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"Is it really urgent?" Would you say this merited an appointment at the GP?

(45 Posts)
vladthedisorganised Wed 05-Dec-12 09:29:12

I really hate it when GP's receptionists say this as I always assume that if I'm well enough to make the call, then it isn't.. but would appreciate some opinions!
Under loads of stress at the moment (job/terminally ill parent/ back and forth to hospital all the time/ etc). Feeling so tired I can't concentrate - it takes me over an hour to write an email at work where I normally dash out a contract in a few hours. For the last week I've had numbness in my face, fingers and feet; occasional chattering teeth and shaking hands not linked to the cold, and occasional 'grey-outs' - not quite fainting, but not quite not. Dizziness/vertigo all the time with occasional tunnel vision. All seems fairly commensurate with stress, so I'm not expecting a GP to do anything.

Now I've started vomiting without warning as well - no nausea, just a sort of 'wander along perfectly normally and blam!' sort of vomiting. I want to get it checked out in case it's an ulcer, but GPs tells me that unless it's urgent I need to wait another three weeks for an appointment. There's no way I want to 'bump' an elderly person, so my instinct says it isn't urgent, but not sure I can go around randomly vomiting and not being able to see properly for another three weeks.

Could I ask WWYD in the circumstances? Ignore and hope it gets better, or call back and say 'it is urgent, actually...'?

plantsitter Wed 05-Dec-12 09:30:13

I would say it was urgent, frankly.

givemeaclue Wed 05-Dec-12 09:31:14

Yes it is urgent. Ring them back.

SquishyCinnamonSwirls Wed 05-Dec-12 09:32:02

I would say that's urgent. Call them back and get that appt made.

orangepudding Wed 05-Dec-12 09:32:38

It's urgent, call back and make an appointment.

Hopeagainsthope Wed 05-Dec-12 09:33:57

Very urgent. Grey outs can be low blood pressure but they can be restricted blood flow to the brain. Feeling sick is a classic sign of brain injury/ illness. Go at once.

Nyx Wed 05-Dec-12 09:34:59

I would say it is urgent - I am not medical btw, just my opinion. I think you need to bump up your self esteem a little - why should you wait for the rest of the world to have their turn before you, it's not like you just have a sniffle! Your appointment will not take very long, you have a right to be seen too.

Apart from that, sympathy from me - I hope the gp can sort you quickly, sounds like you are not having a good time right now. Stress does not do that sort of thing to me! Take care, hope you get your appt.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Wed 05-Dec-12 09:35:31

I would say it is urgent.

iwasadoctorsreceptionist Wed 05-Dec-12 09:37:25

The general answer is: If you think its urgent, then it warrants a same day response from the dr/nurse. In your situation I would have never hesitated to offer the best available option I had available to use. Whether that be an appointment or a triage call.

Receptionists don't just laugh gleefully at ill people while looking at an empty clinic list, if there is an appointment it will be offered. If there isn't, a call will be offered.

I'm so glad I don't do that job any more.

nightcat Wed 05-Dec-12 09:37:44

urgent, just ask for a referral and then you will still be waiting

vladthedisorganised Wed 05-Dec-12 09:41:53

Thanks everyone. Will call back. Really didn't want to have a go or seem to have a go at receptionists by the way - it is a really hard job and made worse by people like me who get all hesitant over "er.. well I'm feeling pretty terrible but if there's someone elderly who needs to see a doctor then I'd hate them to wait so.. er.. no!"

I do genuinely hate the idea of someone elderly not having an appointment because of me, even if I am about to keel over, but I guess there are also people out there with slight sniffles who say 'Of course it's urgent!" so I'll hope I'm bumping them!

chocaholic73 Wed 05-Dec-12 09:49:42

Another one telling you to call back. You can't go round for another 3 weeks like that! I do think it is shocking that you have to wait 3 weeks for a non urgent appointment though. At our surgery, for urgent I could get seen today. For non urgent with certain particular doctors it might be next week but if I would see any doctor, it would be today or tomorrow.

ThePoppyAndTheIvy Wed 05-Dec-12 10:04:12

I worked as a GP's Receptionist for several years and, although we HAD to ask the "is it urgent?" question for same day/emergency appointments, I would never have questioned a patient's reply, so please don't worry that the Receptionist is going to cross-examine you. What we were told to say to patients who replied "well I don't know if it's urgent" was "is it something that can reasonably wait until the next available routine appointment?". In your case, that would be a no. Therefore, yes it is urgent & yes, if I were you I would want to be seen today.

So sorry to hear about the crap you are going through sad. I lost my mum recently so can appreciate how hard it must be for you.

Oh, and BTW, not all elderly people asking for emergency appointments actually need them. IME you get the same mix of "yes, I've been sniffing for an hour, I can't wait a minute longer" and "well I've got chest pain & left arm pain but I don't want to trouble anyone so can I book an appointment for a month next Tuesday" from the elderly as you would from any age group. You are not necessarily less worthy for being younger smile.

Lougle Wed 05-Dec-12 10:13:56

The key here, is to decide before you phone, whether you need to be seen that day, or another day. If you need to be seen that day (and you definitely do!!!) then when they ask 'is it an emergency' you say 'Yes, absolutely.'

The thing that I have found useful, is to change my approach. If I know my child needs to be seen the same day, when I phone I say "Could I have an emergency appointment for my DD please." Or "Hi, I need an appointment for my DD today, please."

If it can wait, I either don't phone first thing in the morning, or say "Could I book a routine appointment, please."

Then the receptionist knows and I don't get flustered!

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Wed 05-Dec-12 10:27:02

We need to know you are ok.
Please come back and update after you have seen your doctor.

A three week wait for a non-urgent appointment is disgraceful. Ours will normally see you within a few days (possibly longer if you need to see a specific doctor). I'd look at changing GPs once you get this sorted.

Appointments on the day aren't necessarily only for urgent things in some surgeries. For our GP they seem to consider them to be a combination of routine and emergency appointments and only treat them as emergency only when they don't have as many doctors on as usual.

sounds like you can't wait 3 weeks, or one week even. imo. it is urgenty. not an emergency but urgent that it needs sorting out,looking at

in our surgery an appointment for today means ring first thing today. otherwise see a nurse, or book ahead, which is a week 10 days

Lougle Wed 05-Dec-12 11:06:32

8am here. Bang smack in the middle of getting children to school frenzy. Even 8.20 can mean that the appointments are gone, or you just can't get through at all.

So, if I need one, I phone at 7.58 and keep redialling so that I catch the surgery on the switchover from answerphone to call answering.

RooneyMara Wed 05-Dec-12 11:13:22

OP I really hope you're Ok - sounds like it could be a neurological issue or blood pressure or something.

I would NOT leave it any longer.

Btw when in doubt, I normally run it past them what's going on, iyswim, so in your case I'd say I'm having episodes of tunnel vision and almost fainting, and have now started vomiting for no apparent reason so I'm worried about my blood pressure and so on.
They would not hesitate to get you in asap I think.

InExitCelsisDeo Wed 05-Dec-12 11:17:44

We are the same Lougle. But they do keep loads of slots free for same day appts. It is all that bloody redialling that gets my goat.

Hope you get seen OP.

RooneyMara Wed 05-Dec-12 11:22:03

We have to call at 8.30 which means we're always driving to school. It's just not possible often.

vladthedisorganised Wed 05-Dec-12 14:32:57

Thanks everyone. Called back and was advised to call back at 2pm for an emergency appointment; unfortunately by the time I got through at 2:15 (kept redialling from 1:55) all the emergency appointments had gone, so the Dr is going to give me a call at some point. We'll see what happens from there!

vladthedisorganised Thu 06-Dec-12 01:25:28

Ho hum, GP didn't call so will try again in the morning..

FlorIxora Thu 06-Dec-12 01:35:13

Call NHS Direct. Or use their symptom checker.

If you don't have any luck with your GP tomorrow I would go to the nearest walk-in centre.

sashh Thu 06-Dec-12 03:29:09

You need to be seen and you need to swap to a GP with a better appointments system.

vladthedisorganised Fri 07-Dec-12 20:51:50

Finally got seen last night - thanks so much for the advice on NHS Direct, who were wonderful. The initial flow chart said to dial 999 and get an ambulance straight away, but after speaking to a nurse I got plenty of ammunition to see a GP.
The symptoms are consistent with a cluster migraine apparently, so I've got some tablets and have been told to exercise outdoors at least three times a week to reduce stress. Not quite sure how on earth I'll do that, but that's a whole different story.
Apparently if I lose consciousness again I should dial 999 though, so I'll keep that in mind.
Thanks so much for your advice!

digerd Sat 08-Dec-12 18:41:04

Good luck at exercising outdoors in this weather.

Footle Sat 08-Dec-12 19:22:50

And good luck with dialling 999 if you're unconscious...

InExitCelsisDeo Sat 08-Dec-12 22:40:09

What the actual? Exercise outside, and dial 999 if you become unconscious?

Good luck with all of that then.


vladthedisorganised Sat 08-Dec-12 23:06:28

It is a bit mad, isn't it? I guess I was so pathetically grateful to be seen that if I'd been told to hop up and down on one foot for five minutes it would still have been better than hanging about on the phone.

Perhaps there's been such a backlash on signing people off that you're told to go for a bracing run rather than have a rest these days. In Victorian times I would have been in Switzerland by now (sigh). Actually I would have been told to fuck off back down the pit, so it's probably about the same..

InExitCelsisDeo Sat 08-Dec-12 23:08:39

Switzerland is lovely.

That would definitely make me feel better.

Hope you are OK OP.

TeaBrick Sat 08-Dec-12 23:14:21

Is there any way you can change to another GP surgery? 3 weeks is a ridiculous wait.

lisad123 Sat 08-Dec-12 23:21:10

I have migraines but always know if I'm going to be sick! Very odd advice, please go back if you don't feel better soon

hiddenhome Sun 09-Dec-12 11:24:16

I'm sorry but I would question that diagnosis. You need to be seen ASAP.

HoleyGhost Sun 09-Dec-12 11:29:16

I would ask for a referral

Goldenjubilee10 Sun 09-Dec-12 12:31:59

I had very similar symptoms 8 years ago although I didn't have the vomiting. I was diagnosed as having stress related silent migraines. I still get it now and then but never as bad as the first time. I was signed off for 4 weeks. See another GP and tell them you are not managing at work or see your manager and see if you can reduce your hours for a few weeks.

vladthedisorganised Tue 18-Dec-12 08:53:19

Right, saw another GP yesterday (kept my 'emergency' appointment from the other week) and I'm to have a blood test tomorrow for thyroid somethingorother and anaemia. He thinks it might be stress-related but wants to rule out physical stuff, so we shall see.
Just as well, as I now can't get to the end of the road without needing a sit down blush.

Startail Tue 18-Dec-12 09:29:04

My Dr called something similar anxiety induced migraines and gave me some tablets that helped a lot.

Also if you have an obliging DP, get him to run your neck and shoulders. I tense everything up without realising it. Honestly you can do it enough to make yourself feel ill.

If you can afford it an osteopath might work wonders, but they may want the medical all clear from your GP.

Hope you get it sorted soon.

digerd Tue 18-Dec-12 11:25:46

You now can't get to the end of the road without needing a sit down?! That sounds serious. I'd give up the Exercise and get your heart tested.

piprabbit Wed 19-Dec-12 21:09:55

vlad so sorry this is dragging on, it must be miserable.

Why do you need to sit down when walking? Is it pain, breathing, dizziness? sounds absolutely horrible.

5dcsandallthelittlesantahats Fri 21-Dec-12 07:54:07

I'm glad you got in to see your doctor in the end!. You surgery sounds pretty unhelpful tbh.
Ours is a walk in from 8-10:30 then appointments until 6. If they have no appointments they refer you to the 24 hour walk in centre at the hospital. So you always get seen same day. What the hell is the pong in waiting : weeks for anything non routine - god knows what could have happened by then confused

5dcsandallthelittlesantahats Fri 21-Dec-12 07:54:42

That's point not pong

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