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Or this normal GP practice?

(50 Posts)
firsttimemum77 Sat 13-Nov-10 21:45:43

It is a nightmare getting an appointment with my GP. You have to phone on a Friday morning to make an appointment for the following week. Emergency appointments are normally for 2 or 3 days later. In the meantime the receptionist offers to take your symptoms and give them to the doctor and tells you 'there will be medicine ready for you at such and such pharmacy after 2pm today' ...

Last Thursday I called about my 3 year old dd who had woken up with huge swollen eyes and could hardly open them (turned out to be an allergic reaction to something rather than an infection) and was offered an appointment for the following Wednesday. The receptionist took the symptoms and said that the doctor would prescribe medication based on what I had told her and I could collect it after 2pm.

Is it normal to prescribe medication for a child without actually seeing them??? Or should I complain?

Sorry for spelling / grammar, using iPhone!

ConnorTraceptive Sat 13-Nov-10 21:47:24

I have been prescribed medication over the phone but that was after to speaking to a doctor not the receptionist which sounds odd to me

SkyBluePearl Sat 13-Nov-10 21:47:46

Complain and change GP's. In relation to your child - you should always be able to get an emergency appointment or your GP should at least ring you back the same day.

ilovemydogandMrObama Sat 13-Nov-10 21:48:23


No, not normal. But cost efficient hmm

memoo Sat 13-Nov-10 21:49:25

Sounds like a bit of an odd system.

No doctor should be giving out medication without seeing the patient!

bluebump Sat 13-Nov-10 21:50:22

Not at my surgery, they reserve some appointments so you can ring at 8.30 in the morning to see someone at the surgery even if it isn't your GP on the day itself.

MrsKarpet Sat 13-Nov-10 21:50:31

The receptionist (not qualified surely?) took the symptoms and told the Dr who then prescribed meds sight unseen???

Doesn't sound right to me I definitely wouldn't be happy about it.

Vallhala Sat 13-Nov-10 21:50:39

I've moved around a bit and lived in town and country in both the north and the South and I've never experienced anything as bad as that.

I'd change practice if I were you.

TmiEdward Sat 13-Nov-10 21:50:50

That sounds really odd. I wouldn't be happy.
We're really lucky to have a single GP practice and nearly always get an appointment the same day.
TBH, I don't think the receptionist should be taking any symptoms. It's not exactly true to the spirit of patient confidentiality, is it?

PenelopePitstopx Sat 13-Nov-10 21:51:14

I thought my local practice was bad, but yours sounds appauling. I would send a letter to your local MP if I was you. The medical profession is currently in the lime light with yet another hospital being accused of possible negligence. This to me smacks of a similar case.

The child should see a doctor. Giving a child medication based on a few words conveyed over the phone and then translated through another person is just not good enough and potentially dangerous.

If in doubt take the child to the local A&E, otherwise do what you feel is best and get that letter sent, but don't take risks.

badfairy Sat 13-Nov-10 21:51:31

You see I was always under the impression that young children got preferential treatment and had to be seen sameday. That's always how it has worked at our surgery anyway. Seems a bit odd to have something prescribed without anyone seeing your daughter but I'm not medical so you'd probably better wait for someone to come along who is

BoysAreLikeDogs Sat 13-Nov-10 21:52:11

are you in the UK?

PinkieMinx Sat 13-Nov-10 21:53:06

Complain. There should be emergency apts for same/next day.
At our surgery if you phone at 8am you get one for that morning, if you phone at 12pm you get one for that afternoon. They only do a limited amount of pre-bookable apts per week and save lots of emergency ones. If I called for a routine apt I might need to wait a week/10 days but would be seen same day for emergencies.

Sounds like they have too many patients to Dr's.

gentlyfalling Sat 13-Nov-10 21:53:14

shock That's truely scary. No doctor should prescribing medicine to anyone without seeing them, expecially a child. Complain to the surgery and to your PCT. If it were me I'd report the Dr to the General Medical Council as well - their contact details are here

Other people might think I'm going overboard, but IMHO this is disgraceful.

Pogleswood Sat 13-Nov-10 21:54:00

That sounds very odd to me - I can't see how it would work for a GP to prescibe on what the receptionist told them you'd told her,the possibility for misunderstanding and error seems too high.
I'd be happy for the GP to prescribe for my child without seeing them if I already knew myself what the problem was,like conjunctivitis,but at our surgery you'd talk to the duty doctor in person in that situation.

(Are you saying that the allergy was correctly diagnosed by this method though? or did you get antibiotic drops and find out later the problem was an allergy??)

firsttimemum77 Sat 13-Nov-10 21:55:37

Skybluepearl - I argued that point with the receptionist over the phone and she just kept repeating like a robot 'sorry we are all booked up for emergencies today'
Me: I understand that, but shouldn't children be some sort of priority?
Her: ermm, sorry we're all booked up for emergencies today, our next emergency appointment available is next Wednesday!

You get the picture!

Anyways, I took it upon myself to give dd a spoon of piriton and later that day went to see if there was indeed medication at the chemist (out of curiosity), and there was. A tube of something for eye infections!

I am definetely going to change GP. But in the meantime I need to complain to someone. PALS??

Panzee Sat 13-Nov-10 21:55:44

badfairy I've noticed I get earlier appointments offered when I say "for my son". Even when I phoned up after lunch I got a same day one for him.

At our surgery the phones open at 8 and same day appointments run all day. You will always get one that day, even if it's later on.

firsttimemum77 Sat 13-Nov-10 21:57:50

Hi, yes in the UK. Essex.

firsttimemum77 Sat 13-Nov-10 22:00:37

Thanks for the info Gentlyfalling.

I knew it was serious, but didn't want to be seen to be making a big deal iykwim. But it is a big deal!!! You're right! I will make a complaint!

I'm getting more and more cross thinking about it now!

firsttimemum77 Sat 13-Nov-10 22:02:43

Pogleswood, she's not been diagnosed as such! I gave her piriton and the swelling went down. I assumed allergy from talking to other mums etc... Didn't use what the doctor prescribed via receptionist over the phone.

firsttimemum77 Sat 13-Nov-10 22:04:27

Oh and showed her to the pharmacist. That's another thing the receptionist advised. To take dd to pharmacist who can prescribe over the counter med for her!

TrappedinSuburbia Sat 13-Nov-10 22:04:53

Thats awful, my gp's will make a space if its a child or sounds urgent. I've had a busy gp give me a lengthy phone call over dry skin on my ds! I've never once had a receptionist ask me for symptoms unless I've volunteered them and even then they've been really nice.
Can you change surgeries to a small local one, i've found in the past larger ones are so inundated that this is the stance they've had to take unfortunately.

FrameyMcFrame Sat 13-Nov-10 22:04:57

You need to complain to the practice manager.
They are going to make a big mistake soon prescribing medicine without even speaking to the patient never mind looking at them.

Joolyjoolyjoo Sat 13-Nov-10 22:04:57

That sounds awful to me! I am a vet- if I prescribed prescription drugs to an animal I hadn't seen very recently I could be struck off- by law the animal has to be "under your care", which is difficult to prove if you haven't examined it!

And it is far too easy to get it wrong over the phone. I can't count the number of times I have a discussion with a client over the phone which suggested one thing, then had them come down to me see me only to discover something else which changed the diagnosis completely.

I have heard of a friend of mine who's GP did this and prescribed ear drops to her baby withour seeing the child. I would never prescribe ear drops for an animal without looking in the ear- if the eardrum is not intact drops can do more harm than good

It smacks of a way of doctors getting out of seeing patients, which is unacceptable as far as I'm concerned. I would be changing practice. If your GP can't take the same care for your child as your vet would your guinea pig than that's bad news! In my GP's practice you can only get an appointment for that same day. they brought this in last year and it has been fantastic. My children have always been seem the same day (sometimes within the hour!) and I am happy with that.

autodidact Sat 13-Nov-10 22:05:56

agree with skybluepearl

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