To think getting a GP appointment shouldn't be this bloody difficult!!

(30 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Tue 19-May-15 08:53:24

I am registered with a fairly large GP surgery where there are about 8 doctors working each day and they run the system of book on the day appointments.

Phones lines open at 08.30am and yesterday I called them and redialled and redialled until I finally got through at 08.37am to be told there were no appointments left for any of the doctors!!

"Try again tomorrow" she said far too chirping for my liking.

So I try again this morning and despite getting through at 08.34am I was told that yet again, all the appointments had gone. It was only four minutes since the phone line had opened!!

She said, "Try again tomorrow" angry

I'm back at work tomorrow though so there's no point anyway.

I understand the book on the day system and I do agree with it but I still feel annoyed grin

Pre-bookable appointments are available but it is a wait of two weeks.

Grr!! angry

And breathe.

KingJoffreyFanciesDarylDixon Tue 19-May-15 08:57:35

My GP does this.

Then they bitch that A&E is full.

hmm

TweedAddict Tue 19-May-15 09:03:21

Ask for a phone call from the doctor. If needed they will bring you in weather there an appt or not.

addicted2cake Tue 19-May-15 09:05:27

Always very frustrating! I'm with you on the grrrrrrr front!

Writerwannabe83 Tue 19-May-15 09:08:28

The thing is that neither of them are urgent but I've been trying to get an appointment for ages. Both I and DS need one. I asked for their next pre-bookable appointment but Sod's Law they are on days that I work. They also don't have two appointments slots together for us both to be seen.

I have seen the ANP plenty of times before when there are no GP appointments but for both DS and I it has to be a GP this time.

lambsie Tue 19-May-15 09:20:06

At our surgery you can usually get one on the day but it has to be the next available appointment even if you cannot physically get to the surgery in that time (like in 15 mins time when it is 10 mins drive, plus having to find somewhere to park plus ds in pain refusing to the leave the house and attacking me every time I try to make him). Dh goes to the surgery when it opens and makes an appointment when he gets there but I can't do this with ds in tow.

Mopmay Tue 19-May-15 09:22:14

I go and queue at 8.25 along with lots of others - with DC in tow if need be as exactly the same issue

gooseflannel Tue 19-May-15 09:23:08

So your GP surgery offers two types of appointments. Urgent on the day appointments (which are for people who are acutely unwell) and pre-bookable appointments for routine, non acute issues.
Both free at the point of contact.

You are annoyed with your GPs booking system because you can't book two routine appointments, back to back, at a time convenient to yourself. Instead you are trying to book an urgent appointment (for people who need to see a doctor today or tomorrow) but due to the heavy demand for such appointments you have been unsuccessful. Twice.

Have you thought about using a private GP? Or maybe writing to your MP to discuss how you think that the NHS should be organised to meet the increasing demands placed upon the service while budgets are constantly being whittled away by austerity measures?

DazzleU Tue 19-May-15 09:36:33

I go and queue at 8.25 along with lots of others - with DC in tow if need be as exactly the same issue

Ours won't let you book appointments by standing there - you have to phone up - DH did after a week of phoning and not getting anywhere stand there and do that. They still has no appointments.

It has gotten better though as they retrained the receptionist a while ago. Before that they were not allowing people to book the non urgent appointments in advance - but insisting everyone rang on the day - and many people couldn't get through.

Now you can book non urgent appointments.

Having said that the routine check up of a long term condition two of us have is an exercise in frustration. They often won't let you book it as there are so many - last time I couldn't get two appointments together and had to wait 3 months. They cancelled the morning for my DC's appointment as nurse was on holiday - which was still true a week later for second one. I see little benefit in the appointments but get chased by letter as they get money for offering service - but they are so inflexible with time and I don't want to pull DC out of school for it or waste my time.

Have you tried ringing later on - when they are over the morning rush - late morning or lunch time - I've found sometime they can suddenly fit us in when at 8.30 there was nothing left.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 19-May-15 09:40:02

I'm not bothered about back to back appointments, if I could get two appointments an hour apart I would be happy to wait at the GP surgery. It would just be handier to have the appointments on the same day in a close-ish time scale.

I think I'm more annoyed because the appointment for me is because they've asked me to come in, it's certainly not an appointment I think I need.

The one for my son is also because they asked me to bring him in once he was 13 months old as he may need a referral for an operation.

I think that's what's irritating he more - I'm being summoned by them yet I can't even get an appointment.

LancashireTea Tue 19-May-15 09:46:46

I have the same problem, to the extent that my postnatal check and dds 6 week checks were done at 9 weeks because we couldn't get an appointment.
We've had a couple of health issues and the on the day system is fully booked with 5 mins (though if you actually look in the docs half the time it's empty!) so we've had to have telephone appointments which happen 2-3 hours after you first call.
We've been prescribed meds without a doctor even looking at us!

This is why we are going to pay £45 a month to go on oh's private health plan that his company provides.

twofingerstoGideon Tue 19-May-15 10:03:27

So your GP surgery offers two types of appointments. Urgent on the day appointments (which are for people who are acutely unwell) and pre-bookable appointments for routine, non acute issues.

gooseflannel Mine DOESN'T do this. You cannot book any appointments in advance at all. You can only book on the day. I've been trying to see my GP for several weeks and the only option - whether the need is urgent or not - is to phone at 8 a.m. for a same-day appointment. I've told them I'm happy to wait weeks if necessary, but they will not pre-book. As a result the surgery now has a well-deserved 1.5 star rating (out of a potential 5) on the NHS Choices Reviews and Ratings webpage. I'm currently looking for a new GP.

I've explained to my GP practice that when they open their phone lines I'm on my way to work, driving along a motorway. I suspect many people have the same issue. They GP's receptionist doesn't give a shit. Their response was 'can't you take a day off work and come and queue up at 8?' When I asked whether that would guarantee an appointment they said 'not necessarily'.

Lots of people delay seeing their GPs for things that may be serious (eg. unexplained lumps) because they're scared. Being consistently fobbed off like this could lead to people ignoring possibly life-threatening conditions.

SistersofPercy Tue 19-May-15 10:38:25

Our GP is part of the Patient Access scheme. You can book online or via an app on the phone.
You can't book the same day, but a few appointments are allocated to this booking method so you can often book an appointment for the following day. Our area isn't particularly technology savvy so I don't believe many use the system as we can almost always book a fairly quick appointment.
You can order repeat prescriptions through the system as well. It really is brilliant.

Twirlwirlywoo Tue 19-May-15 10:54:35

Why dont you book two appointments for whenever you can get them and if in the meantime you can get in for you or you son then cancel the pre-booked ones.

At least then you know you will get seen at some point.

Dionysuss Tue 19-May-15 11:07:53

Have you had a Google for a walk in gp service nearby?
My Drs are useless. I found another surgery that has a walk in at weekends to see a gp, and you don't have to even be registered with that surgery. It's a turn up, fill in a form and wait your turn system. Absolutely awesome and the longest wait we've had as half an hour. If we're too ill to wait until the weekend we use the minor injuries clinic who can give prescriptions.
I haven't set foot in my own Dr surgery in years

Writerwannabe83 Tue 19-May-15 15:27:05

Well I went into the GP surgery a few hours ago to explain I had been trying for days to get an appointment for my son and as it could potentially be quite important that he sees a doctor, I asked to make a pre-bookable appointment. The next available one wasn't for another 7 weeks!!!!!

I explained that DS may need a hospital referral and I didn't really want to wait another 7 weeks if it could be helped, so she's put me down for a telephone consultation a week today. She said that once the GP has spoken to me he has the power to override the system and allow any appointment slot to be pre-booked (so I can get in as soon as needed) whereas the receptionists don't have the authority to do this.

It's a step in the right direction I guess.

PurpleSwift Tue 19-May-15 15:38:16

From your 2nd post I'd say YABU. In a surgery that has a booking system such as yours, on the day appoinents are meant to be for those that need appointments that day, emergency appointments. Why didn't you make an appoinents a couple of weeks ago instead? And why does it need to be back to back?

Writerwannabe83 Tue 19-May-15 15:50:31

Purple - I have already said I'm not too bothered about them being back to back.

And I have been trying to make appointments for weeks. I only have two days in the week I can make appointments and every time I try and do so I have been told there are no appointments.

It's only today I admitted defeat and asked about a pre-bookable appointment for my DS and I do think 7 weeks is too long to wait.

plentychilled Tue 19-May-15 16:00:05

our GP surgery have just scrapped their book on day appointments, it's either a 3 week wait for an appointment or sit and wait if urgent 9-11am which obviously isn't possible for a huge amount of people. You have to book in between 9-11 but are waiting beyond that. Lots of people booked in then have to leave without seeing anyone because they need to pick kids up etc. Our surgery has 17,000 patients and 7 doctors and can't keep up with demand. My best friend lives in the next town and can get one for the same morning easily.

LikeABadSethRogenMovie Tue 19-May-15 16:00:12

All hail the great and good NHS! Heralded all around the world as a shining beacon of 'free' healthcare. It's all good unless you are actually, you know, ill... grin

bigbluebus Tue 19-May-15 16:06:29

Are you sure they only start answering the phones at 08.30 OP - or is that just the advertised time. When our surgery started this system, I asked how likely it would be if I rang, that I would get an appointment for DD on the day. I was told to ring at 08.15. (was supposed to be lines open at 8.30) I did this and the phone was already engaged but I got through at 8.20 and got a appointment for that morning.

Same used to happen when you had to turn up in person and wait your turn. Advertised as book in between 8.30 and 10.00 to be seem the same morning. So you would turn up at 8.30 and be 8th in the queue (for one doctor) as people started queueing at 7.30 when the cleaner went in and left the door to the waiting room unlocked.

ThisTimeIAmMagic Tue 19-May-15 16:09:09

Plenty in your situation I would try and register with the GP in the next town!

The NHS is brilliant but just very overstretched. Not helped by people having no common sense whatsoever and going to the GP with sniffles hmm

bottleofbeer Tue 19-May-15 16:12:49

Mine is like this. I've pleaded for an appointment after 101 told me my daughter needed to be seen within three hours but the receptionist wouldn't budge. What really annoys me about the place is that the actual surgery is huge, yet they have ONE doctor and are still taking more patients on.

morage Tue 19-May-15 16:21:47

The NHS can be great. But there is a shortage of GPs. So in my surgery it is easy to see someone as there are the correct amount of GPs in my area for the population. But where there are not enough, the caseloads are too high. That is the real issue

LaLyra Tue 19-May-15 17:47:24

Our surgery is like that. Phone at 8.29am and someone lifts the phone and puts it back down to stop queue jumpers, phone at 8.30 and you spend 40 minutes hitting redial and getting the engaged tone and then when you get through at 9.10am you get 'no appointments left today'.

They don't offer any pre-bookable appointments at all, not even when you get a new medication and the doctor says 'come back in a week/fortnight/month'. You can't go up in the morning to queue for an appointment and they've pretty much scrapped telephone appointments.

Then they've got a big notice up in reception about how many people from the practise 'misuse' the OOH service - probably mostly people like me who tried for 3 days to get an appointment for an 8 year old in pain with an obvious ear infection (history of them) who have to resort to OOH.

They also don't allow prescription without consultation anymore. I have asthma and a history of chest infections. Never once have I been and said 'I think I've got a chest infection' and been wrong. It used to be that if I couldn't get an appointment, they'd book one in advance for in a weeks time or whatever, but ask the Dr on call to review what i'd said and 9/10 they'd leave a prescription. Now there's no bookables and they won't prescribe anything without being seen (which I totally understand, but it does make it a nightmare if you can't get through for anothr 4/5/6 days).

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