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?

nethunsreject Fri 15-Mar-13 08:50:51

Yanbu. That's rotten. Hope you feel better soon.

Since when have doctors appts been for emergencies only?! Contact pals at your pct (before end of this monrh!)

Theas18 Fri 15-Mar-13 08:52:46

Why not ask for telephone call? Sounds easily dealt with by phone.

I have scalp psoriasis. It is itchy and unsightly. In my case it is a very minor conditionwhich does not cause pain. I still see the GP about it!

I would never tell the receptionist what I wanted an appointment for. She doesn't need to know. I'd complain if I was asked, especially if she then decided to withdraw an appointment. It isn't up to her to decide what is urgent and what is not.

NotTreadingGrapes Fri 15-Mar-13 08:53:54

YANBU. Unfortunately it seems to happen a lot.

I wonder what the comeuppance would be when a receptionist (with all that medical training hmm) turns someone away and something Very Bad happens.....

Some doctors I think are running a great risk by telling their receptionists to do this "triage" thing and making decisions which really they are not competent to make.

This is actually making me really angry. You are in pain and are going to be all weekend. Please call back (or get a friend to help) and insist on an appointment. Tell them if you don't get one you will be going to A&E and then to the newspapers.

It amazes me that anyone thinks GP receptionists can do any kind of 'triage'. NotTreadingGrapes is right: it could be very dangerous. There's a reason you see a nurse for triage at A&E.

this is what the NHS has come to. great progress. Well done government

She doesn't need to know. We just get asked if it can be dealt with over phone. You do not have to tell her anything!!!

louschmoo Fri 15-Mar-13 08:57:51

Surely if their booking system is to ring at 8am on the day to book then none of the appointments are 'emergency' are they. My GP operates this system and it is for all appointments except for follow-ups. And it's none of her business what your appointment is for. You should write to the practice manager.

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 08:59:17

Theas18 I don't think my GP do over the phone. I've never heard of anyone who uses this surgery speaking to a GP on the phone.

SPB thanks, I'll get on that now.

It's just such a pain. I don't want to take up doctor time, I know that they can get over stretched with minor things, but my request for a repeat prescription just gets bounced back and I have to see the doctor.

weegiemum Fri 15-Mar-13 08:59:28

I'm married to a GP. Did you know they're officially not an emergency service. Receptionist shouldn't triage. Phone back and ask for the on-call GP or failing that, the practice manager. Complain!!

I often get asked if it's somethin the nurse practitioner can deal with (well I did until they lost the NP sad) and don't mind that. But the default should be doctor.

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 09:02:58

I'm not slating receptionists either. Just the practices at this surgery.

She gets me every time with it.

This is the only thing I ever see the doctor for. I go in, tell them that it's run out and they write me a prescription. I'm in there for >3 minutes every three months.

I don't understand how she can decide whether it is urgent as I'm presuming she doesn't have any medical training.

VBisme Fri 15-Mar-13 09:03:00

I always answer the question "what's wrong with you", with "I don't know, I'm not a dr". It's such a stupid question...

I remember NHS Direct doing a pompous "THINK before you ring it an emergency" thing a couple of years ago. This, the service that was launched as an alternative to the 999 EMERGENCY number, and one of its suggested services was "need to know what vaccinations you need for your holiday?".
Really pissing me off.

Sorry OP. Will take my fury elsewhere. I really really hope you get sorted. The people who work in the NHS are atill great but IMO the NHS is being eaten from the top down.

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 09:05:08

VBisme I go to the doctors so little that I forget that three months ago she did it and she gets me with it the next time.

good luck

Sirzy Fri 15-Mar-13 09:06:44

Thats not on and I would also be fighting for them to put it onto repeat as its a waste of everyones time otherwise.

I don't understand what GPs gain from refusing to put regular drugs onto repeat. I have had the same argument with our practice when they have refused to put inhalers on repeat for DS

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 09:07:21

SPB it's fine. I'd be furious too but there is a family planning clinic in my town and I'm going to ring them and see if they prescribe the pill I need. If not I'm screwed. If they don't have it there is going to be untold fury.

Y won't they take out ur implant? sad they should respect ur choice

I think NHS direct do that because their default response to everything is 'go to A&E'. It really is a pointless waste of money. You'd've been better proceeding straight to A&E.

Doctors always seem to be asking me what I think the problem is. My rheumatologist asked me what I was thinking it was the first time I saw her. I answered that I didn't know, which is why I needed to see her, and then she diagnosed something I'd never heard of. My GP always asks too. I suspect it might be because they're trying to find out if you've consulted dr google to diagnose something really hyperbolic.

maddening Fri 15-Mar-13 09:11:47

Also filling a pad an hour is often seen as urgent.

Call out of hours after your gp closes - they might take it more seriously - that level of blood loss is not to be ignored as far as I have been informed in the past.

could the family planning clinic get the implant removed for you?

Sirzy Fri 15-Mar-13 09:13:31

I think its right for doctors to ask the patient (or their relative) what the problem is. Generally they are the ones who know their condition better than anyone else even if they don't know the medical side of things.

DS is asthmatic and I get pissed off because the GP doesn't listen to me when I tell him whats wrong. He was in A and E a few days ago and the doctor asked me how I felt he was now (this was after drugs), if I felt he had improved enough etc etc because I know how he normally is and what is ill for him.

Au I actually don't mind that. They're treating you as an intelligent person and it's your condition. For long term conditions there is an attitude that the person who lives with it day in, day out has something to add to the 'expert' knowledge. Obv when I had meningitis I was really pleased my doctor said erm no this looks serious and took charge! So it depends on the situation. But I've noticed a shift towards that in the last few years (what do you suspect it is? These are the treatment options, what would you like to try?") And think it is a good thing

iwantanafternoonnap Fri 15-Mar-13 09:14:55

Ring up and ask for a telephone appointment as you want a repeat prescription of the pill. I wouldn't go to A and E as you will just get sent away as A and E does not prescribe the pill and you'd be sent straight back to your GP. Only the triage nurse would call your GP and make them see you that day we we do in my A and E anyway.

maddening Fri 15-Mar-13 09:16:40

Oh and one thing even a nurse wouldn't see you for is abdominal pain - if there is more than one receptionist ring back and state you have abdominal pain (not lying ;)) and need to see a dr.

MidniteScribbler Fri 15-Mar-13 09:17:28

I thought the whole purpose of GPs were for non emergency purposes. If people only went in an emergency, no one would ever get seen. Next time, ask her where she completed her medical training.

Wowserz129 Fri 15-Mar-13 09:17:47

Arbitrary it is part of a medical receptionists job to ask and prioritise patients needs. They are well within their right to ask and it is 100% in their job role.

It sounds like to me that she only had emergency appointments left and didn't assess yours as an emergency. I wouldn't have assessed it as an emergency either.

Just go on Monday to the clinic

SuckingDiesel Fri 15-Mar-13 09:18:40

Naysa, what pill do you need?

SuckingDiesel Fri 15-Mar-13 09:19:54

Oh, and it's utterly ridiculous that the receptionist is deciding who is deserving of appointments. That's a law suit waiting to happen. I wonder if the GP's know what she's doing?

X post sirzy

BigPigLittlePig Fri 15-Mar-13 09:23:38

If it is purely the pill tthat you need, today, then the pharmacy where you usually collect the tablets from should be able to "loan" you some - they then deduct the tablets loaned (eg. one strip) from the rest of the prescription.

In future, say to the receptionist that is it a "personal" matter - that usually shuts them up.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotTreadingGrapes Fri 15-Mar-13 09:25:31

SuckingDiesel- it happens at our doctor's as well, and I doubt it's the same one as the OPs.

My cousin's wife is a receptionist and she has to do it (she has told me they are literally told by the GPs to fend off as many patients as possible shock)

How the hell can a clerical worker possibly be in a position to prioritise medical cases. Disgraceful.

How can a receptionist prioritise patients needs without medical training with which to make that judgement?

I don't actually have a problem with my doctors asking me what I think the problem is. It is presumably helpful to find out what i think is wrong. I just find it slightly odd when the expectation seems to be that I'm about to diagnose myself. I have to admit that I really don't know what it could be (and then i feel like i've somehow let them down). The registrar I saw last time at rheumatology seemed to think I actually did work in a medical field (I'm an academic in a field that is not at all like medicine) and seemed slightly disappointed when it turned out that I do not in fact know my areas from my elbow.

Arse from elbow.

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 09:30:36

The pill I need is Marvelon. I've tried a month of Cerazette(sp?) and that didn't touch it.

I've had a look at the Practice website and they do do phone consultations so I'll see if I can get that.

I just don't think it's acceptable that they had an appointment, gave it to me, then deemed me not ill enough to have it. Knowing my luck now one will want that appointment and it will go empty for the whole day.

Thanks for the advice and sharing my outrage everyone.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 15-Mar-13 09:32:15

YANBU to expect to be able to see a doctor when you need to.

BUT - this sounds like it is an ongoing problem, so why aren't you more on top of things and making sure you don't run out of medication?

Our surgery has a great system where you can ring and request a phone call in the morning. The GP who is doing the emergency surgery then rings you and discusses the problem - sometimes they just give advice, other times they will tell you to come down to the surgery. It works really well.

It sounds like you actually do need an appointment because you are having a problem with painful, heavy periods that is not currently being treated adequately. That's exactly the sort of thing you're supposed to see your GP about.

This appointment system that many surgeries seem to have (going by what's on MN) is farcical. Phoning for an appt on the day is stupid.

I get that maybe surgeries are trying to reduce missed appts, but many people want a non-urgent appt booked iin advance to help them plan things themselves.

I used to have the depo contraceptive injection and I was always able to book the next appt as I left after each injection. Simple, no faffing, and a date on the calendar to remind me with no scrabbling for any available appt when time came to have next jab.

Our surgey will book any appt in advance. It's only the case to ring up in the morning if you have an urgent need to see someone that day.

SuckingDiesel Fri 15-Mar-13 09:35:13

Shame. I have a few unopened packs of Cerazette here as I stopped taking it.

Hope you can at least get a phone consultation. Our GP does this and is usually a quick and simple for straightforward problems. This thread makes me appreciate the receptionists at our GP's as they are usually helpful and leave it to the patient to decide if they need to see the doctor same day or not.

Smartiepants79 Fri 15-Mar-13 09:35:14

Just thought I'd say that many 'regular' medications still have side effects so they are not on repeat as it is necessary to be checked by a doctor to make sure you are not reacting to them.
If I remember rightly you have to have regular blood pressure checks for the pill.
It is very annoying but in place for a good reason.
That said, doctors receptionists ( and we have lovely ones) should not be deciding if you see a doctor or not.

OTTMummA Fri 15-Mar-13 09:36:16

My gp tried to fob me off about my implant and wouldn't take it out until I threatened to cut it out myself.
They can not refuse to take it out op, it is unbelievable to me that gps do this or think it is ok to do.
Yanbu either, my FIL has muscular dystrophy and was told by a retired gp friend that if he was ever refused an appt he should say he has had chest pains/abdominal pain.

Alibaba It sound like OP is having trouble getting the doctors to take her problem seriously. I think OP also mentioned that she isn't sure if her surgery does phone consultations. I have heard of one or two that don't, so may not be an option for her.

NotTreadingGrapes Fri 15-Mar-13 09:37:54

FryOne- it's so that their statistics can say "everyone gets an appointment on the day they want one".

Our doctor's has no booked in advance system at all now, which is mad.

And don't get me started on the 30 second weekly window when you are allowed to go in and ask for a repeat prescription.

lyndie Fri 15-Mar-13 09:40:36

Why did you run out of your pill? Sounds like you could have predicted when you needed it for.

Phone back or go down there and explain what you need - could be sorted out easily over the phone.

If you want your implant out go back to whoever put it in, they should remove it for you.

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'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.

Thank you curryeater. It really isn't clear and yet the general public, instead of being told, is being patronized. Tell you something, a and e delta will be empty now GPS are dealing with breathing difficulties, foot chopped off, etc.

whimsicalmess Fri 15-Mar-13 10:15:10

What? I had that problem too OP , its very debilitating and that level of constant of blood loss makes you very ill, I have this now again, the coil is fairing no better :/.

Its awful she was that dismissive, I would make a complaint, in the meantime is there a walk in you could go to?

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 10:21:26

FryOne As others have said it can be bought and prescribed. For me personally it didn't really have much of an effect, but I'm not sure if this is because I was bleeding because of the implant.

I've heard a lot of success stories from people who have used it for their "natural" periods, if that makes sense confused

BramshawHill Fri 15-Mar-13 10:23:50

Can you phone again, give her your name etc but say you desperately need to see a doctor but you don't want to share private info (I.e. what's wrong) with the receptionist, just your health care provider.
I'm sure they couldn't turn you away in case it is actually serious?

BramshawHill Fri 15-Mar-13 10:23:51

Can you phone again, give her your name etc but say you desperately need to see a doctor but you don't want to share private info (I.e. what's wrong) with the receptionist, just your health care provider.
I'm sure they couldn't turn you away in case it is actually serious?

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 10:25:40

I've sent an email to my local PALS, I've had a reply so I've got the ball rolling.

Personally, it's aggravating, but I can't help thinking that if someone who was in a worse state than me, obviously mine is not a massive problem, then it could be fatal them being turned away. I hope that they review their policies.

sleepdodger Fri 15-Mar-13 10:29:10

My ooh gp provider refused to transfer me to a dr at 8pm at night for my 2 yo persistent 40degree temp as we were out of area (on holiday in uk, if I'd have known would have lied blush) as just needed advice- nhs direct said to call gp or go to a &e but I had no Internet and no idea where nearest ooh drop in was
When I asked If she was medical and could advise me she said no
When I asked what I should do with my sick baby she said she couldn't wouldn't help
I wider what would have happened if I'd not have had someone medically minded with me to sort the situation rationally

ubik Fri 15-Mar-13 10:29:15

SPB - re the breathing difficulty thing, why is it so surprising that GPs deal with breathing difficulties? In fact when DD1 had chest tightness, couldn't walk/talk at same time i got an emergency appt at GP and she was put on a nebuliser and prescribed medication - no need for A&E.

ubik Fri 15-Mar-13 10:30:14

Sleepdodger, that is shocking. sad

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 10:33:35

Sleepdodger That's exactly what I mean. My condition is very uncomfortable but is not fatal. If they are turning me away then who else?

ubik Fri 15-Mar-13 10:36:18

Op - I would phone back.

Ubik you are talking about people whose ltc leads to breathing difficulties I assume? I will agree with you there, as I'm sure you know better. However in general, struggling to breathe is a 999 job, not a "call the surgery" issue.

Smellslikecatspee Fri 15-Mar-13 10:42:41

Some of these policies are so time wasting.

OH carries an Epi-pen.

It needs renewing every 6 months
My GPs system will not 'allow' her/him to write a script that far in advance.
OH puts in a repeat request.
We get a call saying he needs to see the doctor as he hasn't seen one in 6 months.
I point out that while I appreciate the need to review patients medication intake on a regular basis you can't really abuse adrenaline and its not likely that his allergy will have just gone away. . .

If anything his reactions are getting worse.

Get told that unless he makes an appointment they won't issue the script.
OH re-arranges work to go to GP (contract so loses money).
Goes to GP.
Waits waits waits, goes in to GP

Normally goes along the lines of 'what can I do for you today?'
'I need a repeat script for my epipen'
'ok anything else?'


Total waste of appointment

ByTheWay1 Fri 15-Mar-13 10:58:57

Tranexamic acid is not suitable for everyone. It affects the way your blood clots and can affect your stomach and digestive system - I had more cramps on tranexamic acid than without, it slowed the bleeding by about 30-40%, but gave me chronic diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

In the US you are advised not to fly or sit for long periods whilst taking it, as it can lead to DVT. A pharmacist can advise, but for first use they usually recommend seeing your GP.

CotedePablo Fri 15-Mar-13 11:40:20

I've been a doctor's receptionist. In general, the receptionist can ask what you want the appointment for, if it's using an emergency appointment. However, you have every right to reply - I would prefer not to discuss this with you, but I do consider it an emergency - and she has to take you at your word. It is NONE OF HER BUSINESS why you need to see a doctor.

Sorry if someone else has said this - I've not had time to read the whole thread.

Flobbadobs Fri 15-Mar-13 11:45:01

Glad to see you've had an answer from PALS.
When I worked as a receptionist we were instructed to triage for certain things but only if the patient mentioned it in the conversation, not in a "what do you want an appointment for" way. So for example if a patient phoned up with chest pains we would have a check list infront of us to go through and if we suspected anything serious we would speak to the doctor and if necessary call an ambulance. But only after speaking to the GP. This happened quite a few times when I was on the desk!
But for normal appointments we just booked them in, it wasn't our business why someone needed to see a Doctor. I would actually question whether it's even allowed under patient confidentiality.
YANBU. I hope you get sorted x

Good point flob, receptionists should be triaging for more serious stuff too. If I call for a sake day appointment, abs they discover my issue is that I've chopped my foot off, they are the ones who can say "actually you need to hang up and call 999"

Callycat Fri 15-Mar-13 11:55:29

My cousin was rejected an appointment by the receptionist because her severe headache was not considered an emergency. The headache was in fact a symptom of meningitis, which lucky she survived - and I know the receptionist felt terrible when she found out about her mistake - but it's too much responsibility for someone who is not medically trained.

mum11970 Fri 15-Mar-13 12:00:32

Can you not ring gain at 2 pm for the evening appointments? My gp does 8 am calls for morning appointments and 2 pm calls for he evening.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 15-Mar-13 12:07:00

Boots pharmacist used to do a one month pill supply for if you were caught out. I once left my pills at home and was at my student house. They provided them over the counter.

CheeseandPickledOnion Fri 15-Mar-13 12:23:49

A huge part of the problem is that a regular (non emergancy) appointment at most GP's seems to be for at least 3 weeks in the future. Unless you have a long ongoing issue which requires regular checkups, that is pretty useless to most people.

Therefore most people are all battling to get an emergancy appointment so that they can be seen reasonably quickly.

Andro Fri 15-Mar-13 12:44:23


I also carry an Epi-pen, my phone call usually goes like this:

May I speak to the doctor please (my surgery has times when you can be put through)
What do you need to speak to the doctor about?
It's a medical issue, I would prefer to speak to the doctor.
(much huffing later) I'll put you through
A quick chat with the doctor and I'm told to collect my script from reception (unless I've ended up in hospital since the last script).

LadyPessaryPam Fri 15-Mar-13 12:51:14

My daughter is a medical student and she ended up taking out her own implant. It involved a scalpel and some vodka I believe. Pretty shocking really.

MrsTwinks Fri 15-Mar-13 12:55:59

By all means complain, but in all honesty I dont think it will get you anywhere.

Someone up thread asked what would happen if this happened and it was serious - I'll tell you. Absolutely bugger all.

I had horrible abdominal pain, called NHS direct as doctor was useless, they told me to inform my doctor surgery they said I needed to be assessed AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, so go to GP as they will check and they will refer as needed (bypass A&E, and its protocall). I called, was told doctor would call me back as soon as, but defo within an hour. I was too sick to move, so called DH home from work (an hours commute), no call by the time he got back, by this time I was crying in pain and I have a high threshold (v painful periods each month) He rang the receptionist to insist he talk to a doctor on my behalf, refused to get off the line as he was irate. They said soonest they could get me in - despite being told I needed to be seen as a matter of urgency - would be the next afternoon. We went to A&E, who asked for my referal letter, and because I didnt have one I would be waiting at least 3 hours. In the end they saw how ill I was and I was in within an hour. My appendix was on point of bursting by the time they took it out and the surgeon told me it was one of the nastiest he'd seen.

Made complaints to EVERYONE about the fact the nurses phone assessment was ignored etc, what is the point of doing that, why they couldnt refer me to a&e, you name it I asked it. Didn't even get an apology, let alone an explaination. Infact I got a bollocking from the doctor when I went for a check about 2 weeks later (they pulled like every muscle in my chest when I was under) for not going to them first before A&E. If I had waited the 24hrs for my emergency appointment, I could have got peritonitis and died. And dont get me started on when I miscarried shudder

Complaining will get you nowhere in my experience, it does just seem to be something you have to suck up

Murphy0510 Fri 15-Mar-13 12:56:39

Why can't/won't they remove the implant? I would be kicking up a fuss about that with PALS too as its the implant that's causing your problems!

MinesaBottle Fri 15-Mar-13 12:58:03

Coincidentally there is a related story in the DM (sorry) today

This was a private provider, not NHS, but the outcome could have been tragic.

goneHaywire Fri 15-Mar-13 13:08:42

change your gp surgery! tbh I need to do the same thing but havn't cuz I don't know of a good one

failing that complain to your gp I complained about the receptionist implementing a ridiculous appointment policy once doctor got in the middle to my appointment and had a go at her.... I never had that problem again

goneHaywire Fri 15-Mar-13 13:10:45


pompompom Fri 15-Mar-13 13:13:57

I've had similar dealings with our receptionists recently - I had to call them 4 times yesterday to get my 4yo seen by the GP - 4 bloody times - he was doubled over in agony with bad stomach pains. Could easily have been appendicitis (thankfully isn't) but they just didn't class me as urgent!

I was about to stomp in there and demand to see a doctor when they finally gave me the last appointment of the day - brilliant when you get a prescription and the bloody pharmacy has just shut angry

Doctor was shock that they hadn't 'triaged' the call higher. I am not, they're receptionists, not medical professionals - they don't know any better so shouldn't be put in that bloody position.

No it is their business to some extent, and they are bound by confidentiality

Sirzy Fri 15-Mar-13 13:21:19

If you thought it could have been appendicitis why didn't you take him to A and E? actually if he doubled over in agony why didn't you take him to A and E?

Itchywoolyjumper Fri 15-Mar-13 13:21:21

In fairness to the doctor who keeps knocking back your repeat pill prescription request the combined pill can be a fatally dangerous medication if its given to people with certain conditions. They have to see you to make sure you haven't developed anything like that since the last time they saw you and part of this assessment should be a blood pressure reading so you have to be there.

Apart from that I'm not sure what your GP is up to, if you have to take marvelon, which is a very effective contraceptive, to control the bleeding I can't see what extra benefit leaving the implant in is giving you. You're already covered for pregnancy by the marvelon and you don't want to continue with the implant, its a bit of a no brainer.
For today, and I think someone said it up thread, I would contact the practice manager and tell them your history, including the heavy bleeding and they should be able to get someone to see you. In future, if I were you, I would give the GP's a body swerve and get you contraceptive sorted out at your local family planning clinic

piratecat Fri 15-Mar-13 13:21:33

at our surgery they have slots that are called 'emergency' appointments, for on the day.

It was not her call to tell you it wasn't.

Itchywoolyjumper Fri 15-Mar-13 13:24:33

Also was the fact that receptionists were carrying out triage not one of the reasons Staffordshire NHS Trust got into all the problems they did?

Samu2 Fri 15-Mar-13 13:34:24

I hate it when the receptionist asks me what I want to see the GP about. I always want to tell her it's none of her business. I usually end up getting nervous then going into great detail though grin

yanbu OP.

I wish we could have same day appointments here. I did at my old surgery but the new one I am at is crap. No sit and wait appointments and the average wait is 4 days so you need to book before you get ill it seems. I have had to go to walk in clinics often with the children because four days has been too long to wait.

Crinkle77 Fri 15-Mar-13 13:56:46

I hate the way receptionists think they are qualified to judge if it serious enough to give you an appointment

Belated thanks for the info on tranexamic acid, I'll take DD to see our pharmacist first.

For those needing epi-pens (I don't myself) I've heard somewhere that you can get some that are in date for two years, which might make it easier for those in situations like Smellslikecatspee's OH's , reducing number of appts needed.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 15-Mar-13 14:04:17

"I hate the way receptionists think they are qualified to judge if it serious enough to give you an appointment"

They will be following their practice rules and will have been told to ask this.

I hate the way some people on these threads always talk about or to receptionists like they are some lowly piece of crap.

quoteunquote Fri 15-Mar-13 14:05:23

I always tell the receptionist that my lycanthrope is flaring up,and I need to see a GP asap before Therianthropy goes too far.

it works.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 15-Mar-13 14:05:52

I'm sure they personally couldn't give a toss why you want the appointment and are not asking out of nosiness.

midastouch Fri 15-Mar-13 14:07:30

YANBU complain to the manager at your surgery, thats disgusting, i never answer when they ask what the problem is, they are just receptionists not qualified to make a diagnosis about whether you deserve to see a doctor!!

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 15-Mar-13 14:08:46

Quoteunquote..oh..because they are so stupid they can't understand big words hmm

(Am a receptionist and studied Classics at Oxford)

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 14:09:36

I haven't had it taken out because I've been bounced between doctors. I haven't seen "my" GP once since she started there two years ago.

I saw one doctor after a month and he said that I should wait for a couple more months, see if it settles. It didn't so he wrote me a prescription to try Tranexamic Acid and Mefenamic Acid and if that doesn't work then they will take it out.

I went back and ended up seeing another doctor. I asked if I could get it taken out and he said he'd like me to leave it for couple of months, so I would have had it for 6 months. He gave me a month of Cerazette to see if that would stop the bleeding. I went back after the month because it had done nothing. He then gave me a month of Marvelon.

The Marvelon worked great and stopped the bleeding and the cramps. When I finished my course, it appeared that the bleeding had stopped but a couple of days later it came back very heavy. This is when my mum suggested I put in a prescription for it. It was rejected. I went back and he gave me another month, same thing happened again.

When I finished that I put in a prescription that was rejected.

I went back hoping to have it removed and the doctor said that they don't actually have the facilities to take it out and I would have to go back to where I had it inserted and get them to remove it. He gave me three months worth of Marvelon.

Now I've run out again, I thought after nearly 10 months it had settled but obviously not.

I'm getting it taken out asap but I want to use the Marvelon as my main contraception.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 15-Mar-13 14:10:45

All of you who don't agree with the triaging please complain to the practice about its policies and don't be rude to the poor receptionist who is just doing her job.

Murphy0510 Fri 15-Mar-13 14:11:27

I'd be at the stage where I would be demanding that they remove it, or arrange for removal of it, instead of fobbing you off all the time.

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 14:14:04

Fanjo the reason why I am annoyed is that she gave me the appointment then asked what was wrong then said I couldn't have the appointment.

I don't think it's in their policies to give out appointments then deem the patient too healthy to have the appointment.

But I agree, apart from what I have written above, that 99% of this is policy.

YY FanjoForTheMammaries, having been a medical receptionist for 9 years, I certainly was never interested in why people need to see the Dr, I asked because I HAD to ask, on Dr's orders!
Bloody hell, if I'd had my way every single person who asked for an appointment would have got one, bearing in mind I would usually have a queue of 60+ people outside for opening, and 4 phone lines ringing non-stop, all asking for appointments, for that day. It would have made my life one hell of a lot easier!

Sirzy Fri 15-Mar-13 14:19:38

I think the triaging is must better when it is done by a nurse although to an extent that does seem like a waste of the nurses time so its a no win situation.

Having heard my GP receptionist try to explain to someone that they couldn't have an appointment for their cold I can fully understand why some form of triage is needed!

Are you ordering your script before it runs out, rather than waiting for it to run out and then trying to get hold of another one?

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 14:22:17

Sleeping I've been waiting for it to run out. According to my doctor their's a chance after each course that it will have settled so I've been waiting rather than get an unnecessary prescription.

You need to put your problems down in writing to the practice manager.

But the receptionist is right. Running out of contraceptive pills is not an emergency, especially not if you also have another method of contraception in place.

You ran out of pills on Saturday night, and got your period on Sunday, surely you have had a few days between Sunday and Friday to understand that you need a new prescription?

If you are going to spend your weekend cramping and bleeding, is that not due to your own bad planning over the last 5 days rather than the receptionist who would not give you an emergency slot this morning?

alarkthatcouldpray Fri 15-Mar-13 14:36:23

Am appalled that you complained to PALS about this. Why? The receptionist was just doing her job.

GPs have to work to strict guidelines when prescribing the pill. If the doctor on for scripts felt they had insufficient info to prescribe then they rightly refused eg a recent blood pressure, weight. There is another thread on AIBU saying GPs should adhere to guidelines more. We really cannot win.

Periods are predictable events, why did you not call earlier in the week?

MagratOfStolat Fri 15-Mar-13 14:38:34

Quoteunquote - must remember that line! That is fantastic!

But YANBU - there's a bitch of a secretary at ours. She's snooty, uncaring and unforgiving, and pulls this crap almost daily.

If you've had difficulties before with scripts you need to make sure you dont run out, give yourself enough time to make an appointment in advance.

Ring monday, make an appointment, and be firm about wanting it removed.

Sirzy Fri 15-Mar-13 14:44:57

I agree sleeping. I know our GP can be a pain with DS inhalers so I always put his repeat in 2-3 weeks before he needs more medication so I know we have it.

You don't need to get it made up early (although I do because there have been times its hard to get one of his drugs) but at least you know you have the script ready.

QueenStromba Fri 15-Mar-13 14:46:35

If you do go to the family planning clinic for the marvelon ask them to take it out for you. I lasted 18 days on the implant before spending the day ringing around to find someone that could take it out - I found a family planning clinic running that evening and they took it out no questions asked.

Samu2 Fri 15-Mar-13 14:47:02

I am never rude to receptionists. I feel uncomfortable telling them why I need to be seen but I accept it is a part of their job. It just irritates me.

I am sure they hate asking too.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 15-Mar-13 14:50:26

Samu2 thanks

alarkthatcouldpray I think it's worth remind people that the OP had tried to make an appt to see the doctor, which was then withdrawn. Therefore if the doctor needed to check BP, etc, s/he could have reassured themselves about OP's health and suitability for the Marvalon at that appt. OP wasn't simply asking for the pill to be re=prescribed, she asked for an appt.

alarkthatcouldpray Fri 15-Mar-13 15:05:34

A routine appointment would have done rather than an emergency one. On the day apps are usually for kids who have become unwell, asthmatics with flare ups, acute abdo pain...not re issuing scripts.

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 15:43:16

I need an appointment to get a prescription. As I've said several times, I've tried to get a repeat prescription but I can't.

Yes, the implant is my contraception but the pill is what stops my bleeding through a night pad every hour and stops the cramps.

The question is asked was if the receptionist was BU by giving me an appointment then taking it away.

Once again, if it was an emergency I would go to accident and emergency.

My GP also told me after the courses of Marvelon that there is a chance it will have settled. I'd rather check then make an appointment for nothing.

I can't get repeat prescriptions because they get rejected. I've said this upthread more than once.

Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 15:44:25

Also, I didn't ask for an emergency appointment.
I asked for an appointment, I was given one, then the receptionist changed her mind. This was the point of the AIBU.

Most surgeries only offer emergency appointments same day.

With all this back and forth, it seems like you dont know how to book appointments, frankly.

louschmoo Fri 15-Mar-13 17:21:43

Surely the problem is related to the booking system. At my GP they pre-book a small number of appointments, primarily for management of chronic conditions. All other appointments are released on the day, and available by ringing up at 8am or going to the surgery at 8am. There is no mention of 'emergency' appointments. It sounds very similar to the system at OPs surgery. Either you have a system where you pre book most appts and all on the day is classed as emergency, or you release most appts on the day and it's first come first served. It's misleading to do otherwise.

apismalifica Fri 15-Mar-13 17:36:52

We have an out of hours service at the little local hospital in town and with things like this I often wait until the GP is closed and go there instead. They seem much less hurried and always look happy to see us for a start, you get a same day appointment very quickly and don't have to wait as long. I wouldn't go there with something that could wait 3 weeks (or however long it takes to get to see a named GP hmm) but it's great for the odd prescription that wasn't expected or something that needs seeing quickly. I love our receptionists and they do a great job fitting us in whenever they can, but they can't always conjour up an appointment we can actually manage to get to (we work and also care for two people with medical issues in the family who are often in and out of hospital).

If you want to go abroad on holiday I'd avoid A&E though as u have to declare emergencies if you are buying travel insurance and it can ramp up the costs.

And you shouldn't have to discuss personal medical details with an untrained non-medical person like a receptionist - I only do as they are trying to sort out my kids medical needs with the least effort all round, and then it's because I know the receptionists really well and so I know they are trying to help me, not tring to stop me seeing the GP or getting help! This was not the case at the previous practice we went to though, they were a mean bunch and one of the GP's went out of his way to NOT prescribe what the hospital specialist asked him to - and we moved to a new GP because of that. YANBU.

QueenStromba Fri 15-Mar-13 17:47:56

This thread is making me really love my GP's surgery. They have a staged release of appointments that works really well. Every day they release new appointments for that day, two days time and two weeks time. They also have online booking through which means that you can bypass the receptionists and just book the appointment yourself (apparently one quarter of surgeries use it so it might be worth you all checking if your surgery does to save having to phone at 8am). If I want an appointment with a particular doctor and there isn't one online for a while then I can ring up and ask when their next shorter notice appointments are so I know which day to ring up or book online. I've never tried to book a follow up appointment for a set time away but I'd be amazed if they don't facilitate that.

seriouscakeeater Fri 15-Mar-13 17:58:33

LOL i think this is my surgery! The gate keepers I call them.
The a&e are for emergencys these are the local GPs. I got mine the other week, i was washing a glass out and it cracked and sliced my hand open a little. I didnt want to go to A&E and clog that up so thought i would go see my local nurse.

When i asked receptionist to see her she said..''ooh my advice is to go straight to A&E'' so i said ''id like the advice of a qualified nurse actually...' she was very cheesed of she had to pick the phone up and ask for some one!

Nosy bats!!

GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 15-Mar-13 23:15:09

ugh sounds horrible. Our surgery has appts saved for booking on the day, but you have to get in right when the lines open in the morning. They do not try to triage.

The very idea of having a receptionist try to triage over the phone is frightening to say the least. If a practice wants to do that, they need a nurse with one of those questionaires they have when you ring NHS direct.

Our practice does do 'emergency' slots, once the on-the-day appts have been booked. However, they are usually only allocated once they've had the on-call GP ring you back and actually triage the situation.

I am honestly gobsmacked by the idea of receptionists having to do this. I worked as a receptionist for an optometrist once upon a time. I could make guesses to common ailments after a while, sure. But that's no replacement for medical training, and these are peoples lives you are dealing with. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 15-Mar-13 23:16:35

I should add that the real emergency slots don't seem to be actual appts, rather, they bundle you all in at once in the waiting area and see you as they can.

EllaFitzgerald Fri 15-Mar-13 23:19:51

I'd be inclined to tell the receptionist that when she tells me where and when she qualified as a GP, then I'd quite happily discuss my confidential medical conditions with her, but until then, I'll save it for my actual GP.

littlesos Fri 15-Mar-13 23:59:53

Some of the replies suggesting the OP should be more organised with ordering her pill, obviously don't understand her GPs system. It seems like her Drs have a system like the one mine has, there are NO pre-booked appointments at all. My only option to see a gp is to get on the phone at 8.30, and stay there, pressing redial, until someone answers, all the time with my fingers crossed that there will be an appointment left, then I have to run the gauntlet of the receptionists, who seems to think I'm trying to waste the drs time.

quornqueen Sat 16-Mar-13 00:09:07

I just say the most embarrassing thing I can think of when asked this at our doctors (my new doctors receptionist dont ask, they are very nice).

Things like "I'd like to see him about the ingrown hairs on the warts on my vagina" or "My toe nail has rotted, fallen off and is leaking green stuff on the carpet. I can show you when I arrive?"

quornqueen Sat 16-Mar-13 00:16:14

Also, OP this might have been mentioned but sometimes you can see a nurse who will asses you, write out your prescription and then leave it with a doc to sign at lunch/mid afternoon so you can pick it up later in the day. That might help your situation smile

ZebraOwl Sat 16-Mar-13 00:57:22

Mmmph. Is wrong she gave you the appointment & then took it back. I understand the need to ask (at my surgery on-the-day appointments are for something that needs seeing about immediately) & for some people it is more appropriate to suggest they see a pharmacist (who can always send them elsewhere if necessary) or that they see a nurse not a GP or that they take a slot next week or that they go direct to A&E.

It sounds as though your treatment has been very bitty. If they're refusing your repeat requests because they need to see you before they prescribe they should be having a receptionist ring you to make an appointment. It might be worth contacting your OOH provider about this to see if anything can be done before Monday: a weekend of being in severe pain's not going to do you any favours sad

Worries me people are struggling to get EpiPens as a regular repeat prescription item! What a waste of a GP's time! I had to go through seeing a GP to get my keep-at-home antibiotics put back on my repeat medications list after someone on the clerical staff "helpfully" assumed it shouldn't be there <headdesk> The GP I saw was really quite disappointed it was only that I needed to see him about: I think he had his hopes up that I'd be bringing him Something Interesting. Poor GP.

My worst receptionist!experience was a couple of years ago when I was too ill to leave the house to get to the surgery & unable even to ring them myself because I had no voice at all. My father phoned to ask I be given a home visit & it was summarily refused by the receptionist with the comment that if I wasn't well enough to get to the surgery I should go to A&E. I did manage to get to the GP practice for the appointment I was given. That involved my father leaving work early to come & get me. He had to carry me downstairs & put me in my wheelchair to get to the car & lift me from chair into car because I couldn't even transfer on my own. Same in reverse at surgery with him having to push me into the doctor's room & the GP having to push me back to reception afterwards. My Dad had to carry me back up the stairs when we reached home & I ended up lying on top of the covers in the clothes I'd dragged on before going to the surgery for several hours before I could manage to change back into pyjamas & get under the covers. I saw my own GP a couple of weeks later & told her what had happened. She was seven sorts of furious & out a note on my file in BIG LETTERS saying that if I request a home appointment I am absolutely to be given one. I've not actually had to do so since (& had never requested one before), because I will do my best to drag myself to the surgery as I know what a PITA Home Visits are for GPs & how much time they take up but it's good to know at least that's now fixed. Sadly that receptionist is now the Head Receptionist. She is incredibly rude & astonishingly patronising towards patients/their carers & fails EPICALLY at listening to what people are saying to the point I go to great lengths to try to avoid any interaction with her. Ugh.

Everyone saying it should be a nurse doing triage, that doesn't always work out brilliantly. An A&E triage nurse decided that the bolded parts of the explanation below were the important ones:
"I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome & I fell and dislocated my hip in my ballet class. I thought I'd relocated it properly but I realised when I got on the tube that pain was radiating across my back to the other hip - with a sensation that my vertebrae are being levered apart & the sensation in my legs was altered. I took 30mg oxycodone while on the tube & it had seemingly had no effect as the pain in both hips & my spine was severe."
I sat & waited in A&E before being sent round to Urgent Care. By the time I'd walked to UC I was weeping in pain & couldn't actually feel my legs properly at all. After about 15 minutes after repeated pestering by other patients a nurse hoiked me off to a sideroom to ask what was wrong. It was hilarious to watch his face change from "silly little girl who should have taken some paracetamol & gone home" to "shit shit shit shit SHIT 'I'll just go & get a wheelchair & take you straight round to majors!'"
So yes. Nurse triage doesn't always work so well either...

ThatVikRinA22 Sat 16-Mar-13 01:14:45

i used to be a gp receptionist.

firstly - make no mistake - receptionists do not act on their own volition - the gp - particularly partner - is law. but they seldom like to take the flak.

i have been verbally abused and threatened in front of the very gp who told me to take the course of action i did - he walked away without a word. left me to take a bashing verbally for doing exactly what he told me to do.

its a shit job.

secondly - running out the pill would not be seen as an emergency by a gp. you need to ensure that even if you dont need the prescription - that you have it available and ready for it you do need it.

a bit of planning is all this would take. you could keep it in your bag for 6 months - it would still be valid for it you do need it.

when you do get an appointment - communicate with the gp - the implant isnt working for you. you need it out. you need an alternative. you should surely be able to arrange this and then pre book an appointment?

our surgery (the one i used t o work at is also my own gp) do a set number of pre bookable appointments.

receptionists get the shit end of the stick, when often, as in this case, with a bit of pre planning it could be sorted and secondly, the receptionist does not hold much power at all in a surgery - the partners do - and they tell the receptionists what to do.

marcopront Sat 16-Mar-13 03:35:07

Why didn't you make an appointment before you ran out?
You must have known you were going to run out, if you know something will happen it is not an emergency.

Lockedout434 Sat 16-Mar-13 07:43:35


Read the thread

chubbymomie2012 Sat 16-Mar-13 07:48:40

YANBU How dare she ask you that. if you were to see your doc he isnt allowed to discuss it as a matter of confidentiality so why the hell would u tell a receptionist! thats a disgrace and i would be making a complaint. doctors receptionosts are getting way to power happy. Its the same in our surgery with one eeceptiknost famously asking "can i help?" now u need to change ur GP!

chubbymomie2012 Sat 16-Mar-13 07:51:01

do u not think the fact that a receptionist is the gateway to the GP is indeed Powerful?
and indeed many (im not saying all) abuse that power.

Sirzy Sat 16-Mar-13 07:57:21

The problem is although I can understand the frustration the GP giving someone an emergency appointment because they have ran out of the pill (which could have been sorted sooner and don't forget op was 5 days into her period before deciding that it was a problem) means that someone who needs an appointment that day won't get one

The op should have booked a routine appointment when she was coming to the end of the last prescription to get it sorted then not waited like she chose to. She should also be pushing the gp to put the medication on repeat.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sat 16-Mar-13 08:25:55

Oh no, how dare she ask 'can I help'..what a power hungry witch

hmm x 1000000

MTSgroupie Sat 16-Mar-13 08:35:23

Sorry OP but I'm going against the flowof opinions.

Your birth control pills ran out last Saturday. It's not the surgery's fault that you waited until one week later to get the prescription refilled.

You complain that the GP insist on seeing you. You then go on about how the GP hasn't seen you in two years. Why is it unreasonable for a GP to not automatically.rerenew a prescription for a patient she hadn't seen in the last 2 years?

I agree that getting a doctor's appointment days or weeks in the future is a sad indictment on the state of the NHS. I am just trying to make the point that it is not entirely the fault of the surgery.

She has tried to get a repeat prescription and failed. She managed without the pill (which is NOT her method of birth control) until yesterday.

chubbymomie2012 Sat 16-Mar-13 08:41:42

Can I help .....the receptionist is famed to ask this as in can she give advice to the patient so the doc wasn't bothered. The same woman gave blood results over the phone to the wrong patient and caused a whole whoha. I was illustrating the fact that some Doctors receptionists are perhaps a little too eager to perform duties they aren't equipped to perform.
The issue I have with the ops story is that the receptionist asked her what was wrong with her. She so shouldn't do that it is wrong on so many levels.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sat 16-Mar-13 08:49:27

You are sadly misinformed.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sat 16-Mar-13 08:52:50

Still, I give up. People seem determined to persist in misconception that if receptionists ask out of nosiness or being power happy, rather than because they're told to.

Then they wonder why the receptionist seems pissed off after they refuse to give the info, in an insulting rude manner.

Just maybe its because you have been rude on the phone, not because she is desperate to hear about your piles or whatever.

NotTreadingGrapes Sat 16-Mar-13 08:56:05

I thought the OP's reason for wanting to see the doc was because she was bleeding so heavily she was using 1 night-pad every hour, more than because she had run out of her pill?

MrsKeithRichards Sat 16-Mar-13 08:57:55

I called one day asking to see the nurse regarding something I'd seen the nurse about before sw I knew she could deal with it (thrush) but was at a bus stop, not really wanting to go into details, so was refused an appointment!

FanjoForTheMammaries Sat 16-Mar-13 09:01:21

Sounds like practice should have gone somewhere you could give details in private.

coralanne Sat 16-Mar-13 09:01:59

Vicar is absolutely right.

I have several family members who work for GPs.

They all say that they have to put up with all the abuse from the patients when they have been told in no uncertain terms by the GP what they are to do.

My DS has worked for the same practice for 20 years.

Under no circumstances is she to put a call through to any of the Drs.

She is told to ask what the appointment is for. If she doesn't then she is berated by the GP who "Wants to know what the bloody hell does the patient wants"

Gps have come and gone from the practice over the years but basically speaking they are all the same.

Contrary to the general opinion that my DS is "only the receptionist" she does actually have a degree and 3 or 4 diplomas she has obtained over the years.

All relating to medical procedures and medical terminology. Also has had extensive training in what is regarded as an emergency.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sat 16-Mar-13 09:03:51

Coralanne, you are so right. But people with these awful views about receptionists won't listen as they think they know better iME

coralanne Sat 16-Mar-13 09:10:49

The AIBU was actually should the OP email the GP and/or change her surgery.

I suggest if you have had the problem before then you should do both of these things.

In the grand scheme of things, it's not going to change theattitude of the practice or the receptionist.

RedToothBrush Sat 16-Mar-13 09:19:06

When the CCGs come into force, GPS will be even more in control of whats an 'emergency' and whats not an 'emergency' - and what they can be arsed to treat and what they can't be arsed to treat. All about budget apparently apparently... though if you can't even get through the door to see a GP then the person making the decision about budget will effectively be the GP receptionist. And and god forbid you then decide to go to the Walk In centre instead. You'll get sent a shitty letter about how much its costing them for you for them being difficult to get an appointment.

I personally do not think that GP receptionists should be deciding whats an emergency or not. GPs ARE none emergency. If its that serious you can't wait, you go somewhere else.

If you refuse to tell a receptionist what it is about they can not make that call. A lot of people play down how they are if they are challenged - particularly more vulnerable people like the elderly, as they are made to feel like they are somehow being a nuisance. And sadly, its people who do tell the receptionist who are more likely to be fucked off in the system. More so than ever.

You should be able to get an appointment at least within the week at every GP surgery. If they are booked up for three weeks, that tells you one very simple thing. They have too many patients and not enough doctors. Its not acceptable.

lustybusty Sat 16-Mar-13 09:21:36

have the depo injection. Needs repeating every 10-12 weeks. My surgery releases appointments one month in advance and on the day. For non urgent appointments, they ask you to phone after 12. so, Monday of week 6, 12:30 (when I have lunch), I phone and ask for an appointment any time between Monday of week 10 and Friday of week 12 (iyswim). Always get told that all available prebookable appts have been taken. Call back next week. Repeat until Monday week 11. that's when I start calling at 8am. If you aren't listening to the phone ring at bang on 8am, you don't get an appointment. Most recently, I dialled at 8:03, the call got answered at 8:27 and there were no appointments. So this carries on till the day I am exactly 12 weeks after last injection, when I call at 7:55, just to have the phone ringing in reception at 8, and needing an "emergency" appointment. It's not an "emergency", I'd much rather the appointment went to an ill baby or whatever, but the only family planning clinics in my area that I qualify for (lots of single parent and under-25s only clinics) are during working hours (one on a Monday 11-12, one on a Thursday 2-4). And I'm assuming there's no guarantee of being seen in them...
So basically, I DO plan to go in earlier, and I'd love to book my appointment a month in advance (in fact, I'd most like to book the appointment on my way out), but its just not do-able! (Oh, and the surgery is on an 0844 number, which I have to call from my mobile as I am in work and don't want to be dealing with the "I need to book a contraception appt" phone call in the middle of my all male open plan office...)
Grrrrr, doctors!!

littlesos Sat 16-Mar-13 09:52:57

Are people not reading, some gp's do not do advance appointments. I can only make an appointment for the day I call. It isn't possible to make a future appointment even for repeat prescriptions.
There are no pre-bookable appointments ever.

RedToothBrush Sat 16-Mar-13 10:15:06

GPs need a kick up the arse if they don't have advance appointments. Thats absurd. No wonder people want to change GPs (but can't).

ananikifo Sat 16-Mar-13 11:05:14

As someone said, receptionists triaging is one of the things that happened at Mid Staffs. There is now a huge push for quality in the nhs and I think we'll see this kind of nonsense reduced in the future. A medical secretary has training in medical terminology and perhaps done further first aid or on the job training but that is NOT the same thing as being a licensed health professional. Non-licenced professionals do not have the same duties,and oversight, and triage can be more nuanced than you think. (Ie, was op bleeding heavily, which is serious, or did she just let her prescription run out?) I would also point out that even if it's your own fault that you let your prescription run out, sometimes you need it urgently and it's not a GP surgery's job to punish you by making you suffer. They have a duty of care not to leave you bleeding or suffering just to teach you a lesson.

In the end though this sounds like a terrible surgery and I would switch to another one, whilst also writing to them about why you left, and pursuing the pals complaint. Just make it clear it's the surgery's policies (receptionist triaging and no booked appointments, forcing you to go to another clinic) that you object to, rather than blaming the specific receptionist, which will likely not be taken as seriously because she was just following policies.

Iamsparklyknickers Sat 16-Mar-13 12:00:24

In the OP's situation, I agree the receptionist was an arse.

However, she more than likely is acting under the GP's instructions to ask about the reason for urgent appointments and not book for certain things or advise to go to A&E or call 999 (as an aside it's surprising how many people are reluctant to call an ambulance thinking they're wasting time with chest pain and shortness of breath - I think some people need reassurance it's ok with all the marketing about not wasting their time). In a normal situation running out of the pill isn't urgent, it's bad planning, so I imagine a lot of urgent appointments are refused on that basis.

What makes that receptionist an arse is the fact she thought she was in a position to comment any further than 'we can't give urgent appointments for prescriptions for the pill'. She was a dick for commenting any further than that and I would complain. Any decent person would have listened further and understood it wasn't a bog standard pill prescription issue, you've been acting on the GP's advice of 'this should do the trick - keep an eye on it' = it hasn't bloody worked!

The GP is for urgent stuff that isn't quite urgent enough for a walk in centre or A&E, what's the bloody point of them otherwise - longer term conditions are getting shifted out to community specialists more and more, nevermind the fact I'm sure GP's are getting charged for their patients rocking up at A&E now. Daft buggers.

Naysa please have a look on the NHS homepage and look for any sexual health/family planning clinics near you and ring round to find out who can take out your implant. There's no reason you should have to put up with it this long and have to keep faffing with your GP when there's such a simple solution.

Iamsparklyknickers Sat 16-Mar-13 12:14:22

ananikifo IME most GP receptionists are band 2s i.e. no medical admin training. Medical secretaries tend to be band 4s.

They might receive more training - in my trust they get one day a month - but they're highly unlikely to start being paid more for reception duties.

ubik Sat 16-Mar-13 12:25:51

"However, she more than likely is acting under the GP's instructions to ask about the reason for urgent appointments and not book for certain things or advise to go to A&E or call 999 (as an aside it's surprising how many people are reluctant to call an ambulance thinking they're wasting time with chest pain and shortness of breath - I think some people need reassurance it's ok with all the marketing about not wasting their time). In a normal situation running out of the pill isn't urgent, it's bad planning, so I imagine a lot of urgent appointments are refused on that basis. "

^^ yy this

PipkinsPal Sat 16-Mar-13 12:42:54

The Receptionist doesn't need to know why you need to see the Doctor for an appointment but we do act under Doctor's instructions. We are requested to ask for a brief idea if you wish a telephone call from a Doctor though. You should not run out of medication as it is the patients responsibility to order in plenty of time. I expect Doctor's do have people taking up an appointment because they have run out of medication which in turn prevents people who are unwell getting an appointment. Does your surgery have a pre-bookable appointment system in advance? If the way the surgery runs does not suit you perhaps you should find one that does. All you should have to do is go into the surgery of your choice and ask to register but you may be restricted by practice boundaries. However if the appointment was because of excess bleeding this in some circumstances cannot be solved in a 5 minute slot as an internal exam may be necessary. We are also requested to ask what the Practice Nurse appointment is for, not because we are nosey, but for example a depo injection is done in less time than a smear test and by booking a double slot for the latter ensures waiting times are kept to a minimum.

ananikifo Sat 16-Mar-13 12:42:56

Iamsparklyknickers: People have said upthread that friends who are GP receptionist were trained in medical terminology and prioritising. I was trying to say that whilst they may have that training it is not the same thing as being a health professional.

I'm an AHP in the NHS and in my department we don't even let our assistants (who work with patients) to triage, let alone admin staff.

RevoltingPeasant Sat 16-Mar-13 12:57:13

Really don't understand why people keep saying the OP should have ordered more meds in advance.

Surely, the doctor told her to leave it and see? So she did? Then, it turned not to be settling down so on the day she started having bad pain she rang for an appointment.

I honestly don't see what she did wrong. confused

Yes, she could've ignored the dr's advice and stocked up on meds just in case, earlier, but then surely she would've been slammed for wasting public money getting a drug she might not need.

Thankfully my GPs' surgery is much better -- it's the one part of the NHS I've dealt with that actually works well.

Sirzy Sat 16-Mar-13 12:59:08

She could have got a prescription to make up if she needed it.

If they only have emergency appointments left then this isn't an emergency.

hackmum Sat 16-Mar-13 12:59:11

I think in the OP's situation, I would go to an OOH clinic, assuming there was one nearby.

I find the receptionist's attitude bizarre, in that presumably the OP's appointment would have taken about 2 minutes (take blood pressure, write prescription).

The problem a lot of people have is this: they have a condition (like the OP's, or like a child with a v high temperature) which isn't strictly an emergency, so they don't like to bother A&E. After all, we are constantly told that A&E is overworked, and that the service is abused by timewasters. But although it's not an emergency, they do need to see a medical practitioner quickly - it's not something that can wait for an appointment two weeks in the future. But if they phone up their GP and ask for an appointment straight away, the receptionist may make them feel bad because it's not serious enough. It just puts people in an impossible position.

OOH clinics are supposed to address this to some extent, though I was mystified by a thread recently where the OP took her diabetic child to an OOH clinic and then got an angry letter from her GP demanding to know why she hadn't taken the child to the surgery. (Someone said it's because GP practices get charged when their patients visit OOH clinics.) So whatever you do, you can't win.

Raum Sat 16-Mar-13 13:07:35

People don't seem to understand that GP surgeries are essentially private businesses, complain about the lack of care, difficulty getting an appointment etc in writing and state that you'll both take it further and change practice if they do not respond with 10 working days. Practice's get paid if you are registered with them and are paid for each test etc carried out, I suspect that's partly behind prioritisation done by receptionists to maximise profit for the GPs.They have targets to meet for additional payments but practice's are ultimately in control of how they handle patients.

ihearsounds Sat 16-Mar-13 13:10:10

The op's example is another reason why receptionists shouldn't be triaging without any medical knowledge.
If the receptionist had any medical knowledge she would know the risk of complication from severe bleeding. She would know that iron levels drop, and depending on various factors, they can drop severely low.
The ops appointment wasn't about just getting a repeat prescription, but it was to get medication, regardless of what the meds were, to stop severe bleeding.
My gps used to be the same. Couldn't get an advanced appointment, could only get one of the day, and only if the receptionist thought you should be seen that day. Because of several complaints from pals and hospitals, the policy was taken away.

quoteunquote Sun 17-Mar-13 13:12:59


Quoteunquote..oh..because they are so stupid they can't understand big words

err no, because if it not kept under control it can be a real problem twelve times a year, grin

I use it because I get fed up of having to explain the inner working cancer treatment to them, and getting silly responses when asking for perfectly reasonable emergency appointments. My GPs don't mind.

(Am a receptionist and studied Classics at Oxford), good for you, never had any intention of degrading your profession.

the system in place at our local surgery(the only one in the area, so no choice)is that if you want an appointment, you have to phone up at 8am, even if you phone at 8am on the dot,if you phone even a second before you get a recored message then cut off, you are then placed in a queue, when you get to the front of the queue, usually 20 mins at least, you are informed all the morning appointments are gone, they will not book you in for the afternoon appointments

You then have to phone at 1pm, you wait in the queue, to be informed that you must phone the following day at 8am.

I find the ,*I always tell the receptionist that my lycanthrope is flaring up,and I need to see a GP asap before Therianthropy goes too far* method works,

Any other suggestions as to how to get an appointment would be very gratefully received, I genuinely would like to know.

at the moment I often have to drive to the hospital, and hour each way, and hang about for doctor, because I cannot get an appointment with the GP.

not everyone can do this, when I can't drive, I am stuffed.

So if you do have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

PipkinsPal Sun 17-Mar-13 15:42:18

Quote - send a letter to the Practice Manager outlining your complaint and suggestions on how to make it better. If no joy then write to your local health board.

quoteunquote Sun 17-Mar-13 16:18:58

Thanks PipkinsPal, we all have, (everyone has a problem with it) the whole of the local community has a problem with system, but they will not budge.

It is an ongoing battle, and will end up with a tragedy.

I phoned for a "normal' appointment on friday, it is in three weeks time.

It is not surprising the reception personnel are getting the brunt, but if practice managers chose to ignore that the system is not working it is to be expected.

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