgent Access Clinic. You will be seen in order of arrival at the surgery. There may be a wait to see the Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant – please be patient. If you are unable to get to the surgery we have limited telephone advice from our Nurse Practitioners or Physician Assistants. This system is not for routine appointments which should be booked in advance.

Q: Why do I sometimes have to come over to the other surgery (Northgate or Maidenbower) for the Urgent Access Clinic?

A: If one surgery is experiencing a large volume of patients, we ask patients to attend the other surgery to limit the waiting time for patients. Sometimes we ask patients to attend one surgery when the other surgery is busier with another clinic. Occasionally this applies due to staff sickness.

Appointments                                                                                              Return To Top


Q: Can I be seen the same day if I feel my problem is urgent?

A: We have an Urgent Access Clinic for urgent problems which you feel must be dealt with on the same day. You may telephone or come in person. If you come in person to the surgery, you should register at reception on arrival. Thereafter, you will need to wait your turn in the queue to see the Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant. After one of these clinicians has assessed you, you may be told that you need to be seen by the Doctor as well, though this is not usually necessary. If so, there may be a further wait. If you telephone to speak to one of these clinicians, you will usually be phoned back later in the day when the Urgent Access Clinic is not so busy.

Q: Can I be seen the day I want to be seen?

A: Appointments can be booked up to 2 weeks in advance, and a limited number of appointments are bookable one month in advance. If your problem is urgent, you can be seen on the same day in the Urgent Access Clinic (see above). However, if your problem is not urgent, it is unlikely that you will be able to book an appointment with the Doctor, Physician Assistant or Nurse on the same day that you phone up.

Q: Can I get an appointment with a Doctor or Physician Assistant of my choice?

A: Yes. There are pre-bookable appointments for all Doctors, Physician Assistants and Nurses. However, the waits for some clinicians may be longer than for other clinicians, eg if the Doctor you want has recently been on leave. Unless it is urgent, we would prefer you to book with the same clinician, especially where it involves follow-up of a previously discussed problem.

Q: Do you have to see the same clinician again next time?

A: It is preferable to see the same clinician for continuity of care, however you can book to see any clinician within our Practice. Occasionally the clinician you have seen may ask you to see a particular Doctor next time, eg because the Doctor concerned has a particular interest in your condition.

Q: I want to see the same person every time I come to the surgery. Can I do this?

A: Yes, unless that clinician is on leave. We would like to encourage you to see the same Nurse, Physician Assistant or Doctor every time, unless your problem cannot wait for such an appointment. As the Partners have additional responsibilities that occupy their time, you may have to wait longer to get to see them.

Q: Why am I kept waiting in the waiting room sometimes?

A: Some patients’ problems take longer than others. The clinicians cannot gauge how long each patient will take in advance, and like to give all patients the time and care without rushing them. Most appointments are booked for 10 minutes. This is usually only enough time for one or two problems to be dealt with. If you have a list of problems, the clinician may have to ask you to book a further appointment to follow up your additional concerns. The clinicians do not like to run late either, and will do what they can to prevent this happening.

Q: Patients who arrived after me have been called before me. Why is this?

A: If this happens, please check with reception that you have been ‘arrived’ on the computer. You must always register on arrival. Rarely the Receptionist will use the computer mouse to click on your name, but not realize that the computer has still not registered your arrival. The Receptionists are aware of this risk and endeavour to make sure this does not happen.

In the Urgent Access Clinic, patients will be seen on a first come, first served basis. A patient with a booked appointment with another clinician may therefore be called before you. Rarely a severely ill patient will need to be seen urgently. This patient may be called before you, even when you have a booked appointment. Please note we cannot discuss the reasons in these circumstances, as clinical details are confidential.

Q: Why do I not see the Doctor I am registered with?

A: For historical reasons, the NHS only allows you to register with one of the Partners. There are two Partners in this practice, Dr Thomas and Dr Anderson. However, there are 16 other clinicians in the practice (ie Physician Assistants, Nurses and other Doctors). You will not therefore be able to see one of the Partners every time. Indeed, if you have previously see a Physician Assistant or one of the other Doctors, it would be helpful to continue seeing the same clinician for the sake of continuity of care.

Q: Do you have clinics on Saturdays?

A: The NHS contracts us to work only Monday to Friday.

Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner                                                   Return To Top


Q: What clinicians do you have in the practice?

A: Doctors, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners and Practice Nurses. All these professionals have a specific training that enables them to perform their clinical role.

Q: What are Physician Assistants?

A: They are Health Care Professionals who work to the medical model, as a Doctor does. This allows them to deliver care and to see and treat patients within the general practice team under defined levels of supervision. Their training gives them similar skills and knowledge to that of a Doctor, however they are qualified as Physician Assistants, not as Doctors.

Q: What training do the Nurse Practitioners (Triage Nurses) have?

A: These are Nurses who are experienced in primary care, who have undertaken a course to extend their role to enable them to see patients within the Urgent Access Clinic. They have additionally received in-house training and supervision. They work to protocols. If your condition falls outside a protocol, or if they are uncertain about the best management of your problem, they will consult a colleague.

Q: Can Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners prescribe?

A: At present Physician Assistants are not legally allowed to sign prescriptions themselves. However, the Department of Health plans to introduce new legislation soon which would allow this. In the USA Physician Assistants are allowed to prescribe; they are trained to do so, and have significant experience as prescribers. However, in view of UK law, your prescription will have to be signed by a Doctor.

Our Nurse Practitioners have a different training from the Physician Assistants. The protocols they work to include the appropriate medications for various conditions that patients may present to them with. The Nurse Practitioners are trained and experienced in treating these conditions. However, the Doctor will need to sign these prescriptions too for legal reasons.

Health Care Assistants                                                                               Return To Top


Q: What do Health Care Assistants do?

A: Health Care Assistants have been trained to do specific tasks, eg blood taking (phlebotomy), doing ECGs, Respiratory tests, Blood Pressures and 24-hour Blood Pressures and other tasks. They are skilled at these tasks, but are not trained to give clinical advice, apart from the above procedures.

GP Registrar                                                                                                Return To Top


Q: What is a GP Registrar?

A: They are Doctors who have had experience working in a hospital setting for at least a few years. They are undertaking further post-graduate training with a view to being included on the Official Register of General Medical Practitioners. GP Registrars work under the supervision of a senior GP in the practice who is a qualified GP Trainer.

Prescriptions                                                                                               Return To Top


Q: Why can’t I phone up for my repeat prescription?

A: We ask you not to phone up for your repeat prescription owing to the higher risk of verbal mistakes being made. Also, the large number of patients registered would end up blocking the telephone lines for more urgent calls. Housebound patients however may make their requests by telephone.

Q: What are the different ways I can arrange for a repeat prescription?

A: You can also e-mail, fax, post, or drop your repeat request into the surgery. There is a letter box for use when the surgery is closed. The e-mail is script@saxonbrook.co.uk, the fax number is 01293 450401. Please visit our Repeat Prescriptions page where you can also order them online.

Q: What is Repeat Dispensing?

A: This is only available if you use the same medication regularly, ie in the same quantity and frequency every day, and not on an ‘as required’ or variable basis. It would allow 6 months (occasionally a year) of prescriptions to be given to you in one go, to use at the same Pharmacist. For the relevant period you would not need to contact the surgery for your prescriptions. Please ask reception for a leaflet explaining this.

Q: Why does this practice only issue 4 weeks of medication at a time?

A: The surgery only issues 4 weeks prescriptions as per the Primary Care Trust directions. This is to try to stop wastage from medication that gets stopped or changed. Because changes to medication are not always predictable, this direction is applied to everybody.

Q: Can I avoid waiting for my prescriptions to be signed by the Doctor?

A: Yes. If you wish to use a local Pharmacist (Alliance, formerly Moss, at Maidenbower; Jades at Northgate), staff from these pharmacies come to collect prescriptions from the surgery a number of times each day. Boots the Chemist collects once a day from both surgeries. Crombie-Sadler Pharmacy in Langley Green collect from Northgate once a day. Alternatively, you could return to collect your prescription later.

Currently regarding medication advised by Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners (see above), the Doctor will have to sign your prescription.

Medication Reviews                                                                                   Return To Top


Q: If I have recently been seen in the hospital about my medication, why do I need to be seen in the surgery again?

A: You may not need to be seen in the surgery again. However, a specialist may have only reviewed the medication that relates to that specialty and not the other medication you are on. If you are on other tablets, these will probably need to be reviewed by a Primary Care Clinician. However, if you feel your medication review has been completed fully, please write a note on your prescription request form to this effect. A clinician will check your records and re-authorise your medication without seeing you if appropriate.

Q: Who should I see regarding my medication reviews?

A: The Practice Nurse can do the majority of medication reviews, but sometimes you need to see a Doctor or Physician Assistant. The direction of whom to see may have been written on your prescription request form by the clinician who reviewed your records. The Receptionist may be able to advise. If you were see by the Practice Nurse for your review last time, you should usually see the Practice Nurse again, unless she told you otherwise. If you believe your condition is stable, then normally the review should be undertaken by the Practice Nurse, eg for a review of Blood Pressure medications.

Q: What do the numbers mean on the repeat prescription side slip?

A: This usually indicates the number of prescriptions you may have for that drug before a medication review needs to be undertaken. After a medication review, the numbers will usually be reset to six.

If the number is on zero, then please do not request a further repeat prescription without booking with a clinician for a check-up first.

Q: Why do I have to keep having checks for medicines when I am on them for life?

A: Long term medicines and long term (ie chronic) conditions also need regular checks, both for monitoring of the condition and monitoring of the treatment. For example, as people get older, blood pressures tend to go up rather than remaining unchanged.

Q: Why have I been told I can’t have any more medication without seeing the Doctor, Physician Assistant or Nurse first?

A: All patients on regular medication need a check with a clinician periodically for routine checks. For Hypertension patients whose Blood Pressure is well-controlled, this will be every 6 months. For other conditions which are well-controlled, it may be once a year. This is to ensure you are on the correct dosage/medication with no adverse effects.

Blood Tests                                                                                                 Return To Top


Q: Can I have blood tests taken at the surgery?

A: You can have blood tests taken at both surgeries between 9.00 am - 11.00 am, but you need to make an appointment.

Q: Can I have blood tests done at the hospital?

A: Yes. However, you will not be able to make an appointment; the blood tests are done on a first-come first-served basis.

Results                                                                                                         Return To Top


Q: Will the surgery phone me with my results?

A: We ask you, the patient, to phone in and speak to the Receptionist, usually about one week after your blood or urine test. The Physician Assistant or Doctor will usually have put a comment next to your result on the computer which the Receptionist will relay to you. Please note that NHS X-Ray results may take up to 3 weeks to come through to us in some cases.

Q: Do I have to make an appointment to get my results?

A: Only if the comment ‘attached’ to your result by the clinician says so, or if the clinician you saw at the time instructed you to do so, irrespective of the result. If you are still unsure, you can leave a message with the Receptionist for the clinician to clarify this. When you phone the Receptionist, they will pass on the comment the Doctor has placed on your result.

Q: Why can’t the Receptionist tell me more information about my results?

A:The Receptionists have been specifically instructed not to give their opinion about a result, even if it seems common sense. As the Receptionists are not medically trained, there is a risk of an error being made if they do.

Referrals                                                                                                      Return To Top


Q: When do I not have a choice of where I am being sent/referred?

A: If you and your GP decide that you need to see a specialist, you can now choose where to have your treatment from a list of hospitals. Full details are on the NHS website (www.nhs.uk) or ask at reception for a booklet explaining ‘Choose & Book’. If you are referred to hospital urgently, ie to be seen the same day, or under the “2-week rule”, then you will not have a choice. If you are referred to the Community Mental Health Team, then currently the NHS does not offer choice.

If you are being referred privately, then the NHS ‘Choose & Book’ system does not apply.

Q: With ‘Choose & Book’, why can’t I as a patient fax or e-mail them?

A: The ‘Choose & Book’ protocol is that you phone the dedicated telephone line or book directly on line where available.

Q: When will I hear about my referral?

A: If you book as above when referred under “Choose & Book”, you will have been offered and agreed a date and time for your appointment.

In all other cases you will be sent an appointment. Depending on the specialty, you will either receive this letter straight away or nearer the appointment date. Unfortunately Saxonbrook Medical has no direct say in this process.

Certification                                                                                                 Return To Top


Q: When do I need a Doctor’s Sick Certificate?

A: The NHS contracts us to provide the free medical certificates of the DWP from one week onwards. Usually you should not need a Doctor’s Certificate during the first week as you can complete a ‘self-certificate’. This can be obtained from your employer.

Q: When do I have to pay for a certificate?

A: Usually you should not need to. However, if you insist on a certificate from the surgery during your first week of sickness, rather than a self-certificate, then a charge will be made. The free DWP certificates do not apply for the first week you are off sick.

Vaccinations                                                                                                Return To Top


Q: What is the childhood vaccination schedule?

A: Please see chart below.


Immunisation Schedule

Age   No. of Injections
2 months Diptheria Tetanus  Pertussis  Polio and Hib (Haemophilus) Pneumonia (Pneumococcus) 2
3 months Diptheria Tetanus  Pertussis  Polio and Hib (Haemophilus) Pneumonia (Pneumococcus) Meningitis (Meningococcus C) 3
4 months Diptheria Tetanus  Pertussis  Polio and Hib (Haemophilus) Pneumonia (Pneumococcus) Meningitis (Meningococcus C) 3
12 months Hib / Men C (combined Haemophilus and Meningococcus C) 1
13 months MMR (Combined Measles Mumps Rubella)

Pneumonia (Pneumococcus)

4 years Diphtheria  Tetanus  Pertussis  Polio

MMR 2 (Combined Measles Mumps Rubella)

14-18 years Diptheria Tetanus  Polio (combined Vaccine) 1


Q: Does the surgery offer travel vaccines?

A: Yes. We offer a full range of travel vaccines. However Yellow Fever vaccine is only available at our Maidenbower Surgery. Please note there is a charge for some of these vaccines.

Before you make a booking with the Practice Nurse for your travel vaccines, you should complete the travel vaccine questionnaire available at reception. You should return this to reception, for review by the Nurse. You will be contacted to make an appointment with our Practice Nurse should you need any travel vaccinations. Please make sure you mark on the form all possible ways of contacting you. If you have not heard within 7 days, please contact the surgery again.

Q: When should I first contact the surgery regarding travel vaccines?

A: At least 6 weeks before your departure date. This is because if you need a course of one vaccine, the injections usually need to be at least a month apart. If you have less than 6 weeks to go, please fill out the travel vaccine form urgently, and highlight your departure date on the form. We should still be able to help, even if you only gain partial protection.

Contraception                                                                                             Return To Top


Q: Do you provide prescriptions for the contraceptive pill and other family planning services?

A: We do provide prescriptions for the contraceptive pill, although you do need to see a clinician for your initial prescription. Thereafter, you can request a repeat prescription and must attend regular check ups with the Nurse.

Q: Do you fit coils?

A: We do not fit coils at present. If you require this service, you should visit the Family Planning Clinic at Exchange Road, Crawley.

Q: Do you provide condoms?

A: Condoms are not available on prescription. They can however be obtained from the Family Planning Clinic. The PCT does provide the surgery with a small number of condoms which can be given to patients who see the Nurse for a consultation about contraception. However, the supply is only small, and not regularly replenished by the PCT.

E-mails                                                                                                          Return To Top


Q: Why can’t the surgery reply to e-mails?

A: Owing to the volume of e-mails we receive from patients for prescription requests, it would be extremely difficult to reply to them all. Also, we cannot be certain we are replying to the patient confidentially.



Q: Can I make phone call queries?

A: The surgery has a message book for the Receptionists to take messages for all clinicians. The clinicians usually have to prioritise the patients who are booked in to see them, so they may not be able to return your call straight away. Please indicate to the Receptionist if you believe your problem is urgent.