Talk and Treat

Beacon Primary Care are pioneers in this field and the Talk and Treat Telephone Consultation system has been adopted by many practices in the UK.  If you would like advice or a face to face consultation with a Doctor or Nurse Clinician, the first step is to book a Talk and Treat Telephone Consultation.  You can use the telephone appointment service for urgent and non-urgent health problems.  For non-urgent routine appointments we are currently booking appointments in advance.  This service will help you to get the appointment you need, at a time that is convenient to you.


This is how it works:


If you require advice, or a face to face consultation with a Doctor or Nurse Clinician, the first step is to book a phone call.


  • We will always aim to provide a routine call back within 5-7 working days, and within a two hour window of your allocated time slot. Urgent calls will always be dealt with the same day.

  • A Senior Prescribing Clinician from this Practice will call you at a mutually agreed time at which point we can arrange:

  1. Immediate attention with a GP if your need is judged medically urgent.

  2. Agreed appointment with a GP, Nurse, Health Care Assistant.

  3. Phlebotomy appointment or any other appropriate tests.

  4. Referral to allied health professionals or hospital.

  5. Telephone consultation.

  • Let the Doctor know all the topics you wish to discuss at the start of the consultation so that you can both prioritise what can be done in the time available.

  • If you have a particular worry or concern, no matter how silly you may think it is, let the Doctor know. This is the best way to get the reassurance or plan you need.

  • If you feel a particular line of treatment is suitable, or not suitable for you, please say so. A lot of NHS resources are wasted if patients who are too polite to say a plan of action is not what they really want.

  • 50% of patient calls are dealt with over the phone; 50% of patient calls come in for a range of appointments and services.

  • The advantages of a Talk and Treat Telephone Consultation:

  1. Early identification of medically urgent problems.

  2. You see the right person for your needs, for example, patients requiring particular procedures, such as joint injections or coil fittings, are directed to the correct member of staff.

  3. More capacity—routine appointments are generally available within 5-7 working days.

  4. You get the time you need.

  5. No long waits in the Practice waiting room.

Why We Changed

  • We want to improve your access to appointments.

  • We want to make sure that you see the right person for your needs.

  • We want to reduce the number of missed appointments.

  • We want to stop the 8:30 appointment rush.

The book on the day system -- though this reduces missed appointments (possible the worst abuse of the NHS) it creates a huge morning demand as people rush to get an appointment. This stretches the phone system as well.


Having questioned patients, analysed appointments and discussed this amongst the team, we feel that the key to solving this problem is to ensure that patients are directed to the right member of the team.
We have invested heavily in upskilling the entire clinical team, we need to make sure that they are used appropriately.
Some examples....

  • We have several Nurse Prescribers who can prescribe the full range of medications and can access online clinical support as well as having direct access to the GPs.

  • We have Health care assistants who can do new patient checks, take your bloods, check urine, take blood pressures and even give flu vaccines in some cases.


Is this it?

No -- we will monitor and refine this plan if necessary we will change it again.  

You have told us there is a problem, and we take your views seriously.

Talk and Treat FAQ

Why is the surgery offering telephone appointments?

You have told us that sometimes you find it frustrating and difficult to get the appointment you need, when you need it. By offering telephone appointments and giving advice, we can ensure that everyone is able to speak to, or see, a Clinician at a time and day they choose.

Many people don't need to come into the surgery to be seen at all; their problem can be dealt with by telephone. This gives your doctor more time to see those people that need appointments in the surgery.  As your doctor is the one making the appointments, he or she can judge how much time you might need and give you a long or short appointment. This helps appointments to run to time and means you're more likely to be seen on time. We also know that when people make an appointment close to the date that they call, they are more likely to keep the appointment.


What do I do if I need an emergency appointment?

Telephone the main surgery number and tell the receptionist that your health problem is urgent.


Can I still telephone to make an appointment for a home visit?

When you speak to the Doctor ask for a home visit. If your doctor thinks you need to be seen at home, he or she will arrange this when you speak to them.


Are telephone appointments safe?

During your call with the Doctor, he or she will ask questions to help them make a decision about whether you need to be seen in person or not.  For example, if your Doctor needs to look at something or examine you, you will be asked to come into the surgery for the appointment. If your Doctor thinks you need to be seen he or she will always ask you to come in to the surgery to see the right person for your needs.


What happens if I have trouble using the telephone?

If you have difficulty using a telephone you can still come in to the surgery to book an appointment. You will be added to the doctors list and they will book your appointment or advise you in the same way.

Can I still book an appointment for next week or next month?

You can still book your appointments in advance. You can do this several ways, via online Patient  Access (, by calling 01695 736000, or by visiting the surgery.  

Will I be seen quicker if I come into the surgery?

Unless your problem is an emergency, you won't be seen more quickly if you come into the surgery to make an appointment.  

I'm not comfortable telling the receptionist what is wrong, do I have to?

Knowing what your health problem is generally helps the staff at the surgery to make sure those people with more urgent problems are seen quickly. However, you don't have to tell the receptionist what is wrong. If you are not comfortable talking about your health problem, simply say you would rather not and the receptionist will respect your wishes.



If you cannot attend an appointment for any reason please inform us as soon as possible in order for us to give the slot to someone else.