AIBU to think that the receptionist shouldn't be allowed to do this?

(186 Posts)
Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 08:49:23

I rang my doctors this morning to try and get an appointment for today. You have to ring at 8, one the day, to get an appointment.

I got through at about 8.25.

I spoke to the receptionist and she said that they had a 5 minute appointment, "for one thing only", to see a doctor. I'm not fussy about which GP I saw as although it is a problem it is something that can quickly and easily be sorted.

I'm having a problem with my implant that is resulting in very heavy, painful periods. The problem goes away completely when I'm prescribed the pill.
I've had the implant for almost a year and I'm still battling to get it taken out (this is another story) but, for now, this is working. Unfortunately if I try and put a repeat prescription in, I am told it has been rejected and I am to see my doctor. The annoying thing is, is that the doctor who rejects my request hasn't actually seen me once in the two years she's worked there.

My pill ran out on Saturday. My period started Sunday night and it has not been a problem until yesterday afternoon so I rang this morning. It is practically unbearable. I'm going through night time pads almost on the hour.

I accepted the appointment, the gave the receptionist my name and DOB. She then asked why I needed to see the doctor. I stupidly told her the reason and she then said that she couldn't give me the appointment because it's not an emergency. If it was an emergency, I would have gone to accident and emergency. She then said that I can go to the family planning clinic on Monday. This is not the first time I have had an appointment "taken away" because my condition is not serious enough.

I'm now going to have a weekend full of cramping and a very heavy period (TMI sorry!)

AIBU to email the GP and complain and AIBU to change surgery?

NotTreadingGrapes It's bloody stupid, isn't it. How many people are currently in a worse medical position because of these systems? I'm sure some people must be worse because they are having trouble being seen.

ATJabberwocky Fri 15-Mar-13 09:41:45

Please call again and absolutly insist on an appointment urgently, if you can't get in go to an emergeny clinic or A&E.

The receptionist being unreasonable not you

ToupOfRegDwight Fri 15-Mar-13 09:41:46

A receptionist told me my 6 week old bringing up blood wasn't an emergency. Cow. I demanded to speak to someone with medical knowledge and the nurse got me in straight away.

CorruptWalnut Fri 15-Mar-13 09:43:08

I'd speak to the practice manager personally. I'd find out why the repeat prescription system is so disorganised, to which you will probably be told that it's policy to review prescriptions every so often. That's fine, but then ask why if it's the practices policy to review you, you can never get an appointment so end up without medication.

Then ask if it's policy for the receptionist to need to know your medical problems/concerns and question if it's actually a breach of confidentiality.

Confidentiality is between you and your healthcare practioner. If they feel they need to consult someone else they have to ask your permission. A receptionist isn't directly involved in your care so imo under rules of confidentiality she has no right to ask/know.

ubik Fri 15-Mar-13 09:47:12

Well...it's not an emergency.

People always imagine receptionists are withholding the magic appt out of badness. In fact the receptionist may well be triaging people with breathing difficulties, cancer pts who require pain relief, babies with fever and rash, diabetics with high blood sugars, elderly couples trying to care for one another one with dementia, pts who are suicidal etc etc

It's rubbish you can't see a dr whenever you would like to but the receptionist is only doing their job.

Why not phone NHSDirect/24 and speak to a nurse? You may get seen in the OOH period.

Ubik, people with breathing difficulties should be in a and e. Have I missed a memo. Are gp appts just for emergencies now? What is a and e for - dead people?

OP, why are you having trouble getting the implant removed? They should remove it if you ask.

But generally, surgeries are having problems caused by their own stupidity in implementing daft appt systems.

I mentioned our surgery's normal, logical appt system. I should also mention that missed appts levels are low. It's not rocket science.

But the receptionist can't triage people unless s/he has the necessary medical training to be making these kind of judgements. It's unacceptable for patients to have their need for an appointment assessed by someone with no medical expertise.

ubik Fri 15-Mar-13 09:51:24

People with chronic respiratory conditions do not automatically go to A&E, they may notice their symptoms are worsening , medication not having much effect and need to see dr.

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 09:51:48

I don't go back when I run out straight away because my GP told me that there is a chance that it will settle after the months on the pill.

I always wait it out rather than going back to the GP in case it has settled.

Surely going to the GP unnecessarily is a lot worse than me waiting until I actually need to see them?

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 09:53:55

Also, as I said earlier, if it were up to me, I wouldn't even see my GP, unfortunately I can't get a prescription with seeing them.

And suicide patients do not belong in primary care! What is going on with the system.

Cue "tesco primary healthcare" to pick up the slack. Mark my words...angry

lynniep Fri 15-Mar-13 09:58:33

What everyone else said. I'm pretty outraged on your behalf. Why does it have to be an emergency at a GP surgery ffs?!

The receptionist at ours will always ask politely what the problem is. It you'd rather not say than thats acceptable to them and they will allocate a GP anyway, however they use the information to identify whether a GP is really needed, or a nurse, or the prescribing nurse. This is a form of triage but imo its a very sensible way of allocating resources.

The GP can then be freed up to see more appropriate cases, but you still get to see someone.

I would also call and ask to speak to the practice manager. I'm not sure what the receptionist things a general practice surgery is for!

Ashoething Fri 15-Mar-13 09:58:37

If you have been treated like this before then why are you letting it continue-if she had asked me what the problem was I would have told her it is none of her business as she has NO medical training! Phone back and ask to speak to the practise manager-I bet you get an appointment then.

Receptionists should not be triaging anyone.Thats all.

goldierocks Fri 15-Mar-13 09:58:44

Hello OP....I used to have a very similar problem. I bled so heavily for x3 days every month that I needed two night pads on top of each other to travel 40 mins to work without having an accident. I went through 60 night pads a day and had to switch to maternity ones at night. Evertime I went to the loo it looked like someone had been murdered blush

I saw a locum G.P who was most unsympathetic and did nothing. I had to have my appendix out as an emergency case and I mentioned my problem to the surgeon. She was amazed that no-one had mentioned tranexamic acid tablets to me. You can get them in a chemist without prescription. They totally changed my life.

Might be worth a try?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ByTheWay1 Fri 15-Mar-13 10:01:23

But surely going back when you have 2 weeks pill to spare out of 3 months is better than going through what you are going through....

If you had rung on the Monday (just a couple of days earlier) they would probably have fitted you into the FP clinic, which would have been reasonable... and you could also have discussed getting rid of the implant, or getting a consultant to look at it, if it is too complicated...

The receptionist has probably been told to fill the 5 min slots with emergencies and if you did not push that it WAS an emergency, she would have thought it was just a repeat script...

Oh - and not every receptionist is untrained - my mum - a qualified nursing matron - did reception work at her doctor's surgery after she retired - ( you think trying to get past a receptionist is bad... try one who used to be an old fashioned ward matron!!! wink we weren't "allowed" to be ill as kids)

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 15-Mar-13 10:04:07

Make a complaint about her.

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 10:04:18

Goldierocks I was prescribed Tranexamic acid with Mefenamic acid at the same time, not including paracetamol I was taking 9 tablets a day. It alleviated it slightly but not enough for me to want to keep taking them. But thank you for the suggestion smile

Marvellon has stopped the bleeding completely which also means I'm not cramping.

Walk in centre near you? That's what I do when docs are unhelpful.

I second tranexamic acid, brilliant stuff, will reduce your flow hugely within a few hours. You just take 3 a day for up to 4 days. Why are more people not told about this by their doctor, could help so many women?!

You can it get over the counter in boots (not other chemists) under the name Cyclo-F. About £7.

curryeater Fri 15-Mar-13 10:06:42

Instead of all the patronising, sneering posters saying "DO YOU REALLY NEED TO SEE THE DR OR ARE YOU A WHINING SELF-CENTRED LIGHTWEIGHT?", there should be clear information about what, in a GP sense, an "emergency" is. I mean if someone has cut your foot off, you aren't going to phone the GP, are you? So in a GP sense, what is an emergency?
Once when I was young and foolish, a very snitty GP receptionist told me there were only "emergency" appointments available and I said "Oh no that's not me" when I needed anti-b's for cystitis*. After the weekend+ of suffering, when I did see the GP, she said, "Oh but that is exactly the sort of thing we use emergency appointments for, you should have had the antibiotics days ago".

So can the GPs, or GP receptionists, on here please explain:

what is an emergency appointment at the GP for?
as opposed to what?
when should you go to A and E?

*probably my behaviour here was influenced by guilt about having had sex, and by a need to avoid telling the receptionist what was wrong

MrsKeithRichards Fri 15-Mar-13 10:06:59

But just because your mum was a nurse then a receptionist is by the by really, it isn't a qualified role, receptionists aren't triage.

But the OP has already said that she's having a battle to get the implant removed. She's also been told she needs to see if the problem has settled after taking the pill for a while.

OP, if you've tried "waiting to see" more than twice, I'd say it's not going to work and you're being fobbed off again.

You need to book an appt and start going through everything with the doctor. Sounds like the implant may not be for you, and it looks like the heavy bleeding could be controlled by other medication (which I'd never heard of until recently and then via MN).

I think I need to see if this tranexamic acid might be suitable for DD. She's had periods for a year and they are heavy, just like I was at that age. So, very small hijack, would a pharmacist be able to provide advice on this? If not I'll take DD to see doc.

Carrie37 Fri 15-Mar-13 10:12:15

You can buy Tranexamic acid tablets in boots. The pharmacist will see you to make sure they are suitable.

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