GP appointments

Please call at 8am on 0300 790 6266 for a GP appointment.

We’re currently running an on-the-day appointment system and aren’t booking GP appointments in advance. You can read more about why we’re doing this here.

Please call as close to 8am as possible, as our appointments for the day are often fully booked by mid-morning.

Once you enter the queue please stay on hold: at our busiest times it can take a long time to get through but we’ll answer your call as quickly as we possibly can.

Our receptionist will ask you the reason for your call and book you an appointment with the most appropriate healthcare professional. This may be with the CWIC team, who are based next door to Riverside and offer same-day appointments for patients at GP Practices across East Lothian.

We know that only being able to book same-day appointments can be inconvenient, but it means we can offer the most equitable service possible to the largest possible amount of people, at this time when demand for appointments is greater than our capacity. We hope in the future to return to a mix of on-the-day and pre-booked appointments.

Phone appointment system

As with all GP Practices in Scotland, we’re currently required to offer phone appointments with a GP first, to limit the number of people in the surgery and keep you and our team as safe as possible.

Once you’ve been booked in for a phone appointment, one of our doctors will call you back and we’ll tell you if this will be in the morning or afternoon. If you absolutely need us to call at a certain time (for example if you’re a keyworker) please let us know and we’ll do our very best to accommodate this.

The doctor will try to call you two times and (if possible) leave a voicemail if they can’t get through. If they can’t reach you, you’ll need to call us to re-book your appointment.

The number will appear on your phone as an 0300 or 0800 number. Please make sure your mobile phone is set up to accept 0800 calls, before the doctor calls.

During your phone appointment, the doctor will assess whether you need to come to the surgery for a face-to-face appointment. If they think you need a face-to-face appointment the same day, they’ll ask our Reception team to book this in for you. If they think you need a face-to-face appointment but at a later date, they’ll ask you to call us to book this in. As above, please call as close to 8am as possible to do this.

Duty doctor

Once our GP appointments for the day are fully booked, we put a message on our phone to let you know.

However if you have a health concern that you feel absolutely needs attention that day, please stay on the line and ask if it’s possible to speak to the duty doctor. Our care navigation team will assess your concern before asking the duty doctor to speak to you: only really urgent cases can be passed to the duty doctor.

Examples of things our reception team would pass to the duty doctor for assessment include but are not limited to:

  • cardiac-related symptoms including chest pain or shortness of breath
  • stroke symptoms
  • breathlessness
  • meningitis or sepsis concerns
  • sudden onset ‘thunderclap headache’
  • severe pain
  • suicidal thoughts
  • in children and infants: drowsiness, high temperature, not drinking/feeding or other parent/guardian concern that a child must be seen today.

Nurse and blood test appointments

We recommend calling at one of our quieter times, such as late afternoon, to book a nurse or phlebotomist (blood test) appointment.

Appointments with our nurses and phlebotomists can be made up to around six weeks in advance. This includes blood tests, blood pressure checks, smear tests and other nurse appointments.

If you know you need a repeat test in around 6 weeks’ time or less, please ask the nurse or phlebotomist to book this in for you, during your appointment. This includes pre-chemo bloods.

Our routine clinics for chronic conditions are currently on hold due to the pandemic, but if you have new symptoms or you feel your condition isn’t under control please call us to book an appointment with one of our Lead Nurses.

Home visit requests

A doctor will assess whether your symptoms require a home visit or whether your coming to the surgery would be more appropriate. The doctor will always call you before coming out to see you, to assess whether it would be more appropriate for a doctor or one of our paramedics to come to visit you.

Home visits are for medical reasons, not for convenience. In the time it takes to make one house visit, the doctor can see many more patients at the surgery. Please request a home visit only if it’s absolutely essential.

Requests for home visits should be made early in the day, ideally before 10.30am.

Cancelling appointments

Please tell us as soon as possible if you can’t attend your appointment. This means we can offer the appointment to someone else. Please call us on 0300 790 6266 or email [email protected] to cancel.

Late arrivals

Please attend your appointment on time. If you’re late we might not be able to see you that day.


If you need an interpreter to come to the surgery or be on the telephone to support you when you see the doctor or nurse, please tell the receptionist at the time you book your appointment.