Practice Charter

All members of the North Parade Medical Centre Practice Team are dedicated to a quality service, in order to achieve health services which meet our patients’ needs.

Patients’ Rights To General Medical Services

As A Patient You Have The Right To:

  • Be registered with a general practitioner.
  • Express a preference of practitioner on registering. The practice will endeavour to comply with this right, though it might not always be possible, in which case an explanation will be offered.
  • Change doctor if desired, quickly and easily.
  • Be offered a health check on joining the practice for the first time. If you are aged over 75 you are entitled to an annual review if you have not had a consultation within one year. All other patients over 16 and under 75 are entitled to a three-yearly review if they have not had a consultation during the preceding three years.
  • Receive emergency care from the practice during the hours of 8.30am – 6.00pm.
  • Receive emergency care from the South and East Out-of-Hours Service between the hours of 6.00pm to 8.30am. Telephone 9079 6220.
  • Receive appropriate medication.
  • Be referred to a consultant acceptable to you if clinically appropriate and be referred for a second opinion if you and your doctor agree.
  • Have access to your health records subject to current legislation and to know that staff working for both this practice and the NHS are under a legal obligation to keep their contents confidential.
  • Have all relevant medical procedures adequately explained.
  • See on request any medical reports made for insurance or employment purposes.
  • Choose whether or not to take part in medical research or medical student training.
  • Be kept informed about services available by means of the practice booklet, website, electronic notice boards and other leaflets.

Our Responsibilities To The Patient

Surgery Staff

We will be courteous, helpful and act in a professional manner at all times. Patients will be treated as individuals and partners in their healthcare irrespective of their ethnic origin or religious or cultural beliefs. All staff will wear name badges or be clearly identified to you to ensure you are aware at all times who you are dealing with at the surgery.

Surgery Premises

Our surgery building will be welcoming, safe and easy for patients to find their way around and appropriate to the needs of the users, including the disabled.

Privacy And Confidentiality

We will respect our patients’ privacy and confidentiality at all times. Confidentially is of paramount importance within the practice. All information about patients is confidential.

Practice Booklet

Our practice booklet is available in hard copy form on request.

Waiting Times

  • We will endeavour to answer telephone calls in a timely fashion, but would point out that North Parade has around 8,000 patients, and at times of high demand patients may have to wait to get a line into the surgery.
  • Surgeries will normally start on time.
  • Patients will usually be seen within a reasonable time of their appointment.
  • Where there is likely to be an unduly long delay, we will inform the patient and offer an explanation.
  • When a doctor is called away on an emergency we will inform the patients and give them an opportunity to book an alternative appointment or, if preferred, to be seen by another doctor.

Changes To Procedures

When changes are introduced to practice procedures or services that affect patients, we will endeavour to make sure that these are clearly explained, by means of waiting room notice boards or individual leaflets.

Treatment And Care

Following discussion with the patient, the most appropriate treatment and care will be given by suitably qualified individuals. No care or treatment will be given without informed consent.


Urgent referrals to other health and social care agencies will be made within one working day of the patient’s consultation. Non-urgent referrals will normally be processed within one week of the patient consultation or the doctor’s decision to refer.

Accessing Medical Records

Patients have the right to see their medical records, subject to the relevant legislation. The practice manager will assist any patient wishing to have access to their own medical records and a fee may be payable in certain circumstances. Records are kept confidential and not released to anyone without the patient’s written consent.

Zero Tolerance

The practice strongly supports the NHS policy on zero tolerance. Any patient attending the surgery who abuses the GPs, staff or other patients be it verbally, physically or in any threatening manner whatsoever, will risk removal from the practice list. In extreme cases we may summon the police to remove offenders from the practice premises.

Chaperone Policy

If you would like a chaperone present during an examination or consultation, please arrange this with the doctor.

The care that we can provide depends on the partnership between patients and their doctor. Whilst we will always strive to meet the demands placed on us, there are things that the patient can do that will make our job easier:

Patient Responsibilities

  • Treat practice staff with courtesy and respect at all times.
  • Keep phone calls to the practice as brief as possible to free up phone lines, staff and GPs for other patients.
  • Attend appointments on time or give the practice adequate notice of cancellation.
    Someone else could use that appointment.
  • If a doctor is running late we ask that patients are understanding as consultations will
    sometimes run over time.
  • An appointment is for one person only – where another member of the family needs to be seen or discussed, another appointment should be made.
  • Telephone the surgery as advised to obtain results for tests.
  • Patients should make every effort when consulting the surgery to make best use of nursing and medical time – home visits should be medically justifiable and not requested for social convenience.
  • When patients are asked to give 48 hours’ notice (two working days) for repeat prescriptions, please give us this time, as it is to allow for accurate prescribing. If repeat prescriptions are required to be delivered to a pharmacy then 72 hours should be allowed to ensure the pharmacist has time to make the collection.
  • Out-of-hours calls (eg evenings, nights and weekends) should only be requested if they are felt to be truly necessary.
  • Patients are requested to keep us informed about changes to personal circumstances and, in particular, any change of phone numbers or address.
  • Accept responsibility for your health by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Value and respect advice. In the interest of your care and treatment it is important that you understand all the information given to you.

Suggestions Or Complaints

We always try to provide the best possible service but there may be times when you feel that this has not happened. If you have any suggestions on how we could improve our services, or are unhappy about any aspect of our services, please let us know. A suggestion box is available at reception or you can phone or write to our practice manager.

If you wish to make a complaint you can speak directly to our practice manager or any of the staff who will pass on your concerns to the doctor. Alternatively, you can put your complaint in writing, or make an appointment with one of the doctors to discuss your complaint. Our practice procedure is not able to deal with questions of legal liability or compensation. We hope you will use it to allow us to investigate and, if necessary, correct any problems that you have identified. Alternatively you may raise your complaint with the HSC Board; or obtain assistance from the Patient and Client Council. This does not affect your right to refer your complaint to the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints (the Ombudsman). Please note that we have to respect our duty of confidentiality to patients and a patient’s consent will be necessary if a complaint is not made by the patient in person. Full details of our practice complaints procedure are available from our practice manager.


We ask you for personal information so that you can receive appropriate care and treatment. This information is recorded onto the computer and we are registered under the Data Protection Act 1998. The practice has strict procedures in place to ensure that patient confidentiality is maintained at all times by all members of the practice team. However, for the effective functioning of a multi disciplinary team it is sometimes necessary that medical information about you is shared between members of the team. The practice follows a strict protocol for information sharing with other health professionals.