Improved Access Service

The GPs of the St Paul’s Medical Centre Cluster have been offered an opportunity to take part in a project to improve patient access to primary care services for the residents of Cheltenham and surrounding areas.

Extra GP and Nurse Clinics will be available between 18:30 and 20:00 every weekday evening and on Saturday and Sunday mornings (08:30 to 12:30). Patients registered with any participating GP Surgery within the St Paul’s Medical Centre Cluster will be able to have an appointment at these extra clinics.

This is an exciting project and involves the five GP surgeries in the St Paul’s Medical Centre working together for the benefit of their patients.

This project will be closely monitored on how it is performing and whether we, as a primary care community, are delivering the care required to meet the healthcare needs of our patients.

Improved Access GP Surgeries

  • St Catherine’s Surgery
  • St George’s Surgery
  • Portland Practice
  • The Corinthian Surgery
  • Royal Well Surgery

Improved Access GP Appointments

Our aim is to make it easier and more convenient for patients to see a GP and/or Nurse by providing more appointments within the Cluster. These will be known as Improved Access Appointments. Patients can book to be seen regardless of which surgery they are registered at. These appointments can only be offered to patients registered with one of the St Paul’s Medical Centre Improved Access Surgeries.

All appointments need to be pre-booked, either in advance or on the day. This is not a walk in service and does not replace the service provided by our local Minor Injuries Unit or A&E.

Advanced practitioner physiotherapy

St Catherine’s along with the other practices in St Paul’s Medical Centre now provided a Physiotherapy Triage Service. Staffed by very experienced Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioners, this new and exciting Service supports patients by giving improved access to appointments without the need to be referred to another Service.

The Service provides, Same Day, Routine and Telephone Appointments which can be booked directly by the reception team in each St Paul’s Surgery.

The Advanced Practitioners (APs) work across all the five surgeries in the medical centre, however, patients can still access this service from any of the surgeries that the APs are working from.

The receptionists in each practice have been trained to follow a pathway to ensure that the correct patients access the service. Patients will therefore, be asked a few straightforward questions, to enable them to follow the pathway.

If an appointment is appropriate, the patient will be told the time and place of the appointment. The patient will be advised to attend 10 minutes earlier than their appointment time to complete a medical questionnaire.

The APs have full access to the patient’s records (only if the patient gives consent), and will complete their consultation straight on to the patients medical record.

The APs will provide advice and information of appropriate care, or in some cases will refer patients directly to other services.

How to book an Improved Access Appointment

Book an appointment with your GP as normal. Your surgery will offer you an appointment based on what is available. If you choose an Improved Access Appointment, the reception staff will tell you where you have to attend and the times of the available appointments. If this is convenient an appointment will be booked for you.

It is very likely the appointment will not be with your usual GP and/or Nurse, and the GP and/or Nurse you see will be from another surgery within the Cluster. You will be asked for your consent for your medical record to be accessed by the GP and/or Nurse you see. Information about your consultation will be entered into your record and your usual GP will be able to see this.

The reception staff will ask you for a brief indication of why you want to be seen. This is not because they are being intrusive, but in some cases it may be better for you to see your own GP and/or Nurse or other health professional and they are simply trying to ensure the most appropriate appointment is booked for you. This is to avoid wasting your time and to allow these Improved Access appointments to be used to maximum advantage for all St Paul’s Medical Centre patients.

Who can be seen at an Improved Access Clinic?

These appointments are for anyone with a new problem, such as tonsillitis or an ear infection, or with a long-term condition that has become worse, e.g., a chest/respiratory condition that has become worse and needs treating urgently.

If you have already seen your own GP about a problem, or you have a long-term condition and are currently receiving treatment, it may be more appropriate for you to see your own GP who already knows about your condition and any tests/treatments you have received.

Consent to access your Medical Record

To treat you appropriately, the GP and/or Nurse you see will need access to your medical record and you will be asked for your consent to this when booking. When you arrive for your appointment, you will again be asked for consent to your record being accessed. If you have changed your mind and do not give your consent, then we will not be able to see you and you will need to re-book to be seen at your own surgery.

Attending your Improved Access Appointment

The Improved Access clinics are staffed by St Paul’s Medical Centre GPs and nurses, but it is very unlikely you will see your own GP or nurse.

It would be very helpful if you could bring with you a list of any medication you take, and for you to have a clear idea of your current problem. It may help to write your concerns down beforehand. Full details of your consultation will be added to your medical record and your own GP will be able to see this.

Please arrive on time or a little early for your appointment. If you are late you will not be seen.

Further Investigation

Following your consultation, if you need to have further investigations such as blood tests or x-rays, or you need to be referred to a specialist at the hospital, this will be done and your usual GP will be aware of the referral.

If you need to take medication for your condition, such as antibiotics, you will be given a paper prescription which you can then take to any pharmacy to be fulfilled.

After your appointment

If you have any further concerns or feel you need to be seen again, you should contact your own GP surgery. Your first point of contact should always be your own GP surgery, who will be able to help you.


If you need to make a complaint about the St Paul’s Medical Centre Improved Access service, please do so by contacting your usual surgery who will advise you of their complaints procedure.