On The Day Calls


I need on the day medical attention, who should I call?

Please consider whether the problem is too urgent and severe for the GP to manage at the practice. If this is the case, then you should be seen in A&E directly using 999 if needed.

If the problem is not urgent for today and your usual GP is unavailable, it is usually better to arrange to see your usual doctor as they are likely to know you better which helps with continuity and higher quality care.

How do I know if I need A&E/999?

Call 999 for any life-threatening condition (including collapse, seizures, stroke, sepsis, non blanching meningitis rash, new confusion)

You should use the emergency services (999 or be taken to A&E) if you need very urgent medical care, where the potential seriousness cannot be fully dealt with safely at the GP practice.

A few examples include:

  • Acute severe illness (including severe – headaches, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness)
  • Rapid onset loss/change in function which might be a stroke i.e., face or limb weakness/numbness
  • A problem that is so severe that you are not able to get to the practice, such as a fall where you cannot get up, or too unwell to come in.
  • Chest pain or breathlessness (unless mild/moderate and part of condition that is identifiable and treatable at home with oral medication from the GP i.e., minor chest infection with cough and sputum)
  • Back pain needs A&E if cauda equina syndrome – check the symptoms via the Patient Access website.

Why is it a problem if I come to the GP when I really need urgent hospital care?

There are a number of presentations where it is not possible in the GP surgery to properly exclude serious causes needing urgent treatment. Chest pain and breathlessness from lung blood clots are good examples of this.

If the problem is triaged to A&E/999 but you come to see the GP, although they will make a fuller assessment, they are likely to arrange admission to hospital anyway. Not being seen by the most appropriate service in the 1st instance entails delay in referral, can increase the risk to you and reduce the capacity for the GP to see other patients who need their care with problems that they can manage appropriately at the practice.

I have a Minor illness and feel like I need medical attention?

Although minor viral illness symptoms might be unpleasant and inconvenient, treatments are not usually effective in accelerating recovery.

In these cases it usually just takes time for the illness to run it’s course and a pharmacist can advise you if you want to medication over the counter to help.

These conditions usually do not need a GP appointment unless more severe or unusual requiring further assessment or a prescription for medication that you cannot access over the counter.

There are good resources to help understand what to expect and when to take further action.

Examples of some conditions that often fit into this category are mild sore throat, simple cough, earache, thrush, minor diarrhoea for a few days, ‘common cold’, conjunctivitis, minor eczema on the skin.

Why is it a problem if I come to see the GP when I have a minor illness that could have been dealt with by self care and community pharmacy advice?

If the illness is minor then it can usually be dealt with by self care and advice from a community pharmacist about over the counter medication. If you come to be see the GP at the practice when this is not entirely necessary, the availability is reduced to see other patients who need a consultation. If you have an infectious viral illness then this is a risk to others who are in the practice including at-risk vulnerable patients.

Where should I be seen?

It is important that you are seen in the right place, for the right problem, in the right timescale.

111 can help you decide this by phone or online.

If you not sure which service is needed the practice can help direct you after triaging your problem.

It is helpful to have a thermometer as a fever (37.5C and above) or fast pulse or breathing rate are important information for triaging problems.

Some circumstances make people more vulnerable to being more seriously unwell with the need to be more cautious and have a low threshold for being seen promptly. Some examples include those with diabetes, the immunosuppressed, pregnancy, the elderly or very young.

What if my illness gets worse?

If not fitting the severe acute category needing A&E/999 then you should contact 111 or the practice if the conditions is not improving as you expect.

The Healthier Together website has very good information about children’s illnesses.

An example is the Strep A & Scarlet fever page ‘when should I worry’ Strep A and Scarlet fever.

What if I am not recovering fully?

It is important that you seek advice if the condition does not improve within the usual timescale expected. Examples include a minor cough or change in bowels that has not fully resolved within a month.

What if I am too unwell to work?

You can declare yourself unfit to work for up to a week. After this you can ask for a sick note from the GP. This can be requested as long as you give some details of the illness and the reasons you could not work, with the date range that you will have been off. Please see our Sick note for more than 7 days form.

Can I make a self-referral without needing a GP appointment?

Yes, you can make a self-referral if applicable using the below contact information:

Eye emergencies

Telephone: 01865 234567

Website: www.ouh.nhs.uk

Minor eye condition service

Boots opticians: 01993 778237

Optical View: 01993 771793

Specsavers: 01993 779977

Website: www.primaryeyecare.co.uk

Early pregnancy assessment unit

Telephone: 01865 221142

Website: www.ouh.nhs.uk/services

Midwife: 01993 708742

Minor injuries: 01865 903841 Witney hospital

Musculoskeletal problems website


CAHMS website for children’s mental health


Talking space website


MIND website


Turning point for alcohol / addiction problems

Telephone: 01993 849405


Social services for care and support needs/assessment

Telephone: 0345 0507666

Website: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk

Sexual Health

Telephone: 01865 231231

Website: www.sexualhealthoxfordshire.nhs.uk

I am still currently under my consultant and still under the care of the hospital, can I contact them directly?

Yes, If under the care of a hospital and needing to contact them, please phone the team directly as the GP practice would by using the Hospital switchboard 0300 3047777

If you are having difficulty with engaging with your hospital team, you can ask the patient advocacy and liaison service to help you: 01865 221473

What should I do if I’m not sure my request needs a GP appointment?

There are a variety of staff at the practice who can deal with a wide range of problems including the patient services team, nurses, practice pharmacists and GP assistants. If you are pregnant then most clinical matters are now managed with the midwifery team or the hospital so please talk to your team directly. If the matter is not clinically urgent and could be dealt with by a message you can use the Ask the Practice a Question form.

What are the GPs doing, who are they seeing?

Everything and everyone else, as around 90% of all medical care is managed within primary care GP services vs 10% in hospitals. This is on a back drop of low GP numbers and difficulty recruiting to all roles within the practice. Everyone in the practice is working very hard and doing their best and we ask that you help us to help you. Specific examples include giving information when asked to help make assessments, following advice and direction when we triage and help you navigate care, being respectful and courteous to all staff.