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Why am I asked so many questions by the doctor’s reception team?

Barnsley GPs are ‘signposting practices’ and our reception teams are ‘active signposters’.

They are trained to ask why you are calling and to gather information so they can tell you about services or selfcare that may help with your symptoms without a need to see a GP. They’re not trying to provide medical advice or assistance; they’re passing on information about new and expanded services and it’s your choice what to do with the information they provide.

Active signposting is not just in Barnsley, it’s a national programme funded by NHS England to provide patients with a first point of contact that directs them to the most appropriate source of help.

Why don’t I always get to see the GP?

The GP isn’t always the best person for the job!

There are many other healthcare professionals who can help, including nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, physician associates, mental health workers and more.

In the past you had to see a GP to be referred to specialist services. Now you access many of these directly through the reception team; for example, the first contact physio service or a health and wellness coach.

Why does it take so long to get an appointment with my GP?

There has been growing pressure on our health system for some time.

Illnesses are more complicated, people are living longer and budgets are stretched. This means more people want to see GPs.

On the other hand, there aren’t enough GPs relative to the size of the population.

This gap between the increased number of people wanting to see a GP and the lower number of GPs available has led to longer waiting times. GPs are seeing more patients than ever – there simply aren’t enough of them.*