Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why am I asked so many questions by the reception staff and why do they need to know? 

This is often the question asked by patients. The reason our reception staff ask questions is to ensure you are seen by the correct person. Our medical team have a variety of specialities in specific areas, so we want to ensure you are allocated to the correct person. It also enables the Practitioner to look at any on going treatment in your notes prior to you coming into your appointment. Please do not feel you have to share any information with the Reception staff - our aim is purely to provide you with an efficient service and get you seen as soon as possible by one of our team, if necessary. 

2. Why is the telephone just left to ring and ring when I am trying to get through to the surgery?

Well, although you are hearing a ringing tone, you are in fact in a queuing system. The call will make a ringing sound to the caller even when all the incoming lines are engaged. Thank you for being patient, you are in a queuing system and as soon as we finish one call, you will move up the queue. 

3. If I am having a fasting blood test, should I take my morning medications as normal?

The simple answer is yes, please take your medication as normal with water. This will not affect your blood test results. Just as a reminder you must not eat or drink anything from the evening before your blood test but please try to drink plenty of water as it can be difficult to draw blood if your are dehydrated.

4. Where can I get hold of a wheelchair? 

If you call The British Red Cross, Medical Loans Department on 0800 0280 831 (central office), they will find out exactly what you need and arrange for it to be brought from their Worthing base to Sainsbury's car park, Chichester. They do a regular time slot of 11.00am - 1.00pm every Friday. They can supply a variety of equipment such as wheelchairs, commodes, walking aids and grabber sticks - there is no set charge but donations are welcome. For further information click here

Alternatively, The Red Cross at Havant Health Centre are open 5 mornings a week Mon-Fri 9.30-12.00 as well as afternoons on Mon, Wed, Fri 2.00-4.00pm. A  note from your doctor IS NOT required for loans less that 2 weeks. For further information about The Red Cross at Havant please call 02392 344207 or click here.

5. Why can't I request my prescription over the telephone? 

As you can imagine, it is essential that our patients receive the correct prescription on every occasion. It is therefore appropriate to minimise any possible areas that errors can occur. By receiving requests in writing or email we will clearly see the name of the patient,  date of birth and drugs being requested. 

6. Can I order transport from the Southbourne Surgery to take me to  hospital? 

Patient transport is not a service we offer. However, the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) in Sussex is available from April 2017 for those who are eligible and meet the criteria they set i.e. you have a medical condition such that you require the skills of ambulance staff or appropriately skilled personnel on or for the journey. Please note this service is not available as an alternative to public transport. 

You can book transport by calling 0300 123 9841 between 07.00 - 20.00 Monday to Saturday, and 08.00 – 17.00 Sundays and Bank Holidays. Before calling NEPTS you MUST ensure you have the following information to hand to enable them to process your request:-

Name, NHS Number, date of birth, home address and contact number, GP Practice, mobility and care requirements, relevant health issues, care package details, home access information, including key codes if applicable, date and time of travel required, ‘From’ and ‘to’ destinations.

If you do not meet the set criteria, NEPTS might be able to provide you with alternatives in your local area, for which there might be a charge. 

Ems Valley Community Transport (EVCT) are a local voluntary organisation who aim to help people who would normally have difficulty travelling by public transport, (because of disability or frailty), to visit their doctor, hospital, dentist, for which there is a small charge. They can be contacted on 01243 371903 or email A representative from EVCT will then contact you to discuss your requirements

More useful information can be found by clicking here.

7. Booking appointments on line are really easy and convenient but can you explain the 10 day early release slots and they seem to change from day to day? 

Yes, the wording is purely the way it is set up on the booking system. Please go ahead and use these slots in the same way as all the others. 

8. I have been on the same medication for 4 years and have never been reviewed as far as I am aware. Does this happen automatically or should I make a specific appointment with a doctor? 

For patients who might be unclear of the procedure, and perhaps have concerns, our doctors have an ongoing method of reviewing the medication of our patients regulary. They then make any changes or adaptions where necessary. This ensures each patient is receiving the correct treatment. 

9. Do I renew my Blue Badge at the surgery? 

No, the surgery do not get involved in the Blue Badge Scheme. If you click on the link below you will be taken to a page that requires you to fill in your post code. From here it will be dealt with by your local council. You can renew or apply for a Blue Badge in this way. Please click here for more information. 

10. Why is there so much time after one patient leaves a consultation with a doctor before another person is called in? 

During each consultation our doctors aim to give the patient their full attention, which in turn means that as soon as patients leave the doctor's room, they must immediately write up their consultation notes. It is also important that the Doctor has opened the notes of their next patient in preparation for their appointment.  Doctors are always time aware and do aim to do this as efficiently as possible. 

11. Why is there so much in the news at the moment about our GPs not using antibiotics  to treat coughs and colds? 

Antibiotics are important medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic. They can then become ‘antibiotic resistant’ which mean the antibiotics are no longer effective. This means that the more we use an antibiotic, the more likely it is that bacteria will become resistant to it. Some bacteria that cause infections in hospitals such as MRSA are resistant to several antibiotics. 

The best way to treat most coughs, colds and sore throats is to drink plenty of fluids and make sure you rest. Some colds can last about two weeks and may end with a cough bringing up phlegm. There are many over the counter remedies to ease the symptoms. Ask your local pharmacist for advice.

If the cold lasts more than three weeks, or you have become breathless or experiencing chest pains or if you already have a chest complaint, please see a doctor. 

12. Should I give a reason for my appointment when booking on line like I do when booking via a receptionist on the telephone? 

Yes, it is always best to put the reason for your appointment so that the doctor can have your notes ready and be up to date with your existing medical history. However, whilst this is useful for the Doctor, please never feel that you have to divulge any information if do not wish to. 

Please note an appointment is not needed if you are coming to ask a doctor to fill in a form. Just submit your request at the reception desk, where you will also be informed of the charge. Once completed we will contact you to to say it is ready. Our standard practice is to allow one week turn around for private forms

13. Should I call NHS 111 during the day or night?

To relieve the pressure on GP and Accident and Emergency services the NHS has commissioned the 'NHS 111' service - this is a Freephone number from landlines and mobiles and the service is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. We encourage you to contact them at any time for general medical advice.

Please do not call NHS 111 for routine appointments, repeat prescriptions or test results - for your convenience we offer these services online, please ask at the reception desk for details or see

14. Why is Dr Smith leaving the message on the surgery answerphone?

Good communication is central to the effectiveness of GP service provision, as well as to the patient satisfaction with surgeries. With the ever increasing demand on GP services and the most up to date reception training, our doctors have asked that we give them as much information prior to each appointment. This not only gives the doctor the opportunity to be prepared, but also gives the reception staff the ability to signpost the patient to a more suitable service or to be seen quicker by another appropriate clinician. Dr Smith felt that he is preparing our patients for such questions by him speaking on the telephone message.

15. Where do I obtain a sickness self-certificate for my work place?

We are able to self certificate for one week without having a note from your doctor. If your work place needs a Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) form you can click here  to print one off.

16. Why won't my doctor prescribe diazepam for my fear of flying?

Patients come to us, asking us to prescribe diazepam for their fear of flying. There are a number of very good reasons why prescribing this drug is not recommended such as; making patients very sleepy therefore unable to react in an emergency situation, making the patient go into an unnatural non-REM sleep which can increase the risk of blood clots. For a small number of patients this drug can make them more agitated or aggressive, which could impact on your safety as well as that of others. Diazepam is illegal in a number of countries so they may be confiscated and you may find yourself in trouble with the local police. Also, this drug may stay in your system for some time so if your job requires you to submit a random drug test, you may fail.

We appreciate that fear of flying is very real and very frightening. A much better approach is to tackle this properly with a Fear of Flying course or reading airline information. Take a look at the links below:-

Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website