Guide to our Appointments System

17.03.20 Update

We are making changes to the way we see patients. With immediate effect, all appointments will be by telephone initially. If it is clinically necessary to see you the GP or Nurse will book you in. Please call if you require our care but we would ask all our patients to consider whether they can manage at home, or defer their appointment at this time.

  • If you are unwell with a cough or high temperature (37.8c) then you need to self isolate for 7 days.
  • If you live with other people, the whole household must isolate for 14 days, even if some people have no symptoms.
  • Please do not come to the surgery.
  • If you are unable to cope with your symptoms, please use the 111 online service, or call 111 for advice.

Please remember our staff are in the same situation as you; we may be short staffed or have to cancel appointments at short notice. We are grateful for your support and understanding and will do our best to keep you updated as guidance changes.

Suspension of online booking service for face to face appointments:

So that our medical administrators can ensure that those who are at a greater risk of having Covid-19 (coronavirus) do not attend the surgery we are temporarily suspending online booking of face to face appointments with our clinicians.

You will still be able to book a telephone appointment online. All face to face appointments are available for booking through telephoning reception so that screening questions can be asked. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and will review this as advice changes.

Who do I see?

For information on how best to be seen at the Surgery, select the service or condition you require.

Please remember that a lot of problems and enquiries can be sorted by a telephone call, either by speaking to the receptionists and secretaries or asking a nurse or asking an appropriate clinician to call you back.

If you do not have access to our online services you will need to contact the practice to make an appointment.

To access this service you will need to have a username and password which you must get in person from either surgery reception. If you use our online system to order repeat medication then it is the same logon details.

There are about 9000 patients registered at Combe Down Surgery. We have 6 GP’s.

With such large numbers there can, at times, be some degree of pressure on our appointments. We endeavour to provide an efficient service and hope to make the appointment system as convenient as possible.

Sometimes it can be difficult to get an appointment with a clinician exactly when you want to. Our system is set up with a variety of options to make things as easy as possible:

Please be aware that when telephoning the surgery to make an appointment the reception staff will ask patients to outline the problem in order that you can be booked with the most appropriate clinician. If you do not wish to provide this information we may ask that a clinician calls you back

Option 1: Patient Partner – Automated Booking

Patient Partner is the new automated way of booking, cancelling or checking your own appointments with your surgery. You telephone the surgery as normal, and then choose Option 1 from the menu to use the Automated Booking Service.

One of the main benefits of Patient Partner is that you are able to telephone the surgery at any time – even when it’s closed!

Option 2: Book on the Day Appointments

These help you see a clinician as fast as possible when you are ill. Our receptionists will find the most suitable appointment for you.

We now have two experienced Nurse Practitioners who can prescribe. They will deal with all urgent care appointments bookable on the day, these are for health problems that arise in the short term and need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Telephone lines open at 08:00 and appointments can be booked by calling 837171.

Often the lines are very busy between 8am and 8:30am but usually there are appointments free until mid-morning.

Our standard appointment length is 10 minutes.

We also have a nurse practitioner several days a week to see patients with minor illness and injuries – see below for details

Option 3: Advance Bookings

For problems that need addressing but not specifically that day we have increased the numbers of appointments with doctors that can be booked 24hrs and 48hrs in advance. These appointments are made available and staggered throughout the day so there is no requirement to call at 8am.

We appreciate that patients need to book ahead, and we would encourage you to do so particularly if you are having a course of treatment.

We have doctors’ appointments that are bookable up to 4 weeks in advance.

Option 4: Open Surgeries

We run an “open” surgery every afternoon – this exists for urgent care only, giving flexible capacity to accommodate the acutely unwell. This runs between 3pm and 5pm.

Option 5: Telephone Appointments

If you feel a telephone call may be suitable to address your enquiry then you can arrange a telephone consultation with a doctor.

Phone the surgery as if you were going to make a normal appointment and press 1 for a telephone appointment. You will be asked to leave a contact phone number and a time when you can be called back. The doctor will try to call you back as close to that time as possible.

Option 6: Nurse Appointments

There are a variety of Nurse appointments and can be booked up to 5 weeks ahead. Receptionists will book the most appropriate appointment for you.

Option 7: Saturday Morning Pre-Bookable Appointments

These are to help those people who struggle to see the Doctor during normal working hours and to offer more flexibility around appointments.

They are Pre-bookable only appointments.

If you do not have a Pre-booked appointment with the Doctor then you will not be able to be seen as the doctor will be fully booked in advance. Please download our Saturday morning surgeries leaflet for further details and commonly asked questions.


BEMS Improved Access (OUT OF HOURS ROUTINE APPOINTMENTS) Mon-Fri 6-9pm – Sat/Sun 8-12 noon

Patients in the B&NES area can also book appointments with a local GP or Nurse in the evening and at the weekend in a B&NES general practice hub, provided by an organisation called BEMS (BANES Enhanced Medical Services), which is a GP federation whose members are all the GP Practices in B&NES. Ask your surgery receptionist for more details about what this service can offer or if you wish to book an appointment with this service’ (These appointments are not available online)