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We are aware of some negative comments on social media about our telephone system, staff and appointments system.



We were unaware that there has been a widespread issue with our telephone system and have contacted our telephone provider, as a matter of urgency, in order to resolve the problem with patients being ‘cut off’. We would like to reassure our patients that our reception staff are not ‘hanging up’ on calls and we apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate the frustration this has caused.


Our phonelines are extremely busy at present and we understand that having to wait in a long telephone queue is extremely frustrating. This system was introduced so that patients could phone back if they could not wait for their call to be answered.


Last week, 18th October – 22nd October, our surgery received:

24, 854 calls


At present we have a minimum of 9 medical receptionists assigned to call handling – this complement is increased with demand.  The phone lines are constantly monitored by management during the day.


We have found that over the past number of months, the abuse that our staff has endured, particularly the reception team, has increased exponentially. Our staff deserve to do their job without being sworn at, abused and being reduced to tears.  


This type of behaviour is not acceptable. The reception team have been fully trained to carry out telephone triage and signposting  to either one of the doctors or nurses or to one of our multidisciplinary team members (mental health professional, physiotherapist, social worker or pharmacist) and they carry out their job in line with instructions given by the GP partners and the management team.


There is a misconception that we are ‘closed’ or are not seeing patients ‘face to face’, this is completely incorrect. Like many other departments, such as A&E, we have introduced a telephone first approach. The GP can deal with many things using this approach and where the patient needs a face to face appointment these patients will  be given an appointment time to attend the surgery, often on the same day.


We appreciate that patients would like to see their GP face to face as a first option but due to the high prevalence of Covid-19 in our community, the current increase in demand for our services, having to manage the fallout of patients symptoms deteriorating whilst on a backlog of long waiting lists for secondary care appointments and the rolling out of flu and Covid-19 vaccination clinics alongside limited resources such as a shortage of GP Locums, staff sickness & staff isolation, this is, unfortunately, not a sustainable option at present.


We wholeheartedly share in the frustration that our patients feel, we are frustrated too!


Our service is fast approaching breaking point and during this ‘perfect storm’, we would ask our patients to bear with us and support us whilst we do our best to deliver the best service we can, with the limited resources we have.


The GP Partners & Management Team

Banbridge Group Surgery





Monday 24th of May 2021 will see our surgery operate a new and improved GP consultation booking system.

GP telephone consultations, for all 3 practices, can be requested daily from: 🕗 08:00am - 11:30am ONLY Any requests after this time will be dealt with on an urgent clinical need only.

Our reception team are fully trained in care navigation and can direct your requests where appropriate. Our phone first policy still applies. However, a GP may request a face-to-face consultation with you.  In this instance, your GP will make arrangements with you during your initial telephone consultation and provide you with a time to attend the surgery.

🏥 Access to the surgery is only for patients who have been requested to attend by clinical staff.

This review of our booking system is in response to the huge demand on our service recently.  Our intention, with your co-operation, is to enhance patient accessibility to primary care services.

We are committed to working with our patients, listening to their needs and responding as appropriate - whilst keeping our staff and patients safe during these unprecedented times.

We appreciate your support and co-operation.




Healthy Living Centre Pain Support Programmes: May 2021 – March 2022

A further forty five PSPs, now known as ‘Better Days Pain Support Programmes’, will be run virtually (via zoom) in different local areas, between May ‘21 and March ‘22.

The PSPs aim to help people with chronic pain to reduce their reliance on medication through better understanding of the limited role of medicines, and to learn about other ways to help manage their pain and improve their quality of life.

Preliminary findings from recent programmes include (from week 1 –12):

 55% reduction in self-reporting of ‘extreme’ pain, 33% of ‘moderate’

 65% reduction in self-reporting of ‘high’ reliance on medication

 Increase in use of non-pharmacological techniques from 33% to 73%

The programmes are open for both referral by others including healthcare staff, and self-referral. Bookings can be made online at


Further information on the Northern Ireland Healthy Living Centre Alliance and services they provide can be found at:



We respectfully request that patients DO NOT telephone our surgery enquiring about their COVID-19 Vaccination. 

The surgery will contact patients via telephone, when it is their turn to receive their second dose vaccination.   


We continue to receive a large volume of telephone calls regarding the COVID-19 vaccine for carers.  If you wish to consent for your name to be included on a carers list please complete the carers form and return it Banbridge Group Surgery.

Click here to download



The surgery has become aware that some of our patients have been approached by scamming agencies requesting money and/or bank details to secure their Covid-19 vaccination.  

Please be assured that the Covid-19 vaccine will be provided free of charge, without any request for payment and/or bank details. 

Our surgery will telephone you, when it is your turn to have the vaccine and will NOT request any financial details.

Please click below to view a video message from our own Dr. McCloskey about this serious matter:


Pharmacy First


   Antibiotics should not be used to prevent or treat viral infections, unless bacterial infections are also present.

    Patients should avail of the Pharmacy First service if appropriate for winter illnesses.





Self-care information and fact sheets are available to download from the self-care forum on COVID 19, cough, common cold, sore  throat and otitis media (middle ear infection) amongst others.

See for the full range of fact sheets.


Did you know that it is possible self refer for Maternity Care and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy?



As soon as you have a positive pregnancy test, you can self-refer for maternity care.

Please complete this form and upon receipt the Midwives will arrange your first booking.

Click here for link



You can also self refer to the Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Department, without seeing your GP.

Click here for the link




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(Site updated 11/11/2021)

Contact Details

Banbridge Group Surgery

Contact Telephone

028 406 23303
028 3839 9201
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