GP practices working differently

GP practices have been working hard all through the pandemic to continue delivering services. We know surgery phone lines are very busy and people are finding it difficult to get through.

General practice teams are working very hard to help as many people as possible. General practice teams now include a range of care professionals who you may be offered an appointment with.

NHS Somerset is working with general practice and the local medical committee to help address pressures in general practice. Like the rest of the country, general practices in Somerset are under intense pressure. General practices are delivering more, but demand is increasing.


How practices are working now

All appointments at GP practices are being triaged. This helps keep you safe and makes sure people with the greatest need are seen first.

What is triage?

You will be assessed to decide:

  • who needs to be seen in person
  • who needs a phone consultation
  • who needs a video consultation
  • which healthcare professional will be able to provide you with the best care.

Why do receptionists ask personal questions?

GP reception staff are a vital part of the healthcare team and ask questions to direct you to the best support. They are skilled in assisting with triage and treat all information confidentially.

I wanted to see my GP, so why am I seeing someone else?

Many GP practices now include a range of professionals – like advanced nurse practitioners – who can diagnose and treat health conditions. This ensures that you see the right person, at the right time, more quickly.

Where else can I get help?

Our health services are under enormous pressure, but we are open and here is needed. You can help us help you by making sure you get the right care appropriate to your needs, in the right place, at the right time.

Visit the NHS website for advice on common symptoms and a list of local services. You can also speak to your community pharmacist for advice on minor illnesses. Find your nearest pharmacy below:

Visit our choose well pages to find out about the range of services in Somerset. By choosing the right healthcare service for your needs, people with minor illnesses will be able to be seen more quickly by using more local services such as Minor Injury Units or pharmacies.

Why are GP practices so busy?

There are lots of reasons why practices across the country are under pressure. These include:

  • backlog of work built up during the pandemic, which has meant many patients are presenting with more complex issues
  • increased waiting lists for surgery since the pandemic meaning some people are living with untreated conditions and need ongoing and increasingly complex support from the general practice team
  • GP workload has grown in volume, complexity and intensity
  • recruiting into general practice teams.


Thank you for being a patient patient

Please continue to be kind to practice staff.