The Department of Health has introduced the Patient's Charter which sets out quality standards for all areas involved in the provision of health care.
Naturally we hope that the service we provide will always comply with these standards.
As a patient using general medical services of the National Health Service you have the following rights:
- To be registered with a family doctor.
- To change your doctor easily and quickly.
- To be offered a health check:
- When joining a doctor’s list for the first time.
- At a yearly home visit if you are aged 75 years or over and cannot get to the surgery; available on request.
- To receive emergency care at any time through a family doctor.
- To have appropriate drugs and medicines prescribed.
- To be referred to a consultant acceptable to you when your family doctor thinks it necessary and to be referred for a second opinion if you and your family doctor agree this is desirable.
- To have access to your health records, subject to any limitations in law.
- To know that those working for the NHS are under a legal duty to keep the contents of your health records confidential.
- To choose whether or not to take part in medical research or medical student training.
- To be given detailed information about local family doctor services through the Primary Care Trust's local directory.
- To receive a copy of the doctor’s practice booklet, setting out the services they provide.
- To receive a full and prompt reply to any complaint you make about NHS services.
Quality Services for Patients
The practice is dedicated to a quality policy to achieve the health services which meet the requirements of our patients.
- Patients have a right to be greeted in a friendly and welcoming manner in all circumstances.
- Patients have a right to confidentiality.
- Patients should usually be seen within 20 minutes of their appointment time. Where there is likely to be a longer delay, the patients have a right to be informed.
- Patients have the right to be informed of the likely waiting time on arrival for their appointment.
- Patients have the right to be treated with courtesy by GPs, employees and other providers of health services both inside and outside the practice.
- Patients have the right to information about their own health; particularly any illness and its treatment; alternative forms of treatment; possible side effects of treatment; duration and development of the illness; likelihood of recovery; how to prevent or avoid the illness recurring; and any other information the patient deems appropriate to request from any GP, consultant or other doctor in the health service. Above all, patients have the right to ask questions, and have them answered, about their own health.
- The practice will offer advice and seek to inform patients of steps they can take to promote good health and avoid illness.
- The practice will offer advice on self-help which can be undertaken without reference to a doctor in the case of minor ailments.
- The practice will inform patients of developments in the practice by means of leaflets which are made available in the practice.
With these rights come responsibilities and for the patients this means:
- Where an appointment has been made, either at the practice or the hospital, a patient is responsible for keeping it or giving adequate notice to the practice or hospital that they wish to cancel, in order that it may be made available to someone else.
- A doctor's time is limited and they have many patients to see. It is a responsibility of patients not to delay the doctor unnecessarily and to be aware of other patients' needs to consult.
- Each patient should show consideration for other patients. Delays can be reduced by remembering that an appointment is for one person only. Where another member of the family needs to be seen, even if it is regarding childhood ailments or if their symptoms are the same as the first person’s, another appointment needs to be made.
- A doctor can see many more patients within surgery than when out visiting. It is therefore a responsibility of patients to come to the surgery for appointments when not prevented by serious illness or infirmity.
- During the course of any surgery there are some patients who need long consultations because of the nature of their illness. A doctor does not know in advance who they might be. Patients in the waiting room should take this into consideration and be patient, for another time, you may need a long consultation which delays other patients.
- If a patient is aware that their consultation may be protracted, they should advise reception at the time of making their appointment.
- The receptionists should treat the patients with courtesy and friendliness, so should the patients treat the receptionists. It is not the receptionist's fault if the doctor is delayed.
- Each person is responsible for their own health and should take appropriate action (with advice from the practice where necessary) to prevent ill health e.g. by not smoking.
- Patients' views on the quality and type of services available, both within the practice and from other health service providers, are welcome.
If you have any reason to feel that any of the quality commitments stated previously are not being met, we need to know.
Preferably put your comments and suggestions in writing (the good ones as well as the bad!) and address them to:
Mrs Julie Winterbottom
Westcliffe Medical Centre
SHIPLEY BD18 3EE