Surgery News letter – Changes to Appointments


General Practice in Northern Ireland is in crisis, and Moira Surgery is no exception.

Our priority is to provide a service which is, above all, safe, ensuring that patients get the care they need, when they need it. This is becoming an almost impossible task as demands on general practice have been increasing year on year, hugely exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and lack of local government, but without any extra resources being made available.


In order to ensure patient safety and prevent staff burnout we need to introduce a strict limit on the number of patient contacts we deal with each day, commencing 8th January 2024.

To accommodate this we will be reducing the number of pre-bookable routine appointments per day, but making it possible to book these up to 2 weeks in advance. The majority of appointments, however, will be on-the-day and we advise patients to ring at 830am in order to secure one.

To improve efficiency and ensure optimum care we will ask all patients to attend for a face-to-face appointment rather than a phone call.

To book a routine appointment we encourage patients to first go on-line, and if there is no availability to ring reception. Once all the appointments for the day have gone you will be advised to either:

a) Go to ED (if it is an emergency) 

b) Contact out-of-hours after 6pm if you feel it cannot wait until the following day 

c) Go on-line/call back the following day. New appointments are released at midnight

Reception staff will remain available to deal with all other queries (eg. blood test results, sick lines) but will not be able to squeeze in any extra appointments, and a GP will always be available to other health and social care staff such as hospital Drs, palliative care nurses, district nurses, etc for urgent patient issues.

We are very sorry for the inconvenience that this will likely cause, but feel this is preferable to risking there no longer being a functioning Moira Surgery at all.

Thank you for your understanding.


  1. The vast majority of common illnesses get better by themselves and/or can be treated with over-the-counter medication. Most pharmacies offer a ‘minor ailments’ service which allows access to treatments that previously were only available on prescription. In the same way most opticians can nowadays deal with urgent eye problems via the NIPEARS service which is free
  • Please register via reception for on-line booking of appointments and ordering of prescriptions – this frees up phone lines so you don’t have to wait so long in the queue.
  • Please be like the majority of our patients in respecting our staff. We are doing our best to accommodate our patients’ needs but when staff are on the receiving end of rude or abusive behaviour this creates extra stress. We have zero tolerance for this type of behaviour and patients who repeatedly offend in this way will be removed from our practice register.
  • Please contact your MLA and ask them to demand that the Dept of Health provide the necessary resources to allow your GP surgery to offer the level of service that we would like to offer and that you need. Specifically you can mention restarting the roll-out of multidisciplinary teams and an increase in practice funding.


Please do not telephone the surgery to check if prescriptions are ready. If you have nominated a community pharmacy to collect for you please ring them first to check that they have collected your prescription. Most pharmacies call with the surgery daily to collect completed prescriptions. Boots chemist do offer a texting service to advise patients when medication is ready, you will need to organise this facility with Boots directly.

Please allow ample time for your prescription to be processed by both the surgery and the chemist. The surgery needs 2 full working days with the pharmacy needing at least the same thereafter.


The high numbers of appointments still being missed is of great concern to the practice. Not only is this a waste of resources, it is frustrating for patients who are trying to be seen and also for staff and clinicians. Non-attendance results in longer waiting times for you to be seen. Repeated non-attendance may result in you being removed from the surgery register.


Our colleagues in community pharmacy are offering a new service for the treatment of urinary tract infections. This will be useful to those persons who may not be able to come into the surgery due to work commitments or when our daily appointments system has reached capacity. You are eligible to use this facility at any participating high street pharmacies. Patients can use this service if they meet the following criteria:-

Female, aged 16 to 64, not pregnant or breastfeeding and not having used multiple antibiotics in the previous 6 months. Full information can be found here:-

Pharmacy First: Service – Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in women aged 16-64 years – Business Services Organisation (BSO) Website (

We also anticipate the implementation of a Sore Throat service which is currently being Piloted. Initial information is available here:-

Pharmacy First: PILOT service – Sore throat – Business Services Organisation (BSO) Website (


The practice takes great pleasure in welcoming the following staff to the surgery:-

David Ferry, Abigail McAllister and Michelle Graham who join our reception team plus Kim McCoubrey who will be providing a Cervical Smear clinic every Friday.

Also we all would like to congratulate Donna Cunningham our Practice Nurse who has celebrated her own new arrival on 21st December, a beautiful little girl. Happy to say that mummy and baby are doing well.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information.

From all Staff at Moira Surgery.

2024 Surgery Closures

The Surgery will be closed on the following dates:-

Tuesday 30th January – Surgery will close from 1pm for Staff Training

Monday 18th March – St Patricks Day

Monday 1st April and Tuesday 2nd April – Easter Monday & Tuesday

Monday 6th May and Monday 27th May – May Day Bank Holidays

Friday 12th and Monday 15th July – Twelfth Day Holidays

Monday 26th August – Bank Holiday Monday

Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th December – Christmas Holidays

Patient Access 24/7 for services.

Patient Access for ordering repeat prescriptions is available and is the most efficient way of ordering your medication.  You can use this service 24/7 for staff to pick up requests once the surgery opens. You can see when your medication has been processed and you can still choose which pharmacy your signed prescription goes to. 

Please call in to the surgery and speak to a receptionist to arrange for an access PIN to use this service.

Whilst booking appointments online is currently suspended we anticipate that this service will resume this summer, 2023, please ask a receptionist or look out for our Newsletter for further details. 

Hayfever Medication now to be purchased over the counter – click here for list.

Examples of products available to purchase from local pharmacies and other retail outlets are:-

Loratadine and Cetirizine from £1.80 for 14 tablets
Available from pharmacies and other retail outlets

Steroid Nasal Sprays
Beclometasone nasal spray from £4
Fluticasone nasal spray from £5.30
Available in pharmacies only and for use in adults >18yrs

Eye Drops
Sodium cromoglicate eye drops from £4.90
Available from pharmacies and other retail outlets

Talk to your local pharmacist if you need some advice. You don’t need an appointment!

Patient Feedback

At a time when GP Surgeries are facing exceptional pressure and a lot of negativity via various media/social media reporting it is a breath of fresh air to be able to relate the following message which a patient took time to ring in and discuss:-

A phone call was made to the surgery last week and our patient wanted to ensure that her expression of thanks,for the prompt and efficient service she experienced, was passed on to the GP. She found the ability to register a call, send a photograph and then have a subsequent telephone consultation, (whilst she remained in work), was prompt and reassuring.

We would like to say thank you to our patient for taking the time to do this, it certainly gave the team a lovely boost.