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in being a bit peeved by my doctors surgery?

(31 Posts)
LifeIsButtercream Mon 19-Sep-11 18:43:24

I called this morning at 8:30am as required to fight for try and make an appointment for today (the only way you can is to call at 8:30am, if you try and make a regular appointment it's usually 1-2 weeks away).

I got through on the 3rd ring (first 2 engaged) at exactly 8:31am, to be told that all the morning appointments were taken, I asked for a 'turn-up-and-wait-on-the-off-chance appointment, and was asked if it was a "medical emergency" - I was tempted to say "no, if it was I would have dialed 999 rather than my GP" (didn't btw) - I just replied that I'd rather have it considered today rather than in a weeks time (good job, as it turns out I have a nasty infection that needs heavy-duty antibiotics, although you wouldn't know it to look at me!)

I was told to come at 10am and wait, which I did and I was the only one there - very busy obviously!

Disclaimer - obviously I think people with urgent medical issues should be seen asap rather than things that could be dealt with at a later date, but what bothers me is:

- the practice has 5 full-time GP's, all of whom were in surgery this morning for daily appointments (they only do other scheduled appointments in the afternoon) - so how on earth could they all have been fully booked all morning in one minute flat by one receptionist?

- did she really have to make me clarify three times that it was a 'medical emergency' - not even sure what that entails! If I wasn't so stubborn confident I'd be at home now with a date for next week and a raging temperature, doing as I was told........

Sorry rant over! sad can I please put it down to feeling awful?

worraliberty Mon 19-Sep-11 18:46:13

They were probably full up with appointments made by people 2 - 3 weeks ago?

worraliberty Mon 19-Sep-11 18:46:46

Sorry I meant 1 - 2 weeks ago.

Either way, it sounds like my local surgery hmm

gigglepin Mon 19-Sep-11 18:47:59

Not sure how they work but mine is fab. They have a same day policy, so ring up before 11am and get a same day appointment.
They also do 2 late night sessions for workers..appointments till 8pm.
They have rung me back on more than one occasion to see how i am, and have always been brilliant.
Im very very lucky i think.

Oh and the receptionists are brilliant, friendly, chatty and very very helpful.
They always and without exception say "hope you dont mind me asking, is it urgent or could you come this evening?" they are lovely.

LifeIsButtercream Mon 19-Sep-11 18:48:01

You can only make appointments in the afternoons if you pre-book - the morning is always free for appointments that need to be made on the day.

Sorry - I'm having a feverish rant!

AKMD Mon 19-Sep-11 18:49:14

Do you go to the same doctor as me?! I hate it when the receptionist asks what I want to see a doctor for so that she can decide whether it merits an emergency appointment or not. I am often tempted to make up a really involved, embarrassing personal problem...

YANBU by the way.

belledechocchipcookie Mon 19-Sep-11 18:49:18

My GP's this bad. You have to call at 07:30 for an appointment for that day. The line is always engaged from 07:25. I did manage to get through at 07:35 last week (faints) and all of the appointments had gone! hmm Does your surgery have an online booking system by any chance?

TheCrackFox Mon 19-Sep-11 19:03:02

Ha, our GPs will only let you make an appointment on the day at 8.30am. If you phone at 8.31am then every appointment has gone. Really bloody useful if you DCs going to school/nursery or work. They system can only suit pensioners.

If you do phone at 8.31am a snotty receptionist will bark at you at to whether it is an emergency. How the hell would I know? I did not go to medical school hence the need to see a frigging doctor.

tyler80 Mon 19-Sep-11 19:08:04

We're not even allowed to make appointments. You have to turn up and wait. First appointment is at 8.30am, at 7.30am there'll be a queue of pensioners waiting ready, so minimum it's an hour wait, the first half hour of that in the street. It's just what you feel like when you're ill.

They don't even let you make appointments when it's for something like a scheduled blood test, the concept that people might actually go to work and need an appointment to fit around that is a bit of a mystery to them.

mrspnut Mon 19-Sep-11 19:12:23

Our surgery runs a GP triage system - if you call in the morning for a same day appointment then a GP calls you back and discusses your symptoms and from there decides whether you need to see a GP, could see the nurse or in my case today, just need a prescription and fit note writing and leaving at reception for collection.

I've hurt my back and knew that all I needed was some stronger painkillers and a week off to rest it. By running this triage system - you can always get a same day appointment if you really need one and in about 25% of cases an appointment isn't needed.

tallulah Mon 19-Sep-11 19:19:55

My old doctor's surgery was like this. You had to ring at 8.30am and of course they were engaged. You'd get through at 8.32 and no appointments. I once rang at 2.30 with such a crippling pain in my side I couldn't stand up (I was pg at the time, and 43 yo) and called the GPs only to be told "the correct procedure is to phone at 8.30". "yes i realise that but I'm in severe pain" "doctor has no appointments.."

We got to the point with DD where we would march her down to the surgery. They never said no with a screaming baby in front of the desk.

New surgery is fab. Couldn't get over calling at 11am for an emergency appt and being told "come down at 11.30" grin

RantyMcRantpants Mon 19-Sep-11 19:22:44

Sounds like our surgery mrspnut. I rang the surgery this mornig, had a call back 15 mins later, appointment at 10.30, prescription given and a follow up appointment for a week time all sorted.

We also have a few days where they are open at 7.30 and a few days where the last appointment is 8.30.

Al0uiseG Mon 19-Sep-11 21:11:52

Am I the only evil old cow one who thinks some pensioners make an appointment for something to do. Mil won't take paracetamol unless the doctor has told her to.

eurochick Mon 19-Sep-11 22:16:04

mrspunt that sounds like a great system. Much better than the unqualified receptionist deciding whether or not you are allowed to see a dr or not.

We have the call at 8am for a same day system. There are no other appointments. The line is permanently engaged until around 8.45 and then when you finally get into the phone queue all the appointments have gone. Then you just have beg, plead and cry down the phone for them to fit you in. It's ridiculous. I go to the dr about once a year. If I say I need to see the dr, I bloody well need to see the dr!

aldiwhore Mon 19-Sep-11 22:19:48

My surgery operates on this system and it works. An emergency to a GP is NOT the same as an A+E emergency else you'd phone 999 and not the GP... so if you are poorly and don't know what's wrong (or do and know what you need) then its an emergency. Non emergency appointments are for long term ailments or things that can wait a while... so my lovely GP's receptionist tells me... yes I know a lovely GP's receptionist!

I guess its like getting benefits you're entitled to, but don't know about, unless you know their system you cannot access it!

Sidge Mon 19-Sep-11 22:27:27

I work in a GP surgery and I think we could be like Tescos and open 24/7 and we'd still be full.

Appointments fill up so quickly because:

Some people have no common sense - they wake up with a sore throat, or a mild headache, and instead of sucking a Strepsil, or having a cold drink, or taking a paracetamol, and seeing how it goes they phone immediately for an appointment.

Hospitals discharge people very very quickly these days and the nurses and doctors at the surgery are doing all the post-op/post-discharge care that used to be done on the ward.

We have an increasingly aged and diseased population that require increasing amounts of medical intervention.

maighdlin Mon 19-Sep-11 22:28:13

ours is mainly appointments only but if you phone early enough they will fit you in. they will always fit in under fives even if you phone at 4pm they will give you a "sit and wait". its really annoying though when its not an urgent thing but you don't want to wait their usual 2-3 weeks for a regular appointment, gynae annoyances in particular. my old doctor had the morning first come first served approach which i liked as i went at about 11 when the mad morning rush was over.

Sidge Mon 19-Sep-11 22:28:32

Doh not post-discharge, meant post-illness.

AKMD Mon 19-Sep-11 22:37:47

Our GP also has an automated booking system if you don't ned to see them for a few weeks. I admit to occasionally calling up and booking an appointment for a few weeks' time just in case because it's so hard to get an appointment on the day blush I do always remember to cancel with a day or two to spare if it's not needed though. I am odd like that.

ggirl Mon 19-Sep-11 22:48:19

AKMD so you make an appt when you are well just incase you become unwell in a few weeks time ?

please tell me I've got that wrong

startail Mon 19-Sep-11 22:53:35

Our doctors now let you ring at 8 am instead of 8.30. This is a huge improvement. Yes it's still the same mad panic, but at least your not ringing exactly as you're trying to get non ill sibling to school and trying to second guess what appointment you'd be offered. Very early or late afternoon means school taxi duty for DH as I cannot be in two places at once. Knowing what everyone is doing, when, before they should have left the house is bliss.

Sidge Mon 19-Sep-11 22:55:25

AKMD - do you really?

What a waste of time.

Rebecca41 Mon 19-Sep-11 23:10:18

No system works for everyone. I'm a GP, and we've tried numerous different appointment systems in response to suggestions and complaints from patients. But some people like to book in advance, and some like to be seen on the day, so it's impossible to please everyone. We currently offer both, but people still complain.

The receptionists have to ask questions because otherwise people take up appointments for the inappropriate things, like ordering repeat prescriptions or asking if they need to take a urine sample to their forthcoming outpatient appointment.

All I can say is that I was busy today. I worked flat out, without a break apart from going to the toilet, from 8.30am till 8pm. So however unhappy you may be, rest assured that your GP is working nice and hard!!

Al0uiseG Tue 20-Sep-11 05:00:21

We can make online appointments at our surgery which is fantastic because the old dears don't know how to work t'internet which leaves me with the pick of appointment times and Doctors. We can also order repeat prescriptions online and collect them from any local pharmacy. It's a good practice and they're moving to swanky new premises soon.

All I'd like now is a private waiting room so I don't have to mix with the coughers and sneezers.

saladsandwich Tue 20-Sep-11 05:15:04

my drs sugery is exactly the same, mondays and fridays there is just no point in bothering trying to get an appointment unless you are desperate. the drs are really nice, most of the receptionists are nice one of them is clever and rude, i also think they just have far too many patients to cope with.

i had to see the dr yesterday i have cellulitis on my finger and needed antibiotics and they where runing 1hr behind, could understand if this was the afternoon but it was 10 in the morning they'd only been open for 1hour.

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