To think that 3 weeks wait for a GP appointment is too long

(57 Posts)
theresnowheretohidewithachip Fri 02-May-14 12:43:29

Just been told that the next non-urgent appointment with any doctor in our practice (there are 5 GPs) is on 20th May. I feel exhausted, hungover and a bit dizzy and unwell and don't think it's unreasonable to wish to see a GP before then. How long do you generally have to wait for a non-urgent appointment where you go?

DogCalledRudis Fri 02-May-14 12:58:02

If you tell them it is not-urgent, they won't bother. If you tell them you're VERY unwell, they'll see you the same day.
IME you have to really complain and if necessary, exaggerate a little bit.

RoseberryTopping Fri 02-May-14 13:02:08

Bloody hell that is a long time. You can get in with a non urgent on the same day at ours, sometimes the next day. They have a system where you ring with your problem and then the doctor calls you back, you either get the advice you need over the phone and a prescription to pick up or they'll book you in ASAP.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Fri 02-May-14 13:04:28

If you are dizzy you should ask for an emergency appt and that means ringing the second the surgery opens. Or seeing a nurse depending on the surgery?

We don't have non-urgent appointments. Phone on the morning and you get an appointment same day.
If you want to see a specific doctor, then you may have to wait 2-3 weeks.

DizzyKipper Fri 02-May-14 13:06:12

Can you get a phone consultation? That's what I normally do, they ring and will listen, and either give advice/perscribe something over the phone or arrange for an appointment sooner.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Fri 02-May-14 13:07:39

Yes you can usually get an emergency appointment the same day. I also booked a telephone appointment with my doctor which took two days. I've actually just booked a telephone assessment with the physio and they're calling me back in two and a half weeks. I hope the pain killers last that long, and god knows when they'll actually be able to see me.

Is this a funding thing, do you think? Is the NHS so strapped now that they just don't have the money for the staff? Or there's just too many patients now, with our ever increasing population and soft stance on immigration?

Sorry, bit of a rant there. I'm in fucking pain. angry

theresnowheretohidewithachip Fri 02-May-14 13:13:59

If I exaggerated and said I felt really ill then a GP would ring me back and assess if I need to be seen. So basically it looks like I'm going to have to lie if it's not urgent but I don't want to wait 3 weeks. Not great. I didn't think of asking for someone to phone me. That sounds a good idea.

Muffliato Fri 02-May-14 13:18:25

Our non urgent appointments are usually around a three week wait. However if we need an urgent appointment we just have to get to the doctors surgery before 11 am and are seen. It might be a long depending on how many patients and doctors are available but I think that's fair enough.

piscivorous Fri 02-May-14 13:24:18

Our surgery are very good if you explain that it is not an emergency but it is urgent enough that you need to be seen before 3 weeks, they will get advice and let you know what is best to do. Could you try that?

theresnowheretohidewithachip Fri 02-May-14 13:30:58

I will do that piscivorous. I've felt like this for a few weeks already. It isn't going away and I don't want another 3 weeks before anything is done/suggested, so I will ask for advice. The receptionists are lovely so that's a help. All they suggested before is to keep ringing to see if there are any cancellations which is a pita.

FatalCabbage Fri 02-May-14 13:40:19

I'm five weeks into a seven-week wait for an "urgent, come and see me any time" follow-up.

I've complained to the practice manager (do this!) and am hoping they'll at least review their booking system, staffing levels, etc.

Thetallesttower Fri 02-May-14 13:44:50

Ours has moved to a same day service, with the doctors screening calls and making their own appointments. I was skeptical to start with, but every time I have called, I have been called back within 30 min (they do these first thing) and seen on the same day. You can't be fussy about which doctor you see although I have asked for the same doctor for one thing and waited about three days to see them in preference for someone else the same day.

It can be done, complain about the ridiculous wait.

Also, ask about and see which practices are good for this and move to one. I feel much more reassured at the new practice we will be seen, plus there's no chance of forgetting an appointment 1-3 days a way but a much higher chance of forgetting one in three weeks time.

Callani Fri 02-May-14 13:45:46

If you explain that you've been feeling dizzy for a few weeks and you'd like some information on whether it's serious then they'll usually phone you and then book you in for an urgent appointment if the doctor thinks it's necessary.

pigsDOfly Fri 02-May-14 13:46:00

Urgent is a relative term in these circumstances.

If you were on your last legs you'd be in hospital.

If you're feeling really ill and it's seriously impacting on your life then it's urgent and you need to see your GP immediately.

theresnowheretohidewithachip Fri 02-May-14 13:50:06

Cabbage that's dreadful. Worse than my situation by far. I am going to ring when they open again this afternoon.

Nancery Fri 02-May-14 13:52:28

We have a similar situation with our GP practice too. Very frustrating as I don't want to have to be reduced to exaggeration to get an apt within a more sensible time frame.

I also had similar symptoms to you, OP, and it turned out to be ear related

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Fri 02-May-14 14:01:22

I'm not seriously ill but I am in pain and it is impacting on my life a bit. I can't walk the dc's to school, or walk the dog, or get round the supermarket, or even get the washing upstairs. Thank god I can drive alright. I don't want to bother the doctor again though, I don't really know what he can do until I've seen a physio. And for that I have to wait. Well, I suppose I could go and see someone privately. Don't know how long I'd have to wait for that. God it's ridiculous isn't it?

creampie Fri 02-May-14 22:21:21

I think unexplained dizziness is fairly urgent....

hotcrosshunny Fri 02-May-14 22:24:35

Tell them it is urgent.

Then complain. Do you have walk in centres?

itiswhatitiswhatitis Fri 02-May-14 22:27:05

Phone 111 if they assess you and say you need to see a GP then phone back surgery and tell them 111 have said you must be seen I've found this always works.

This seems bizarre! I am amazed that people are waiting so long. We have a large surgery but it serves a large area (think small town rather than large village). My own doctor who I see every month works part time (as do a number of other GPs at the surgery) and I can always get in before the end of the next week. If it's urgent, it's same day, rarely next day.
I would say that unexplained dizziness that's been happening for a while is more urgent than non-urgent but less urgent than urgent IYSWIM? I hope you get it sorted!

bette06 Sat 03-May-14 18:35:08

It's normally about a five week wait where I live.

CasperGutman Sat 03-May-14 21:18:57

I agree with kidsDOfly - "urgent" in the context of getting a GP appointment doesn't mean an immediate life-or-death crisis. If you had one of those you'd be going to A&E.

To my mind in this context "urgent" needs to be judged by considering whether waiting 3 weeks would be unacceptable. You're feeling seriously ill and symptoms like dizziness could be connected with a serious illness.

If the next "routine" appointment is 3 weeks away, then routine appointments must be for things that can wait that long, like routine reviews of medications etc.

macdoodle Sat 03-May-14 21:27:34

Sadly NHS GP is in crisis. Despite what the government spin says, we have had pay cut after pay cut for the last 10 years, morale is at an all time low, and no one wants to be a GP. this is a combination of increased demand, older more complex patients, more work transferred from secondary care, more demand, less self care for minor problems, much much more beurocracy and admin.
We are at least a doctor down, we cannot manage our demand at all, we cannot recruit nor really afford one. It may not be acceptable but we are working as hard as we can (read 11 hr non step stressful days), for less money than 10 years ago. Unless something is done the days of freely accessible NHS GPs will be gone

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