Why we’re running an on-the-day appointments system

Our current on-the-day appointments system allows us to keep as many appointments as possible available each day for patients who have urgent health concerns, along with a limited number of appointments for patients who have ongoing concerns.

Along with other General Practices across Scotland, we’re currently experiencing extremely high demand for our services.

At times of high demand like this, many General Practices decide to switch to an on-the-day appointment service, to make sure that every appointment they have available is used to the best effect.

When we offer pre-booked appointments, we find that some concerns have gone away by the time the appointment is due, or that people have found appropriate help from other services, such as their local pharmacy. This – and people not attending appointments for other reasons – can mean that our appointments aren’t used as efficiently as possible.

Additionally – at this time when we’re experiencing extremely high demand for appointments, if we booked people for dates in the future we would very quickly end up with no appointments being available for many weeks, with only a small number of appointments left each day for urgent new concerns.

Certainty around the appointments we have available each day

At this time our doctors, nurses and other health professionals have – along with the rest of the population – often had to self-isolate at short notice, in line with the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 guidelines. Offering pre-booked appointments may lead to us having to cancel them at short notice, further disrupting patients and our ability to best serve the community.

We understand that only being able to book same-day appointments can be inconvenient, but it allows us to offer the most equitable service possible, to the largest amount of people. We hope in the future to return to our previous system, where we offer a mix of on-the-day and pre-booked appointments.