This is a new system that many surgeries are adopting, in order to enable the doctors to deal with more patients each day, to cope with the increased levels of demand for appointments.
If you feel you need an urgent same day appointment, as your problem can not wait until the next available routine appointment, the receptionist will arrange for one of the doctors to phone you back, as many problems can be dealt with over the phone to save you having to attend the surgery. During this phone call, the doctor will decide whether or not they need to see you. This system is known as GP Triage. If the doctor does need to see you, they will give you a 5 minute emergency appointment. During this appointment, the doctor will only be able to deal with the initial urgent problem and may need to ask you to book a follow up appointment when more time can be devoted to your problem.