Appointments system

  • Consultations with our clinicians are available Monday to Friday with extended surgery hours being available on some weekday evening/weekends every week.
  • Face to face appointments and telephone consultations continue to be available.
  • Appointments are usually 10 minutes long (1 issue per appointment) and can be pre-booked, up to four weeks in advance. Please be aware that when the medical team call patients a definite time cannot be given for telephone consultations
  • Visit the surgery and speak with a receptionist or call the practice, Monday to Friday during opening hours.

When you get in touch, we’ll ask what you need help with, our receptionists will then use this information to recommend you to the most suitable Doctor, Nurse, Physician Associate or Healthcare Professional to help you.

Non-urgent advice: Medically urgent appointments

Medically urgent appointments are available daily if you feel you have a condition which cannot wait for a routine consultation.

Please ring at 8:00am for an urgent morning appointment or at 2:00pm for an urgent afternoon appointment. 

We have appointments available with a Physician Associate – they work alongside the doctors and other members of the practice team to provide a wide range of patient care.

Physician Associates in General Practice

What does a Physician Associate do?

Physician associates (PAs) are medically trained, healthcare professionals, who work alongside doctors and other members of the practice team to provide a range of patient care. 

They are able to:

  • take medical histories from patients
  • carry out physical examinations
  • see patients with undifferentiated diagnoses
  • see patients with long-term chronic conditions
  • formulate diagnoses and management plans
  • perform diagnostic procedures
  • develop and deliver appropriate treatment and management plans
  • request and interpret diagnostic studies (except those involving ionising radiation)
  • provide health promotion and disease prevention advice for patients.

They are trained and qualified to run their own clinical appointments but always work under the supervision of a GP.

Why do we need Physician Associates?

Due to a growing population, the advances in technology, better diagnosis, prevention and treatments, the NHS can sometimes struggle to cope. This is a new role to bring more talent, adding rather than taking away from existing members of the medical workforce and increased access for patient services and care.

Medical appointments

Like other medical staff, physician associates work with their patients to provide the best and most suitable care. They have access to patients’ medical records in case they need to refer to past medical history.

Strict rules of confidentiality are adhered to throughout this practice. 


PAs must pass an intensive 2 -year university course at diploma or master’s level to learn clinical knowledge and skills after completing a 3 -year biomedical or healthcare related degree.

They train in hospital and GP practices to gain knowledge, skills and experience about how to look after patients.

The Faculty of Physician Associates is part of the Royal College of Physicians. They set and run the PA national exam, check the education standards and maintain a register of qualified PAs.

PAs are required to show that they are keeping their knowledge and skills up to date and have to rectify every 6 years.

Arrange your appointment via the GP online system

Login for Online Services

We are encouraging all of our patients to use Patient Access online. If you haven’t registered for this service please contact the surgery to do so.

Non-urgent advice: eConsult

Request an appointment online using eConsult Monday to Friday. All the requests submitted will be reviewed and receptionist will get back with response within 2 to 3 working days. Any medically urgent appointments will need to be booked on the day as per our appointment system.

Non-urgent advice: Emergencies

What is an Emergency?

Whatever the time of day, if you or someone else experiences the symptoms below and you feel it is so serious that it cannot wait, go to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department or call 999.

Symptoms include;

Chest pain

Severe abdominal pain

Vomiting blood


Non-blanching rashes (the glass test)

Possible anaphylactic shock (swelling of mouth and throat)

Your appointment

However you choose to contact us, we may offer you a consultation:

  • Face to face at the surgery
  • By phone

Appointments by phone, can be more flexible and often means you get help sooner.

Cancelling or changing an appointment

To cancel your appointment:

Non-urgent advice: Watford Extended Access (WEA)

The Elms Surgery is a part of  Watford Extended Access. We are now able to offer some evening and weekend appointments to our registered patients.  

If you require an appointment during extended hours, please book by calling the surgery. You may be offered appointments in other surgeries which are part of the alliance. 

As part of extended access, we are sometimes able to offer smear tests and phlebotomy at the weekend. Please speak to a member of the reception team to request these extended appointments.

If you need help now or when we are closed

If you need medical help now, use NHS 111 online or call 111.

NHS 111 online is for people aged 5 and over. Call 111 if you need help for a child under 5.

Call 999 in a medical or mental health emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

If you need help with your appointment

Please tell us:

  • if there’s a specific doctor, nurse or other health professional you would prefer to respond
  • if you would prefer to consult with the doctor or nurse by phone, or by face-to-face
  • if you need an interpreter
  • if you have any other access or communication needs.

Home visits

If you are housebound and need an appointment, we will do a home visit. We will phone you first to understand what you need.

To request a home visit, it’s helpful if you phone the practice before 11:00am.

Help from your pharmacy

Did you know that your local pharmacy can help you with a lot of minor ailments; and a lot of treatments are covered by the Pharmacies.

The NHS Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS) may also help

Find a pharmacy that offers free blood pressure checks

Non-urgent advice: Medical students

Medical students are sometimes attached to the practice as part of their training during the year.

If you do not wish a student to be present during your consultation, please inform the receptionist.

Additional information about your appointment with us
Can I bring someone to accompany me to the Appointment?

We are generally very happy for patients to bring with them a carer, relative or even a friend. This often helps, particularly when they know you well and it allows them to tell us any observations they would make about you, which can help us in undertaking our assessment. Ultimately this will lead us more quickly to make an accurate diagnosis and therefore help you more.

Also, having someone with you means they can prompt you to ask questions that you may have forgotten, and after the appointment they can help in reminding you what was discussed.

Occasionally we might ask for them to leave but this would be unusual.

If you require interpretation services please contact us in advance of you appointment and we will arrange this.

Chaperone Policy

We will always respect your privacy, dignity and your religious and cultural beliefs particularly when intimate examinations are advisable – these will only be carried out with your express agreement and you will be offered a chaperone to attend the examination if you so wish.

You may also request a chaperone when making the appointment or on arrival at the surgery (please let the receptionist know) or at any time during the consultation.

Giving Consent for Treatment

You have the right to accept or refuse treatment that is offered to you, and not to be given any physical examination or treatment unless you have given valid consent. If you do not have the capacity to do so, consent must be obtained from a person legally able to act on your behalf, or the treatment must be in your best interests.

Your valid consent (agreement to the course of action) is needed for the treatment that’s offered to you before any physical examinations or treatment can be given. If you haven’t given your consent, you can accept or refuse treatment that’s offered to you.

It’s important to be involved in decisions about your treatment and to be given information to help you choose the right treatment. When making treatment choices, you’ll often discuss the options with your doctor or another healthcare professional.

If you have a suspected infectious disease

Please inform reception if you suspect an infectious disease, as this will enable us to deal with it appropriately during your visit to protect you, other patients and staff. 


If you require an interpreter to attend with you when you see your Doctor please notify the receptionist and this will be arranged.

Intimate Examinations

During your care, a doctor may need to examine you in order to provide you with the best care. Occasionally this may involve an examination of intimate areas. We understand that this can be stressful and embarrassing. If this sort of examination is necessary:

  • We will explain to you why the examination is necessary and give you the opportunity to ask questions.
  • We will explain what the examination will involve, including whether you can expect it to be painful or uncomfortable.
  • We will obtain your permission before carrying out this examination You will be offered a chaperone.
  • At all times we will respect your privacy during the examination and while dressing and undressing.

Your doctor and the nursing staff will be happy to discuss any concerns you have about this.

Private Medical Examinations

Medical examinations for special purposes such as pre-employment, fitness to travel, elderly drivers, fitness to undertake sports etc, will require longer than a routine appointment.

These examinations do not form part of NHS Services, you will be charged for any such examination. Please check the fee chargeable when you require to arrange any such examination.