Getting in touch with us
We are aware there are significant problems getting through to us on the phone. We are sorry this is the case and would like to explain a little about why that is.
Many GP surgeries across the country are in a similar position. We understand how frustrating it can be for it to take longer than normal.
We would like to reassure you we are working hard to resolve the situation.
There are three things that are challenging us:
- There has been an unprecedented post-lockdown increase in demand. Part of this is because many of our patients have been managing health issues themselves rather than contacting their doctor over the last year and some hospital procedures and appointments have been necessarily delayed. As confidence in general is returning, patients are now quite rightly contacting us.
- We have been heavily involved in delivering the country’s largest ever vaccination campaign.
- We have had to change the way we work to keep things safe for our patients and our staff.
What can you do to help?
- Choose well – can the pharmacy help your symptoms? Call 111 if you are unsure which sort of treatment you need. You can also go online 111.nhs.uk
- Download the NHS app. You can use this to book and cancel appointments and order repeat prescriptions.
- Use our online consultation system, if you are able to.
- Cancel appointments you no longer need.
It’s useful to remember our teams are on the front line and see both the best and the worst of us all. They work incredibly hard to help patients navigate the system, but may not be able to offer you exactly what you want at all times.
Please be patient and courteous, they want to find the best solution as much as you do.
We are grateful for your understanding.
Covid-19 vaccination information
We are providing Covid-19 vaccinations at The Orchard Practice for our own patients and those from the following practices:
· Dartford East Health Centre (Dr Shimmins & Partners)
· Lowfield Medical Centre
· Maple Practice
There will be home visits for housebound patients. We are inviting patients based on the national priority list. Please be patient and wait to be contacted about when the vaccine is available for you.
You do not need to contact the surgery until you receive a text or phone call about getting the Covid-19 vaccine.
Our phone lines are very busy; please help us to keep lines open for people needing to make appointments for other health matters.
If you have questions about the vaccine please read the information below.
Should I come for a vaccine if I have symptoms of Covid-19?
No. If you or someone in your immediate household has symptoms of the virus it is essential that you self-isolate and book a test. Your vaccine can be re-arranged after your self-isolation.
If I’ve had Covid-19 do I need the vaccines?
Yes, getting vaccinated is just as important for those who have already had Covid-19 as it is for those who haven’t.
How soon after having Covid-19 can I have the vaccine?
It is recommended that people wait 4 weeks after recovering from Covid-19 or from being tested positive but not experiencing symptoms. We will rearrange invitations if you are in this situation when first invited to have the vaccine.
When will the second dose be given?
From 30 December the national guidance changed and second doses will now be scheduled for 10-12 weeks after the first dose.
Can I pay for the vaccines privately?
No, all Covid-19 vaccines are being provided free by the NHS. If you see any offers to get the vaccine privately it will be a scam and you must not contact them.
Find out more: For more information about the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Kent and Medway please visit www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/covid19vaccine
For serious symptoms that they cannot manage at home they should firstly use NHS 119 online (https://111.nhs.uk/). People should only call NHS 111 if they cannot use the online 111 tool.
Do not call the GP surgery unless you need to. The surgery phone lines are facing high demand. Please use the online 111 tools to try to self manage first or use eConsult which is an online automated consultation tool to provide tailored health advice and will allow you to book a telephone appointment with a doctor if it determines this is still necessary.
DO NOT attend the surgery for any reason unless you have been advised to.
For patients where self care measures have been exhausted or your symptoms are worsening or you have a significant health concern, please call the surgery. All appointments have been switched to telephone and only patients that really need to be seen face to face after being assessed on the phone by a clinician will be.
The practice will continue to have processes to ensure childhood immunisation and other essential care continues.
If you are seen at the surgery your clinician may need to wear gloves, gown and mask so do not be alarmed.
We will no longer be issuing printed prescriptions, and all prescriptions will be sent electronically to your pharmacy to limit/stop footfall to the surgery. If you have not been setup electronically with your pharmacist, you will be asked on the telephone for your nominated pharmacy so that your prescription can be sent electronically there.
NOTE: We cannot test for COVID 19.
CQC Inspection rated as GOOD
Following an Inspection in January 2019, CQC have published the report and rated us GOOD.
Please see the CQC website for the full report.
Prescriptions given by the Hospital
If you receive a prescription from the hospital, please get this dispensed at the hospital pharmacy, as we may not be able to prescribe it. This is due to the fact that some medications prescribed by the hospital are specialist only prescriptions.
Armed Forced Network
Have you or a member of your immediate family ever served in the Armed Forces?
If so please let one of our reception staff know
Many more GP appointments now available in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley
We are delighted to announce that from 1 October 2018, you can book to be seen by a GP, nurse and other health professionals until 8pm Monday to Friday, and at weekends and bank holidays.
This is part of a national drive to improve access to GP services and give people the opportunity to see health professionals at a time that suits them.
The appointments won’t always be at this surgery, but your notes will be available to the GP, nurse or other health professional, providing you give your consent.
To find out more, and book one of these appointments, please contact us and speak to the receptionist, who will help you see the right person for your needs.
We will offer the new appointments routinely but please tell us if you particularly need a Saturday, Sunday or evening slot. We will also tell you where the appointment will be
Please ring NHS 111 as usual if you need medical assistance when we are closed and it cannot wait until we reopen.
Electronic prescriptions at the The Orchard Practice
We can to send your prescriptions electronically for a more convenient way for you to get your prescription. You can choose where to get your medication from and it can be collected from a pharmacy near where you live work or shop.
It is vital that we have complete and up to date contact details on your records for this system to work.
Please ask for a form at Reception
The Practice can cater for patients who speak the following languages:
French, Arabic, Italian, Mandarin & Cantonese
These are not currently available due to the Covid vaccination roleout
Please remember that medical certificates are only issued by your doctor after the first 7 days of sickness. The first 7 days are self certification and you should collect the form from your employer. A private medical certificate costs £17.00
Help us to help you
You may not need to see a doctor if you have pain when passing urine or blood in your urine. Ask for a sample pot and a form at reception and a nurse will dip your urine for signs of infection. They will then decide on the best course of action which may be antibiotics or an appointment to see the doctor.
Emergency Dental Treatment
Doctors are no longer permitted to treat dental problems.
If you feel that you require antibiotics you should contact your own dentist or the out of hours service by ringing 111
Booking Doctors Appointments
We are not currently offering pre-booked appointments due to COVID restrictions. Please ring at 8:00am or 12:00 noon to book an appointment.
Please register for the NHS App to order repeat prescription. The link can be found at www.nhs.uk
PLEASE REMEMBER TO WAIT 72 HOURS (EXCLUDING WEEKENDS) BEFORE COLLECTING YOUR PRESCRIPTION
Lumps and Bumps
If you have any lumps that you would like to have removed, please make an appointment with Dr Saad for an assessment
All patients have a named GP who is responsible for their overall care at the Practice. Please ask at reception if you wish to know who you are registered with.
Did you know that West Hill Pharmacy and Moores Pharmacy both offer a Minor Ailment Scheme. You can visit the pharmacies with a range of conditions and get advice and treatment which will cost no more than a normal prescription and is free to those holding an exemption certificate.
Message to Female Patients
It is important that you attend for regular Cervical Smears. If you have received a letter inviting you to make an appointment, please do so as soon as possible. When we are open on a Saturday morning our Nurses are happy to do these then.
To avoid inappropriate use of Accident and Emergency please dial 111 who will advise you of the best action to take.
Please follow the link to 'Latest News' for important information about your medical records
The Orchard Practice
The Orchard Practice moved from a house in Dartford into a purpose-built Health Centre, along with three other practices in the early part of the 1980s, all using the ground floor of the building.
Wheelchair access to the building is through the main door.
A disabled patients' WC is provided alongside the waiting area and access to the first floor can be reached by a lift, just inside the main front door.
The practice is part of the West Kent Primary Care Trust, which is part of the NHS.
Our practice is a training/teaching practice. Our registrars are fully qualified and have a great deal of hospital experience. Registrars are attached to our practice for 12 months after which time they may become a partner in a practice. They are at all times encouraged to seek advice when required from the practice partners.
When booking an appointment you may be asked if you would consult with one of our registrars who are excellent doctors, appointed by the practice.
Our GP trainers are Dr King and Dr Taylor.
(Site updated 21/07/2021)