Practice Charter

Our Values:

  • Demands on the NHS are increasing and we are entrusted with a strictly limited amount of NHS funding. We have a duty to use this responsibly to provide the best possible care for over 16,000 patients.
  • We believe in equality and fairness and will act without discrimination in the way we treat our patients and staff.
  • Our patients are equals with equal rights to our services. Access to our services will be prioritised according to clinical need alone.
  • We believe that our patients and our staff should always treat each other with respect.
  • We respect the rights of patients to confidentiality and their rights to access the personal information we hold for them.
  • We will comply with all laws and regulations that govern our work.

What our patients can expect from us:

  • Our staff will always treat you with respect and dignity.
  • We will always offer an appointment that meets your clinical needs.
  • Our clinicians will always endeavour to provide appropriate information about your health and involve you in any decisions about your care.
  • As far as the needs of other patients allow, we will try to keep our surgeries to time and minimise any need for you to wait to be seen.
  • We will strive to make appropriate arrangements if you have special access needs.
  • We will restrict access to your personal information on a strict need to know basis.
  • We will allow you to see your medical record, unless there is good reason not to do so.
  • We will investigate any formal complaint you have, and respond as soon as we can.
  • We are here to help you. We will advise how make best use of our services to obtain the care you need.

What we expect from our patients in return:

  • Please respect our staff, our property and other users of the Surgery at all times.
  • We will not, under any circumstances, tolerate violent or abusive behaviour towards our staff or other patients. Such behaviour may lead to legal action or to removal of the patient from the practice list without warning.
  • Please do not waste our time. There are many others who need our services.
  • Arrive in good time for your appointment. If you cannot attend, please cancel the appointment, giving us sufficient time to offer it to another patient.
  • Please dress appropriately for your appointment  keeping in mind that you may have to undress for an examination.
  • Please understand our Offer of Service, which is explained below. Patients have a wide choice of Practices in Hemel Hempstead and are entitled to register elsewhere if this Offer of Service does not meet their expectations.

Offer of Service

  • Our passion is to serve our patients. We always strive to do our best for everybody. NHS services are under extreme pressure all across the country, and we are no exception. We have to treat patients equitably. We also have to be reasonable in the way we treat our staff. So we must be clear about the service we can provide, and the reasonable limits within which we work.
  • We work extremely hard to provide the best access we possibly can, but we cannot guarantee how soon a routine appointment will be available. (The availability of appointments is limited by the number of doctors and nurses we can afford to employ, and the demand for appointments from other patients. We are funded per patient, so it would not help if we had fewer patients on our list.)
  • Our routine appointments are scheduled at 10-minute intervals. These are designed to deal with one medical problem. If you have multiple problems, the doctor may need to see you again.
  • We are happy to provide a telephone appointment where this is appropriate. This will often be the fastest and most convenient way to obtain advice from your doctor.
  • We provide emergency appointments, but only if you have an urgent medical need. These are scheduled at 5-minute intervals. They are strictly for one problem only.
  • Minor illnesses are generally not considered urgent, and there are other options patients should try before seeing the doctor including the pharmacist, self-help remedies, pain killers and watchful waiting. This is especially the case in the winter season when common viral illnesses affect large numbers of patients.
  • We provide home visits, but only if you are genuinely housebound or too ill to travel to the Surgery. To provide one home visit (which takes at least half an hour including travel) we lose the opportunity to see 3 or 4 patients in the Surgery. These patients also have a right to our care.
  • To respect the rights of all patients who need our services, we write to those who repeatedly fail to attend booked appointments. Those who continue to do this after a warning may be removed from our list. This ensures we can provide appointments for the vast majority of patients who use our services responsibly.
  • We work hard to provide an excellent call handling service but there are inevitably peak times when you will need to wait for your call to be answered. Please be patient.
  • We have to use our limited resources wisely. A full-time receptionist costs the same as 1,200 appointments with a locum doctor. We have to choose!
  • We process prescription requests promptly, but we do need at least 2 working days for the doctor to make the necessary medical checks. We expect patients to make their request in good time to avoid the need for special treatment.It takes at least 5 working days for test results to be received and reviewed by the doctor. We cannot provide results for patients who call earlier than this.
  • Where there is an urgent medical need, such as suspected cancer, we process referrals to the hospital within 2 days. Routine referrals take longer, depending on our workload, and it may take 2 weeks or more for the letter to be sent.
  • We will do our best to help with social needs, such as sick notes, court letters and housing letters. But our priority will always be the clinical care of our patients. So please allow reasonable time for us to respond to these requests.
  • We will make a reasonable charge for services that are not provided under the NHS. It is our duty to use NHS funding for NHS care, and not to subsidise private services.