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Appointments - Care Navigation

signposting YOU to the most appropriate place for YOUR care

A new approach

What is care navigation?
Please don’t be offended if you are asked what the problem is when you ring to book an appointment - this is called care navigation and it’s about helping you get to the service you need as quickly as possible.
Over the coming months, starting from August 1st, when you ring to book an appointment, our receptionists - who have been trained to become care navigators - will now to ask you for a brief outline of your problem.
They might suggest other professionals who could help you better rather than just your doctor. But you can see your doctor if you prefer - the choice is yours.


Your doctor Pharmacist
Other doctors at SAMC Older people
Advanced nurse practioner Carers
Nurses Mental health
  Become healthier and more active
  Domestic abuse 
  Citizens advice
for more detail tab for more detail
Click Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) tab for more detail

Appointments for SAMC-based SERVICES

signposting YOU to the most appropriate place for YOUR care
A new approach

This page covers appointments with members of the SAMC clinical team.
(for appointments with other professionals who may be able to help you direct, click on Other Profesional Services page.

Normal Surgery hours:
Mon-Friday 08:30-18.00; extended hours: Saturday 07.00-11.00 (usually one a month).

Missed appointments could mean being removed from our list
Approximately 150 appointments per month are classified as ‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA) - i.e. the patient did not turn up for the appointment and did not contact the surgery in advance to cancel/change appointment (minimum of 2 hours).

The effects of these are: ** f
rustration for patients trying to book appointments - wasted appointments increases waiting times ** waste of resources - time and money ** potential risks to the health of patients.

Revised DNA Policy

Length of appointment: Each slot is for 10 minutes. If you have more than one medical condition to discuss or need longer, request a ‘double appointment’.

Patients 1-at-a-time: if more than one member of your family needs to be seen make a separate appointment for each.

‘Your doctor’: make appointments with ‘your doctor’ (every patient is allocated a named doctor) to ensure continuity of care, an important aspect of our Practice. You may however, see another doctor if your doctor is unavailable. 

Chaperone: if you would like a chaperone present during your consultation please advise the receptionist when booking your appointment or when checking in.

Making an appointment
You can make a booking online (if you have signed up for the service - click here to do so) or by phone or by visiting the surgery.

How far in advance can you make an appointment? All medical problems are important but if its not urgent please phone/visit SAMC in the afternoon, after the morning ‘rush hour’.

  • Pre-booking: i.e. you book before the desired day of your appointment. You can book up to six weeks in advance (8 weeks for nurses)
  • ‘Same-day’ (subject to availability): call SAMC on the day you'd like to see a doctor/nurse. We operate a ‘Triage system’ (determining the priority of patients’ treatment based on the severity of their condition
  • If you phone/visit after all available slots are gone your request will be logged by Reception on our ‘triage list’ managed by the day's triage doctor 
  • Remain by your phone and the triage doctor will phone you as soon as possible, to agree the appropriate course of action with you:
    • this may be resolvable without a need for a same-day visit by you to the surgery, but if it is, an appointment will be offered to you, or booked for a subsequent day.
    • in certain cases, at triage assessment on the phone, the triage doctor may decide to arrange a home call
    • note: the triage doctor will make a maximum of 2 calls to you but if you don’t respond, yo'll need to call us again if needed

Very urgent medical problems click here   

Text reminder service: Please ensure we have your current mobile number so that we can send you an appointment reminder – this helps us cut back on missed appointments.

Cancelling an appointment by text:
Please, please, CANCEL if you can't attend, by text or phone:

  • If you have had a REMINDER TEXT from us and you can't attend simply text back 'CANCEL'
  • If you haven't had one, you can still text 'Cancel with your name, appointment time, to 07580 508867', e.g. Cancel John Smith 6 July 11am.

Book a non-urgent appointment online
Click here for more information.

Appointments - Other medical services

signposting YOU to the most appropriate place for YOUR care
A new approach


Other medical services that we can signpost you to are shown here, but you may self-refer for help and guidance without contacting SAMC if you wish. (For appointments with members of the SAMC clinical team click on the Appointments SAMC-based services page).

If you’re suffering from one of the common minor ailments, we can signpost you to a pharmacy for an NHS consultation and treatment, without the need for an appointment.
find out more

Support for Older People
If you are aged 50 years and over and living in the West Kent Area, we can signpost you to Age Well who work with a variety of community organisations to ensure you receive the appropriate support depending on your personal circumstances. 
find out more
Carer Support 
if you provide unpaid support to a family member or friend whatever age you are, and you need help or advice, we can signpost you to Carers First who can offer you support.
find out more
Mental health support (Live Well Kent) 
If you need access to talking therapy services, we can signpost you to a service provided by Thinkaction, the lead provider in West Kent. They offer a variety of individual treatment services including, face-to-face, telephone and online, as well as groups and workshops.
find out more 
Support to become healthier and more active
If you want to improve your health and wellbeing, we can signpost you to One You Kent which runs a number of programmes: smoke free / weight loss / health checks / 1-1 lifestyle support / walking and exercise.
find out more 
Domestic abuse support
If you are experiencing domestic abuse we can signpost you to DAVSS, a West Kent charity supporting anyone who needs help regardless of age, gender, race, religion, culture, sexuality, social status or geographical location.
find out more 
Citizens advice support
If you need some help and advice we can signpost you to the weekly Citizens Advice Bureau clinics here at SAMC on Fridays, from 2 to 5 pm. to arrange an appointment phone 03448 487978 or email
find out more



Care Navigation - Frequently asked questions

signposting YOU to the most appropriate place for YOUR care
A new approach

Q: Why are care navigation staff asking me why I’m asking to see the doctor
A: Our receptionists have been trained to become care navigators and will guide you to the most appropriate person for your need, which may not always be your doctor, and means you are seen first by the health and social care professional best placed to manage your problem. 

Q: Will care navigation prevent me from seeing a GP? 
A: NO! the choice is yours. Care navigators will never offer clinical advice or triage; care navigation is about offering you the choice to see more appropriate professionals in the SAMC team or even elsewhere if they can deal with the problem directly. It will often be quicker and means you may not need to see your doctor at all. 

Q: Do I have to give details about my personal problems to the care navigator? 
A: The choice is always yours - you decide whether you disclose details about your condition to the care navigator - you’ll never be refused a doctor appointment but we hope next time you call SAMC and speak with the care navigator you will see the value of seeing another health professional (other than your doctor) if they are able to help. 

Q: Where will the care navigator signpost me to? 
A: Depending on who they think will be best placed to help you, our care navigators may advise you to see another member of SAMC clinical staff or signpost you to one of the other professional services.

Q: How do the care navigators know where best to signpost me? 
A: Their training has been designed by health and social care organisations working in west Kent, including district and borough councils and voluntary sector groups. It has enabled them to understand how to best support all your needs, including for example, helping prevent illness by leading a healthier lifestyle, helping you access services at SAMC and in the wider community. 

Q: Can I add another service to the ‘signpost’ list? 
A: The initial list of services that care navigators have been trained to signpost to, has been chosen as they cover a wide range of health and social issues, have one phone number or email address for you to use, and cover the whole of west Kent. 

There are plans to provide further training in 2019 and increase the number of ‘signpost’ services and if you have ideas about which services could be added, please email clicks through, or drop us a note, to either SAMC or our patient participation group (PPG). 

If you would like someone to explain care navigation to you in person, or have any further questions, a member of our SAMC team will be happy to help. 

My Doctor @ SAMC

“A lot of us are happier when we visit people we know. Particularly so when we are feeling unwell or need to see a Doctor – our Doctor. We feel a little bit more comfortable and a little more at our ease.

It’s good to know that my Doctor knows me, and is familiar with my medical condition and needs. It makes sense that my Doctor can more easily diagnose and treat the problem. I’ve built up a real rapport with my Doctor who also knows members of my family who are patients.

There has been the odd occasion when my Doctor hasn’t been available and I needed an urgent consultation, but I always try to get to see my Doctor.”

Rachel, Southborough

When a new patient joins us at SAMC we specifically allocate them (plus any family members) to one of the Doctors. Our aim is to ensure that the ratio of patients to each Doctor is more or less the same, and this takes into account the number of surgeries each Doctor does. Most people then stick with that Doctor. But patients can choose to change their Doctor if they wish.

MyDoctor Days
Because most of our patients prefer to see their own Doctor on every occasion, it is good to know when your Doctor will be at SAMC so that you can try and plan consultations accordingly.
Click here for the 
normal weekly schedule.

Of course there are times when you might need to see another Doctor, for example when your Doctor is away perhaps on holiday or your need is urgent and your Doctor is not available.

Who is MyDoctor?
If you don’t know who your own Doctor is, hopefully that means you’ve been in the rudest of health and haven’t been to see us for a while. But whatever your need, from medical consultations to a certificate of some sort, you’ll have your own Doctor. Simply ask Reception and we’ll tell you who it is.

Home visits

If you are too ill to attend the surgery, a Doctor will visit you at home at their discretion.

  • Home visits are not for common symptoms where patients are well enough to travel
  • Home visits are for the truly bed bound patient 
  • Please phone between 08.30–10.00 whenever possible, to enable Doctors to plan their day
  • If the visit is urgent ensure that the receptionist is aware of this
  • Home visits are normally undertaken at anytime between midday and 14.00
  • You should not expect the doctor to arrive immediately following the end of morning surgery
  • The doctor will normally telephone prior to the visit to see if your concerns can be resolved without a visit

Phone your doctor or nurse

You can consult with the doctors and nurses by telephone.

The doctors can take calls between 11:30 & 12:00 weekday mornings

  • Call surgery between these times and ask to speak with your usual doctor

    • If your doctor is on another call or is still seeing patients in morning surgery we will take your number (landline where possible) and the doctor will call you back when free

    • If your usual doctor has a large volume of calls to return one of the other partners may contact you in the first instance to see if they can help

    • In the absence of your usual doctor you will be put through to the duty doctor (one of the other Partners)

  • Don't phone your doctor for non–urgent prescription requests: order them through this website – ‘on-line prescription ordering service’, by calling in person at the surgery and completing a repeat prescription form or by sending/handing in your repeat request at the surgery or a local pharmacy

  • If a nurse is not available when you call, we will take your number (landline where possible) and one of our nurses will call you back when free

Other telephone advice
If your query is regarding a referral letter or other letters to the hospital or outside agency, please do not contact the doctor; ask to speak with the secretary who will be able to advise you on all matters relating to correspondence.