Frequently Asked Questions
At Bridge Street we are delighted to care for patients from all over the world. We understand that different countries have different systems; in fact even different GP practices have different ways of doing things. We have written this guide to help all our patients navigate the sometimes confusing world of the UK NHS and to enable you to access services at Bridge Street.
Who is my GP?
Every patient at Bridge Street has a ‘named’ or ‘usual’ GP. Their name appears on your computerised clinical records (SystemOne), or reception can give you this information. Your named or usual GP receives all your clinical documents, so even if you have never seen your GP they will have an idea about your medical history.
We also have salaried GPs and registrar GPs working at Bridge Street – if you have been asked to book a routine appointment with your ‘usual GP’ then you may see one of these doctors as well, they will equally be able to help you. All of your information is shared between the clinicians on your computerised clinical record.
For any problem that is ongoing, long-term or non-urgent please request an appointment with your usual GP
Who is the Duty Doctor?
There is a Duty Doctor on call for emergency, new or urgent problems every day at Bridge Street. The GPs take it in turns to staff the Duty Doctor role. The Duty Doctor cannot deal with ongoing or routine problems and will triage your concerns by text message in the first instance to make sure you are offered the right kind of help. This may be information, signposting to a more appropriate service, an offer of a routine appointment or an offer of an on-the-day appointment with the nurse or one of the GPs. For emergency problems it is unfortunately rarely possible to see your named GP.
Please try and call as early as possible in the morning or the afternoon if you have an urgent problem. If you need to be seen on the day we need to know early so we can give you an appointment before they run out.
Can I consult from abroad?
No – we are not indemnified to consult overseas. You must be in the UK to consult with any of the clinical staff at the practice. You must also have a UK phone number.
How do I get my usual medications?
We can only prescribe medication that is in-line with NHS national guidance, and that is in the local drug formulary. Please make a routine appointment with your named GP to discuss further; if appropriate we can set up a repeat prescription for you, after which you will be able to request your medications online and collect from your preferred local pharmacy.
How do I get to see a dermatologist, gynaecologist, paediatrician or other specialist?
In the UK GPs undergo extensive training and we are deal with all common conditions in the setting of primary care; most dermatology, gynaecology, paediatric or other issues can be dealt with by the GPs directly, so your first port of call should be a routine appointment with your usual GP. If your GP cannot resolve the issue they will refer you to a specialist.
How do I arrange a smear test or a mammogram?
These are national screening programmes in the UK and GPs have no ability to request these tests outside of the centrally-mandated schedules. These tests are screening tests, they are only for people with NO SYMPTOMS. You will receive a letter from the relevant national programme asking you to book for these tests once you are due.
If you have SYMPTOMS – eg irregular vaginal bleeding, bleeding after sex, a breast lump or another breast concern – please book to see your GP for a history and examination – symptoms need examination and the appropriate investigations, where indicated - rather than a screening test.
How do I get to see a physio?
We are lucky to have an NHS physiotherapist present at the practice on Mondays and it is possible to book to speak to him directly without first speaking to a GP; please book via reception.
The wider NHS physiotherapy service in Cambridge is called Dynamic Health, please see their website and you can also call them directly for advice and appointments.
How do I get contraception?
Our practice nurse is the first port of call for all contraception enquiries and can arrange prescriptions for oral and injectable contraception, or arrange for you to go on the waiting list for a coil or an implant. She can also remove coils, and arrange prescriptions for emergency contraception. Please ask for a phone appointment with her in the first instance.
How do I get a private referral?
You do not need a referral to see clinicians in the private sector – you can usually book in directly. Some insurers eg BUPA ask you to provide a GP referral before they will reimburse the care. Your usual GP can write a referral for you if they feel it is appropriate – please ask for a routine appointment to discuss this. The duty doctor cannot write private referral letters.
Please note we follow NHS guidance and best practice at Bridge Street – see private referrals/shared care page for more details.
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