GP appointments, what is 'emergency', 'routine' and how long would you expect to wait for a slot?

(74 Posts)
AtYourCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 14:42:37

If you need to see a GP how long do you normally wait?

Also - what would you class as an emergency or routine?

to my mind an emergency is really ill, damaged or infected and needs to be seen like today, but not life threatening, needing to go to A&E.

I'm not any of the above but the next available appointment is November 4th. I could be dead by then.
It's no wonder people go to A&E with sore elbows and flu and stuff.

AtYourCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 14:43:36

what if you had a lump or something?

is that an emergency? or would you wait 3 weeks for it to be checked?

AtYourCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 14:44:55

and what if you had a sore foot? said foot has hurt for a week now, not screaming painful, not broke, not oozing or bleeding, but on and off quite unable to walk on it and really very sore.

what then? is that an emergency? or routine?

gamerchick Wed 16-Oct-13 14:45:51

Well tbh you shouldn't go to the GPs with flu either. Keep your lurgy in the house.

I made an appointment last week . to see mine and earliest appointment was 30th October. It's great fun.

AtYourCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 14:46:09

I love GPs, I love the free, warm, electric-with-running-water NHS. But really, what's the point?

I'd say a lump is an emergency and would want it checked well before 3 weeks time. Our gp is rubbish, you have to call at 8am for a same day "emergency" appointment or wait weeks on end to see anyone. It's so hard getting a normal appointment and very inconvenient for the same day ones as they are sit and wait...This usually means sitting there in a packed waiting room for about 2 hours to be seen for something that takes a few minutes.

I hate going there and often use the walk in centre 9 miles away to avoid this stupid system.

Lottiedoubtie Wed 16-Oct-13 14:48:23

If you're worried it's an emergency in my book. Phone at 8 be seen that day.

Never been 'told off' for wasting doctors time yet.

If its an 'asthma review' it can wait 2 weeks- or at least mine can, if you're worried, see above.

Routine for ongoing stuff or asking for a referral for something persistent. my gp will always see you same day for 'emergency' if you say it's urgent
you are an hcp so if you think it's urgent request an emergency apptgrin

I have to admit our surgery is very good. They tend to give you an appointment same day or within a day or 2, though it might have to be with the nurse (who can write prescriptions if needed).

One thing that is difficult though is trying to get a 'routine' appointment. It's fine if you know what the current system is for booking them but if not then you end up in a loop of phoning to be told they're all booked and to phone back. The surgery are really bad at informing patients when they should be booking stuff like this and there's no consistency. e.g. There was a man there the other day wanting to book a (routine) blood test and was told he couldn't have one for a month as they get released 4 weeks in advance and get booked up quickly. "4 weeks? Well, can I book one then?" says the man. "Yes, we can give you an appointment on Thursday" says the receptionist confused

AtYourCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 14:51:14

I have no idea what constitutes a GP emergency.

my normal mantra is 'It's either get better of turn into something serious'.

but, it's not better and obviously I can't not walk for the next 3 weeks.

but it's also not a sudden, acute, help i'm dying emergency,.

Weeantwee Wed 16-Oct-13 14:51:40

I was in the GP surgery this morning, waited an hour to be seen. Fortunately my surgery have an open access hour every morning so you definitely get to see a doctor but you have to be prepared to wait.

Unfortunately, as I am moving next week I've been told that I'm no longer in their catchment area and so will have to find a new GP surgery after being with them for 9 years.

I'm moving round the corner from my previous flat. Now that is annoying!

everlong Wed 16-Oct-13 14:53:52

My GP has the following service. You ring up and are told that they fully booked for about 8 days but if you ring in the morning bang on 8am you will get an appointment for 2 days later.

Don't ask me how this works.

AtYourCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 14:56:34

it's really quite sore.

toobreathless Wed 16-Oct-13 14:57:45

Emergency: anything that needs to be seen acutely due to potential seriousness- unwell child or where there is potential to deteriorate if not seen quickly and treated- worsening asthma, skin infections etc.

Routine: things that can wait, reviews of stable conditions.

If there weren't any appointments for several weeks I would happily see anything that might be causing significant worry in the meantime. I would hate to think of people worrying for several weeks.

And absolutely 'new lump' should be seen soon, I would say within 3 days, if no routine appts as an emergency.

GhostsInSnow Wed 16-Oct-13 14:58:55

Call at 8am and 90% of the time you will get a same day appointment, if not they can often arrange a GP to telephone you. They open 8-8 Monday to friday and 8-1pm on a Saturday.

Our surgery uses the Patient Access system as well and I can usually get a pre bookable appointment on the app within a couple of days if I'm not fussy in which GP I see. We are quite lucky really, good practice, long hours and several GP's. My old practice you could wait a week for an emergency appointment.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 16-Oct-13 14:59:07

At my parents GP surgery you have to ring up for an appointment and the GP phones you back to decide if you really need it.

Our GP tends to be fully booked 6 weeks in advance, you can't book any appointments with in that 6 week period unless the GP is standing next to the receptionist insisting that you are seen in that time frame.
You are supposed to call at 7.30 am for emergencies but all appointments have gone by this time so the only way to get to see a GP that day is to go to the surgery when the staff walk in.
Thankfully some of the GPs understand the problems and you can visit them at other surgeries around the town, if it is something they really really need to see you about.

newfavouritething Wed 16-Oct-13 15:05:00

The surgery that I use is shocking! - In so much that you phone for an appointment and you get one that day - yesterday I had one in 20 minutes time from the phonecall. It's open 8am til 8pm everyday although 'only' has a nurse practitioner there at the weekend. It still surprises me when I get an appointment instead of questions, but if my surgery can do it, why can't others?

BrokenSunglasses Wed 16-Oct-13 15:11:09

Sore foot or lump I'd expect to be seen within a week. Neither are an emergency, but they're not routine either. I'd say routine appointments would be for check ups related to long term conditions or medication.

Our surgery is quite good. You can get an appointment the same day if you need to, and they run a minor illness clinic for things like ear/throat infections that the nurse can diagnose and treat.

It's a pain in the arse when you do want a routine appointment though, because the GP has to give them out rather than you just booking with the receptionist. I'd rather know that we can get an appointment the same day if we need it though, and they offer telephone appointments if you're not sure.

turkeyboots Wed 16-Oct-13 15:12:39

I can always get emergency appointment same day. Emergency being infection, fainting or needing ill child checked over. Routine appointments have a 2 to 3 week wait generally. So I never go unless am seriously ill.

Groovee Wed 16-Oct-13 15:15:29

At our surgery you can prebook. My GP is often a 3 week wait. But if I can't wait, I can call from 8am to attempt to get a same day appointment. If they don't have any left you can get a GP to call you and decide if a prescription can be handed over the phone or else they can allocate you one of the appointment which is kept for being seen.

violetbean Wed 16-Oct-13 15:17:57

Weeantwee, we had the same issue re moving house but we wrote a letter to the practice manager asking to stay with the practice and they said we could, as we were only just outside the catchment area. (Not sure if my being pregnant influenced their decision though). Might be worth a try?

vladthedisorganised Wed 16-Oct-13 15:23:13

I get really confused about this too.
I'm pretty happy that small child with really high temperature = urgent; asthmatic with chesty cough and possible chest infection = urgent; anyone receiving chemotherapy with any possible problem = straight to the top of the queue.

Anything to do with me though, and I'm never sure. Profuse bleeding is the one area where I feel happy saying 'I really need to see someone today'. I'd say an unexplained lump is urgent though; it'll put your mind at rest to get seen today.

Our surgery is 'call at 8am for all appointments' - you can't book in advance unless the doctor has requested a follow up, and even then you might well be told to call first thing in the morning for a possible same-day appointment. You may be given an appointment on the same day, or 2 days later, or 2 weeks later; I think they prioritise anyone who says it's urgent, but in all cases you have to be ready to come in on the day, or not. It must drive the receptionists barmy.

If I need an appointment it is usually a two week wait but I have always been able to get an emergency appointment the same day as long as I phone up at 7:30am/8am.

I have asthma and get quite a lot of chest infections so I have been a few times.

For other things where I'm not sure then I usually pop into the walk in centre as there are 2 in town and you generally get seen very quickly.

notso Wed 16-Oct-13 15:46:56

If it's an emergency then you need A+E breathing difficulties would be A+E.
Urgent would be something that needed seeing to that day, I have used urgent appointments for tonsillitis, lump on breast and a baby with bronchiolitis. For these at my GP you phone on the stroke of 8am but they have squeezed us in later when DS1 was delirious with a fever and given a prescription for AB's for DD's recurrent tonsillitis when we couldn't book an appointment.
Routine, would be a review of medication or similar, these are always about a 3 week wait at my GP.
I think there needs to be a non urgent but quicker than routine appointment.

Jan49 Wed 16-Oct-13 15:59:33

I moved house and registered with a new GP this year and I'm shocked by how long it takes to get an appointment. A week if you're willing to see any GP, 2 weeks if you want a female doctor. But I've been told there's a female nurse practitioner I can see the same day if I ring at 8am and she can refer anything to a doctor, so in that case, couldn't everyone do that to avoid the wait?

Frostedloop Wed 16-Oct-13 16:09:11

As a guy I have found that nothing counts as an emergency. So much so that my wife now calls on my behalf pretending to book it for herself then when asked for a name she gives mine, otherwise they fob me off. Have had this routinely for emergency appointments, wife could get one but when they hear a man there are none free, so wife calls up after I try..

Beastofburden Wed 16-Oct-13 16:26:59

Where I am, if you want a specific doctor then you may have to wait. if you will see any of them, you can always get something that day for a child and within 2 days for an adult. Or a nurse will see you.

I email my GP too and he replies, that's also useful.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Wed 16-Oct-13 17:08:58

Routine appointments 3-4 weeks. I make them for medicine reviews etc

Emergency appointments are phone at 8.30 and they'll see you the same day . I went today with an ongoing condition because my symptoms have worsened and in really struggling and couldn't wait several weeks

Trinpy Wed 16-Oct-13 17:46:20

My old gp surgery used to have a system a bit like pobble described - gp calls you back and then decides whether you are worthy of an appointment. Often though, by the time the gp got round to calling me back all the appointments were gone for the day so I had to wait until the next day. Extremely annoying when I used to have an hours commute to work so couldn't go to work then pop back for an appointment late morning. And they wouldn't let me book in advance so I couldn't arrange a morning off work specially. I also remember my mum telling me about having to explain to a doctor over the phone that she had a bad case of cystitis while sat at the very busy reception desk at her work (her colleague had popped out for lunch so she couldn't leave her desk).

Pooka Wed 16-Oct-13 17:50:42

Ive classed the following as Emergency appointments -

Uti
Tonsillitis
Kids with fevers and other symptoms

Basically, anything that can't wait perhaps 3 or 4 days. Luckily my gp practice is great and the longest I've ever waited (with HUGE apologies from them) was about 8 days because I needed to see a specific GP - wanted to arrange a referral for a non urgent prob.

Coffeenowplease Wed 16-Oct-13 17:56:05

Routine appt ? Few days I expect.

Emergency on the day, within a few hours really. I am horrified by 2-3 weeks.

My surgery is clearly very good. Things like UTI, ill children/sudden illness in adults/pain/bleeding would be emergency to me.

Reviews, repeat prescriptions, follow ups and contraception not so much.

Coffeenowplease Wed 16-Oct-13 17:56:59

*2-3 weeks for routine.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 18:08:01

humph. no phonecall back. it hurts. bastards.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 18:29:18

OOOOOOOOOOOOWWWCH.

fuckers.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 16-Oct-13 18:36:05

I'd say urgent is anything where you can't wait until the routine appointments are available. A bad leg which you can't move freely on is an urgent appointment if the next routine one is 1st Nov I'd say.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 18:39:08

i'm going to self medicate with wine and then hack it off with the bread knife.

meddie Wed 16-Oct-13 18:46:59

Oozing. If you have a painful foot and cant walk then I would do one of two things
If its an injury and you did it within the last few days then go to a&e or a walk in centre

meddie Wed 16-Oct-13 18:47:54

Posted too soon
If its sore but you havent injured it then non urgent GP appt or go to a walk in centre

Funloving Wed 16-Oct-13 18:50:05

At our surgery the doctor speaks to everyone before giving them an appointment, patients can ask for the dr they want, and will always get an appointment that day if they want one, or can book ahead. It's brilliant!

Osmiornica Wed 16-Oct-13 18:52:37

We must be so lucky round here .. you ring up at 8 and every time I've been able to get an appointment almost straight away. Last time I barely had time to sort the kids out. Asthma reviews and things are done with the nurse not gp so also easy to get an appointment.

I'm moving away soon though so hope the next one is as good.

sashh Wed 16-Oct-13 18:56:34

Emergency, seen the same day. You might have to wait 2-3 hours as emergencies are seen in order of turning up.

A lump - probably the same day, maybe 2 days. It depends on if I'm working and can take time of work.

After 6.30 and at weekends, different surgery does 24 hour cover, so again sit and wait. But for a lump I'd probably want to see my usual Dr, that can take a couple of days, or two weeks if he is on holiday.

BerstieSpotts Wed 16-Oct-13 19:02:18

I always find it really difficult. If I'm ill then I struggle to get out of bed by 8 and then it takes all of my energy to persuade DS to get out of the house and go to nursery, by the time I phone up there are no appointments anyway!

Also ours is always engaged at 8am, by the time you get through, again, no appointments left for that day.

This is for standard things - you can't call at any other time or you get told to phone at 8am for appointments. If you're coming back out you can make an appointment to come back, but if you're walking past and ask for an appointment, it depends which receptionist you get. Some of them refuse to give you one and tell you to call in the morning, and others will book you in confused

An emergency appointment is somehow different to the normal phone-at-8am appointments but you have to state that you need an emergency appointment on the phone or they won't book you in.

TBH, I find it very stressful and frustrating to navigate and consequently I don't often bother, even when I should.

BoreOfWhabylon Wed 16-Oct-13 19:03:37

Is this the foot that has become painful since the nasty bite you received when you were in forrin parts, AYC?

If so, ring 111. They'll assess you and determine whether you need an urgent appointment.

NB make sure they know the full history - ask to speak with a clinician if necessary.

Oh, and I'd be making a formal complaint about my GP appointment system.

Good luck.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 19:14:25

what if you get ill or damage something after 8am? do you then have to wait until the following day to ask for an appointment?

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 19:15:35

i'll try again tomorrow.

and get the bloody stump dressed while i'm at it.

Tabliope Wed 16-Oct-13 19:24:46

I suffer the same as BerstieSpotts at my surgery. Last time abroad I bought myself anti-biotics over the counter so now at least I know I can self-medicate if necessary. It's extremely stressful trying to get a same day appointment at my DRs, which is usually what I need although I've probably only been twice in the past 5 years anyway.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 19:29:14

finally! a call and have an appointment for Friday afternoon. if i'm still alive.

macdoodle Wed 16-Oct-13 19:33:47

Ah well, there aren't enough GP's to do the job currently as clearly can be seen from this thread. Relentless government pressure and demand (along with vitriolic press attacks) have driven many off to early retirement, a lot overseas, and many to cut their hours or suffer burnout. New doctors dont want to be GP's, many practices are completely unable to recruit new GP's. And the government and public continue to exert ever increasing pressure. NHS GP is very close to folding, and then the government can sell off to their private cronies (Virgin, serco et al), and then you will really have fun. Am afraid the current situation is self inficted largely.
COI I am a GP.

If its something like plantar fasciitis then there may not be much they can do.It hurts like hell and makes getting out bed in the morning an absolute misery (its at its worst then)

I would get it checked out by the GP on Friday before hacking your foot off just in case its something fairly easy to fix. Also it'll save you the cost of a new bread knife.

FirstStopCafe Wed 16-Oct-13 19:42:00

I have used emergency appointments in the past when it has been due to worsening asthma or my baby being ill.

My gp surgery only allows you to make appointments for the upcoming 3 weeks. Quite often there are none available when I've called. In these situations the receptionist has advised me to phone at 8am the next day to request an emergency appointment even though I wouldn't have classed it as emergency. The system is obviously not working if they are telling people to do that. I hope they review it.

I would use an emergency appointment for a lump if there were no available appointments for weeks.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 19:51:09

I think I'd rather pay a fee and be seen when I need to be seen. And be treated like a rational adult, rather than a nuisance.

but at least they have electricity. and a roof. so i'm very grateful really. just frustrated.

macdoodle Wed 16-Oct-13 19:54:26

oozingcervix, I am very sad that I think the death of NHS GP is imminent. I trained in a country where it is private, I dont think Virgin et al will offer the same kind of service that we are used to at all (think railways.....). There will be no continuity or ownership, it will be all about profit margins, and it wont be good, of that I am certain.
But I am afraid that GP's can no longer provide what the public demand anymore, and that sadly they will discover the alternative (like the US or NZ) is actually not so great for the majority. If you have money it will be fine. But private healthcare is very expensive.

BerstieSpotts Wed 16-Oct-13 19:58:02

It is bad though. I used to go for UTIs and then ended up leaving it a few days and found they usually cleared on their own. So when one lasted for a few days longer I thought, oh well, it'll go away by itself, I can't bring myself to navigate the system, it's too complicated.

I started coming down with flu like symptoms and retired to bed (after almost passing out in a shop blush) again thinking it was just a cold and it would pass. DP took DS out and while he was out I started to shiver so badly that I couldn't actually type in the doctor's number on my touch screen phone. Gave up after several attempts and sent a very garbled text message to DP, he came home and took one look at me and ordered me into the car to take me to A&E!

My UTI had turned into a kidney infection, I stayed in for 3 days and had to be on IV antibiotics because orally, they wouldn't be strong enough to fight the infection.

I know part of this is me being a dozy idiot for not noticing that the two things were connected but I feel like if it wasn't such a pain in the arse to get an appointment, I probably would have phoned up for one after the feeling faint in a shop incident.

BerstieSpotts Wed 16-Oct-13 19:58:25

Or perhaps even when the UTI had lasted longer than usual in the first place!

we can book a routine appointment that will be within the next 2 weeks or you can phone in the morning for a more urgent issue. I have made a routine one as my coil has gone awol. I would use a routine appointment for pill renewal, etc too. If I was in pain and couldnt wait that amount of time then I would phone for a same day appointment.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 20:00:18

there's no continuity or ownership now.

it is sad. I love the principles of the NHS, but it just doesn't work when it is tried to run like a business.

and how many people will be screwed when they can't consider paying? or when you have to prove you are insured before you are treated? or can't get insured because you have chronic conditions?

I don't know what the answers are but I do know it doesn't work as it is.

thegreylady Wed 16-Oct-13 20:01:03

Here we get a same day appointment if we feel we need it. An example was when I had an ear infection a few days before flying on holiday. They ask you if you want to see a particular GP in which case you may have to wait up to 10 days otherwise you can get a non-urgent appointment in 48 hours.

Scarlettsstars Wed 16-Oct-13 20:01:40

My gp surgery is kinda cool. You will wait between 5 & 10 days for a routine appointment but they will get you a phone call back with a gp within 4 hours and they provide emergency appointments if they thi nk you need one on the same day. They also will see under 12 month olds on the same day regardless. I quite like them, better than my old practice where a two week wait was the norm regardless but emergency appointments were technically available on demand (though you had to have them on speed dial and be incredibly lucky to grab be when the lines opened at 8am- it really felt like a tv 'phone in to win' thing).

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 20:07:48

maybe i'll suggest (in a polite letter) they need an in-between routine and emergency appointment. a not-bleeding-or-turning-blue-but-quicker-than-3-weeks type level of urgency.

macdoodle Wed 16-Oct-13 20:09:49

oozingcervix, I agree, so what is the solution?
In the last 10years, the population has got older with ever increasing complex medical problems, the population has got far more demanding, far more unable to cope with minor ailments, but GP numbers have shrunk with dwindling funding.
Just look at how the private companies manage out of hours care, and just imagine what they will do to daytime GP?
No other country does routine house calls as the UK public expect, or fund such huge amounts of GP consults.
The solution more funding, more recruitment, better public education, but this will never happen.
The government have a clear agenda and NHS GP will be sold to the highest bidder.
Why do I care? Because I will always have a job, I will work for my highest bidder. But I care about the NHS (or I did before it beat it out of me, with 13 hour days full of mindless nonsense), and I care about what healthcare will be waiting for me and my children. And I dont like the look of it at all.

TallGiraffe Wed 16-Oct-13 20:11:41

Our GPs are brilliant. I called at 11 today (I was hoping DS' symptoms were going to improve as the morning went on - they didn't) and he was seen at 3. Call backs are always within an hour and non-emergency appointments are never more than a day or 2 wait. They also do early morning and after work clinics.

Live in the countryside - they get paid more to look after us!

macdoodle Wed 16-Oct-13 20:11:49

oozing cervix, you can suggest, but its a very complex process. In the 10 years I have been a GP, we have changed our appointment system a number of times, and we cant get it right. I'd like you to come and look for a week and see if you can come up with a solution, because 5 intelligent, driven GP's and 2 intelligent, business minded managers cant!

macdoodle Wed 16-Oct-13 20:13:26

tallgiraffe, I think you'll find they most definitely do not.
What they will have will be a more spread out, less dense, less elderly, less nursing/residential/sheltered homes, more sensible type patients. Who will often know their practices well, and demand doesnt outstrip capability.

nextphase Wed 16-Oct-13 20:13:43

Its a complete mismash at our surgery.

DS1 had a lump on his cheek which spread while he was at nursery. Wandered into reception, as it was on the way home. We had a Dr phone that evening, and apologise she couldn't get him in that evening. Got an appointment at 10am the next morning.
But they have sent out a routine vaccination letter: no appointments available to book - so why send the letter????

I have had success with "I don't know if its an emergency, but XYZ is wrong" We usually get offered something that day, or in the next few days.

I tend to think "I'm not dying, so its not an emergency", but I don't think this is quite what they mean.

macdoodle Wed 16-Oct-13 20:15:52

You'll find most "mish mashs" are practices struggling to cope, where they havent been able to recruit a GP to replace those fleeing, so 1 will be doing the job of 2. Those are the ones that will go first. Virgin will probably replace them with nurse practitioners, that will be good hmm

difficultpickle Wed 16-Oct-13 20:26:48

It is all very well saying you would like to pay a fee and be seen when you want but that is the start of a slippery slope. You will find that the doctors have arrangements with labs and you will be seen quickly but the doctor will say you should have a blood test at extra cost. When I lived in New York I used to have battles with my GP on whether I actually needed to have blood tests for whatever was wrong with me (knowing full well that GP owned a share in the lab that would analyse the blood test).

I would fight tooth and nail to keep the NHS. I'm not well at the moment and got a referral to a world expert on what is most probably wrong with me. Referral letter sent Wednesday afternoon, call from consultant's secretary Thursday morning (which I didn't hear until Thurs evening) and appointment on the following Monday morning. Loads of tests plus over an hour with the consultant discussing my health and no charge at all.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 20:30:02

I completely agree pickle. I try hard not to get frustrated or moan about it, compared with how 2/3 of the world lives. but it's hard when you hurt and you can't get seen.
i must try harder to be patient and grateful.

macdoodle Wed 16-Oct-13 20:39:17

grin at ozzing cervix, yes must try harder. It is as frustrating for us as well, really the vast majority of GP's care a lot, and are battling a failing system sad

difficultpickle Wed 16-Oct-13 20:48:00

When I can't really work out whether I need a routine (ie wait weeks) appointment or a very soon (within a couple of days) one I call the surgery and ask the GP to call me at the end of surgery. They are very good at assessing whether it can wait or not (mostly not) and then they book an appointment themselves, always the same day or next day. Cervix could you try that approach?

bellybuttonfairy Wed 16-Oct-13 21:27:47

My surgery is marvellous. They have an open surgery every morning between 8.30 - 11am so you just turn up and you'll definaley get seen. The longest I have ever waited is an hour.

To book an appointment for routine stuff depends on the GP you need to see (gorgeous young doctor who is fab, caring and always goes the extra mile fir his patients = 6 weeks, older slightly pervy gp = 1-2 days, all other nice gps = about a week wait.)

They always see an acutely ill child the same day even if they have become poorly in the afternoon, usually they say to come straight over.

ClayDavis Wed 16-Oct-13 22:27:07

Ours does emergency, same day appointments where you ring 8am for a morning appointment or 2pm for an afternoon appointment. There's also an emergency clinic after morning surgery where they put your name on a list but it's essentially 1st come 1st served I think. Other than that an appointment with any GP within 2-3 days and an appointment with mine about 1-2 weeks. (which they always apologise for)

Looking at the patient survey there seem to be plenty of people who aren't satisfied with that, so it may be a case of not being able to please all of the people all of the time.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Wed 16-Oct-13 23:20:24

Have recently changed practices from one with the phone-scrum-at-8.30 system to...well, i haven't quite worked out the new system yet. hmm

Tis a bit weird with the GP system though; 'Is it an emergency?' Well, clearly not, or I'd be in A&E, rather than hanging round here!

I tend to define 'GP emergency' as anything that needs antibiotics. Or anything as to which I am unqualified as to call whether it needs antibiotics.

Our previous county had walk-in centres, which were great, if your DC inconsiderately fell ill later than 9am or whatever, but our current one seems to have abolished them, so it's GP, OOH or A&E.

beals692 Wed 16-Oct-13 23:48:25

At my doctors it's typically a 4 or 5 week wait to get an appointment with either a doctor or a nurse (or at least it was the last time I went - thankfully I haven't needed to see one recently). However, you can get an emergency appointment for the same day if you ring up at 8 am.

Last time I was ill I rang NHS Direct and was advised by the nurse that I needed to be examined by a doctor. I was advised that it wasn't an emergency that needed to be seen the same day but that I should see a doctor this week. I explained that a normal appointment would be in 4 to 5 weeks time and she seemed shocked and said 'oh, no, you need to be seen in the next few days' (ie it was something that I wasn't going to drop down dead with that day but was potentially a symptom of a serious illness so should be looked at quite quickly.) I rang my doctors and explained this and was told 'well, either it can be an emergency in which case you'll be seen today or I can give you an appointment in 5 weeks time'. To be fair, they were perfectly fine with giving me an emergency appointment for it, but it seems crazy that you can only have either an emergency or an appointment in a month's time, when most things probably fall somewhere in between the two.

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