The Castle Practice Appointment System

We plan to continue with a ‘triage first’ system for doctor’s appointments. This means all GP consultations are initially through a telephone call; an assessment can then be made by the clinician and patient as to best how to resolve the problem.

Face to face appointments are available on the day based on clinical need following a telephone discussion. For certain issues bloods tests or other investigations may be arranged with a routine GP appointment or further call arranged on another day to review the results.

There are lots of medical problems that can be resolved with a telephone call, saving both time and travel for you and the GP.

Due to unprecedented demand (over 2000 patient consultations per week) this is the safest way for us to run a responsive service to care for all our patients. It allows us to quickly assess patients then signpost them to the most appropriate care, this may be other members of the team rather than a traditional GP appointment. As per NHS policy we have extended our clinical workforce beyond GPs, Nurses and HCAs to include Pharmacy Technicians, Physiotherapists and a Social Prescribing Team.

Practising a ‘triage first’ system avoids the historic long waits for a routine GP appointment and the problem of missed and therefore wasted appointments.

Our current patient list size is 15659. In the last four weeks our clinical team consulted with 8412 patients! On an average day the GPs are speaking to and seeing 288 patients and the nursing team 133. In addition to this the GPs regularly visit housebound patients at home who require appointments. This is before signing and reviewing repeat prescriptions, checking blood results, reading hospital letters and other important administrative tasks that take many hours a day in addition to the time that is spent consulting.

As the above figures show we are very busy but are trying to be as available as possible to help with your medical concerns. However, many medical complaints are minor and self-limiting and the following links for adults and children may help you decide if you need to call us. Likewise local pharmacies can often provide advice and medication for such problems.

Adults: – Self care


Process for appointments

For routine nursing appointments and blood tests please continue to book this via reception or online; this includes but is not limited to smear tests, vaccinations and other ongoing nursing care or annual long term condition reviews, e.g. COPD or diabetes. If you are uncertain, it is best to check with reception rather than calling triage.

Triage is open from 08:00-09:45 and 14:00-15:00 and is available by pressing option 3 on the phone system – you will either speak to a clinician directly or the receptionist will put your name on the list for a call back later in the session. If you have been dealing with a particular GP do let the team know as it is normally easiest for both patient and doctor to have continuity, however for obvious reasons it is not always possible for your preferred GP to be available for you.

Any patient with a fever or respiratory symptoms requiring a face-to-face assessment will need to be seen in our ‘red zone’ at the Ludgershall surgery, you will be asked to wait in the carpark until you are called in the side door for your appointment.


Repeat medication is ordered routinely on the paper prescription form, or ideally using the online or telephone system and not via triage. Please only call triage for medication if you have a concern about your medicines that needs a discussion with a GP, or if you have been asked to call in to review your medication either by reception or by the GP who commenced it.

Annual medication reviews are completed automatically by your registered GP – you do not need to contact us or attend unless requested to do so for blood tests or other checks.

Remember that your pharmacist is also suitably qualified to discuss any concerns you may have around your medications.

Routine test results

Results are available via reception once filed by a doctor. The receptionist can advise if they are normal or if the GP has recommended any action.

Fit notes

Ongoing fit notes can be requested via reception or the website. You do not need to speak to a GP unless you need to be signed off for a new problem, or if a GP has requested a review of your note and condition.

We hope the above makes sense and demonstrates that we are trying our best to serve all our patients. Indeed, we have had lots of kind and positive feedback from many patients regarding the current system to access us and the timely and high standard of their ongoing medical care.