Page 2 | No wonder you can't get a GP appointment

(282 Posts)
Intherightplace Wed 04-Aug-21 10:01:16

Currently all first GP appointments at our surgery are telephone. Which is OK for most things, even good, more efficient for both GP and patient. However, for some things a telephone appointment is never going to be any use. For example, if I'd been able to explain to "someone" that I needed an appointment for a dodgy looking mole, surely they could have seen that a face to face appointment was necessary?

Anyway, I waited 3 weeks for my telephone appointment. GP said she couldn't do anything by phone and she'd need to see me (like it was my fault, I hadn't seen her!). So that's one completely wasted appointment.

10 days later I had the f2f appointment. Buzzed the door, not allowed in before they've checked you out. Receptionist said she'd tell doctor I was there. 10 mins later the doctor herself came to collect me from the door. Now this is a large medical practice, it's a fairly long walk, involving 2 flights of stairs and she was wearing heels she could barely walk in

I was with her literally seconds before she said she'd refer to a dermatologist. So, at least 20 mins of her time, for a few seconds with the GP to do something she probably could have done at the telephone appointment, if that was going to be the level of the examination.

Either way, she could have dealt with other patients in that time. Why on earth are the admin staff still working at home? There are usually loads behind the large reception desk, but only the one answering the buzzer currently.

And why not just refer the first time and save everyone so much wasted time?

OP’s posts: |
mibbelucieachwell Wed 04-Aug-21 13:35:15

Even before covid I've often thought that some processes seem inefficient. Eg blood tests ordered by the GP. Why don't gps just do the blood tests there and then instead of requiring the patient to have to bother the receptionist to make another appointment with a nurse who has to come out of her room to find you in the waiting area and walk you back to her room. GP could do it in seconds.

RebelHaberdashery Wed 04-Aug-21 13:35:17

PattyPan

Ours have a system where you can upload photos of moles, rashes, whatever to accompany phone appointments.

Our GP surgery does, and I submitted an e-consult with clear photos. At the height of the pandemic they nevertheless still made me go in to see the doctor in person alone, even though I'm disabled. The GP was PPEd up to the nines, I couldn't hear what she was saying through the mask and visor (I'm hearing impaired), and she said she couldn't touch me.

I couldn't fully strip off as requested because I wasn't allowed a carer in with me, and it was agony to try as I was in the middle of a classic flare of psoriatic arthritis as well as psoriasis (long history in my notes, and details in the e-consult), and she referred me to dermatology anyway - which she could and should have done directly from the e-consult with photos.

I got stuck on the examination bed, and the GP still wouldn't touch me to assist, nor did she call for a nurse. I ended up struggling for five minutes and sort of log-rolled off. I asked for my DP but he wasn't allowed inside the building. So I went back out alone in my crutches in considerable pain.

Dermatology are keeping me as an 'open case' now so I can go straight to them, as are Rheumatology. The hospital doctors and nurses are so incredibly helpful - they've given me phone numbers and email addresses for direct contact.

And the GP surgery? All they do is cancel repeat prescriptions that I need, and demand I make appointments with a GP to have them reinstated - appointments that they then say they don't have.

toocold54 Wed 04-Aug-21 14:34:49

YANBU I do wonder who’s making these rules for the GPs.
It just means A&E’s are more overwhelmed because people are having to go there to be seen when they can’t get an appointment for weeks.

RebelHaberdashery Wed 04-Aug-21 14:45:44

I know, @toocold54, it makes you really wonder, doesn't it? I know all GP practices are private businesses, but they are funded by the NHS, and fully regulated, and yet the many (not all) piss-poor ones currently seem accountable to no-one.

I know they're short-staffed, but surely that would suggest that the e-consult system should lead to more immediate referrals without insisting on the patient waiting for unnecessary and oft-times unavailable f2f appointments.

Like @MagentaPolkadots, I have chronic health conditions and it's not bloody funny that we can't access primary care. GP surgeries get a payment per patient, don't they, amongst other payments from the NHS?

Intherightplace Wed 04-Aug-21 15:26:52

EverybodyIsInteresting

It must be one helluva size of a building if that took damn near ten minutes.

She had to do the walk 4 times though. From her surgery to the door, back with me and then again to let me out. Everything's locked, they can't risk people wandering in obviously, which means you can't get out without being let out. Escorted at all times.

And yes, as I said it's a big building, 2 flights of stairs involved.

OP’s posts: |
Intherightplace Wed 04-Aug-21 15:28:38

Yes, I mentioned the heels only because it was a very slow tottery walk. I was in trainers and would have covered the ground much quicker at my own comfortable pace.

OP’s posts: |

Advertisement

RebelHaberdashery Wed 04-Aug-21 15:30:23

And then presumably she had to spend at least a few minutes updating your records, and making your referral to Dermatology. You'd hope.

Intherightplace Wed 04-Aug-21 15:30:58

aftonwater

*@Intherightplace* why don’t you contact the Practice Manager and ask them? They will be able to answer your questions whereas we can only speculate. For context, I am a Practice Manager.

As you mention it, I did try to make an efficiency suggestion for another completely unrelated matter regarding my late DH's medication. I was told the practice manager "doesn't take calls".

OP’s posts: |
Crunchymum Wed 04-Aug-21 15:33:19

Just to add another perspective.

I called last week to book my toddlers pre school jabs (overdue) expecting there to be a mammoth wait.

The receptionist booked me a telephone appointment YES really for the nurse to call me to discuss that evening.

The nurse called, the system had flagged up my DC's recently diagnosed allergy, hence the call. After a discussion and my consent to go ahead, we were booked a F2F appointment the next day.
Overall a very positive experience.

FinallyHere Wed 04-Aug-21 15:33:25

* The app requires you to take in ID*

If you are registered with a GP, you can ask them for a registration. I've just successfully completed this for DH his email.

You can provide ID to the app separately using your phone to take a photo of your passport or drivers licence.

Intherightplace Wed 04-Aug-21 15:35:33

Crunchymum

Just to add another perspective.

I called last week to book my toddlers pre school jabs (overdue) expecting there to be a mammoth wait.

The receptionist booked me a telephone appointment YES really for the nurse to call me to discuss that evening.

The nurse called, the system had flagged up my DC's recently diagnosed allergy, hence the call. After a discussion and my consent to go ahead, we were booked a F2F appointment the next day.
Overall a very positive experience.

Yes, it seems to be GPs are the last people you can't get to see.

OP’s posts: |
RebelHaberdashery Wed 04-Aug-21 15:38:19

Another issue of 'efficiency' that's emerged in the past couple of years is that my named GP in my practice says they 'can't see' and 'aren't sent' the results of hospital tests, including blood tests.

The consultants that I see tell me this is bollocks - that they can access to my blood results via ICE and all other results are posted or sent electronically to them.

So why would GPs say that? I really don't get it.

Wolframhart Wed 04-Aug-21 15:41:11

I’m foreign. Do you literally mean phone when you say phone appointment? If we can’t have appointments in-person, they are done via webcam. You can have a pretty decent chat, show a mole. I got my nasty cut diagnosed and treated during full lockdown. All without leaving the house, well I did have to go to the pickup window at the pharmacist on the cut.

RebelHaberdashery Wed 04-Aug-21 15:41:56

I'm envious, @Crunchymum!

You can spend hours ringing my surgery in order to get put in a long queue, and you get cut off after you've heard half an hour of Vivaldi and have to start again.

MeadowHay Wed 04-Aug-21 15:43:59

Ah I always feel sad when I see these threads. My GP practice is mostly great and most experiences with them are positive, and my DH is a HCP working in a GP practice too.

One theme I can see a lot of on here is people thinking they shouldn't have been brought in to be examined prior to referral to secondary care. Secondary care, unless there's an agreement in place to the contrary, expect your primary care contact to physically examine you before referral. I'm not sure the referral would even be accepted without details of a physical exam, even if thats just to confirm they saw a mole in person and agreed it warranted investigation. Referrals are rejected and bounced back where they don't meet the criteria for referral. I'm sure your GP would rather refer you straight on than check you out in person, after all that would be a lot less work for them! But that's not good practice at all and secondary care wouldn't be happy about it.

Intherightplace Wed 04-Aug-21 15:44:14

Wolframhart

I’m foreign. Do you literally mean phone when you say phone appointment? If we can’t have appointments in-person, they are done via webcam. You can have a pretty decent chat, show a mole. I got my nasty cut diagnosed and treated during full lockdown. All without leaving the house, well I did have to go to the pickup window at the pharmacist on the cut.

Yes, telephone

OP’s posts: |
RebelHaberdashery Wed 04-Aug-21 15:44:50

@Wolframhart, yes actual phone calls. No screen views.

EBearhug Wed 04-Aug-21 15:55:58

MzHz

I genuinely don’t understand why every surgery seems to think they have to reinvent the wheel!

Surely there is some kind of association or group that identifies best practice in terms of organisation of a good surgery so that they can implement policies and systems that are more universally understood and successful.

This really isn’t rocket science I don’t understand why gp surgeries have to make things so hard for themselves and for patients

Oh, this, so much this! And then, if you moved house to another area, you would have some idea of how the new surgery worked and where to look.

Buildingthefuture Wed 04-Aug-21 15:57:16

Exactly this! WHY are we all having to go through the rigmarole of phonecalls first?
They just make it SO difficult! DP has a hernia (as identified last year in a scan carried out privately and in his notes) Hernia is now bothering him so he called the surgery to ask for a referral back to the surgeon who did the scan, as advised to do by the surgeon if hernia became an issue. Dr refused (after we waited 2 weeks for a response!) and said he needed phone consultation first, which can't be for 3 weeks?? We complained and low and behold, referral written angry

EarlGreywithLemon Wed 04-Aug-21 15:57:38

Our surgery sorted that very efficiently- I called triage at 8am, had a call back from the GP two hours later, uploaded a photo and the GP rang me back to discuss 5 minutes later. They also chased me to book my smear test and my daughter’s MMR booster. Not to mention that they saw her four-five times face to face when she wasn’t shaking off some nasty nursery bugs, all the same day I rang.

itsgettingwierd Wed 04-Aug-21 15:58:35

I'm lucky my surgery seems to have improved with the current system.

So anything non emergency you can do e consult. Max 3 days before they respond either with a telephone or f2f apt.

You still have to ring first thing for emergency apt. Last week I got one, had phone call within hours about an abscess and antibiotics sent to pharmacy within next hour. Then apt at OOH hub clinic with nurse that evening for dressing etc.

They then said they suggested swab to my GP as when some drained another infection started. Call next to go in following day for swab and GP came and looked.

Changed antibiotics. Apt 4 days later to look again. GP came in again. Now have another apt next week and if still not healed will be referred for drainage.

Previously I'd have been lucky to even get through for any type of apt for 3-4 days.

ElinoristhenewEnid Wed 04-Aug-21 16:05:53

Took a friend to a local GP surgery about 2 weeks ago.
She had a telephone appt first with nurse practitioner, asked to come in for blood test on same day and we both just walked in, she booked in at the terminal and she was told to take a seat upstairs. We both went upstairs and I waited for her when she was called in about 5 minutes later.
Had blood result telephoned to her about 5 hours later.
No restrictions - just like the good old days!
I thought that after 19th July surgeries were open house again?

IBelieveInAThingCalledScience Wed 04-Aug-21 16:08:53

That's doesn't sound efficient.

DD had a skin complaint during the last lockdown and the NHS sent me a video link in the same day I called the practice. The GP examined her via video and emailed the prescription to our pharmacy.

I was absolutely delighted with how efficient it was! I'm in Scotland, for what it's worth.

Niceicebaby Wed 04-Aug-21 16:08:58

Currently have been on hold for over an hour to a centralised repeat prescription service after having been cut off twice. Utterly inefficient so not its not just seeing GPs that is a pain.

atlastifoundit Wed 04-Aug-21 16:09:06

DH had a checkup today (medical condition that requires annual monitoring), got to the surgery for his appointment, which had been made by them some weeks ago, only to be told he wasn't on the list. On further investigation it turned out that apparently his appointment had been cancelled by someone - no reason given - but they hadn't bothered to contact him to let him know.

Useless gits.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in