4/5: Seeing your GPs out of the Surgery
Can I get advice over the phone?
Most GP's are happy to give advice over the phone. Some practices have special times when patients can ring up and talk to the doctor. Your GP or nurse will usually return your call if they are not available when you telephone. Your health visitor is also able to advise you. She is based at the surgery or local clinic.
When is my child entitled to a home visit?
GP's will make home visits if your child is too ill to go to the surgery, or you are too ill to take her yourself. Sometimes the GP will decide that a visit is not necessary and give you advice over the phone.
If you are still worried, tell the GP and phone back if your child gets any worse. However, you are likely to be seen sooner if you are able to take your child to the surgery. And, if you are asked to bring your child to the surgery, she is unlikely to come to any harm, even if she has a high temperature. If you are concerned about your child's condition when you arrive, make sure you tell the receptionist so she can be assessed quickly.
How do I contact a GP out of surgery hours?
You can phone the emergency service at any time of the night and day and talk to the doctor on call, or their assistant, if your child is suddenly ill.
First, the doctor will ask you some questions, and then advise you what to do. Sometimes he may suggest paying you a visit, or that you bring your child to a night centre. If you are very worried or your child gets much worse, take her directly to the Accident and Emergency (A & E) department at the nearest hospital.
You can find information about your surgery's out-of-hours service in the practice leaflet. Sometimes you may need to call two numbers, so have a pen and paper ready.
How do I cope in an emergency?
Be prepared. It's a good idea for all parents and carers to know how to recognise and deal with children's minor illnesses. Your GP or health visitor should be able to give you a leaflet about this.