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AIBU to think that the receptionist shouldn't be allowed to do this?

(186 Posts)
Naysa Fri 15-Mar-13 08:49:23

I rang my doctors this morning to try and get an appointment for today. You have to ring at 8, one the day, to get an appointment.

I got through at about 8.25.

I spoke to the receptionist and she said that they had a 5 minute appointment, "for one thing only", to see a doctor. I'm not fussy about which GP I saw as although it is a problem it is something that can quickly and easily be sorted.

I'm having a problem with my implant that is resulting in very heavy, painful periods. The problem goes away completely when I'm prescribed the pill.
I've had the implant for almost a year and I'm still battling to get it taken out (this is another story) but, for now, this is working. Unfortunately if I try and put a repeat prescription in, I am told it has been rejected and I am to see my doctor. The annoying thing is, is that the doctor who rejects my request hasn't actually seen me once in the two years she's worked there.

My pill ran out on Saturday. My period started Sunday night and it has not been a problem until yesterday afternoon so I rang this morning. It is practically unbearable. I'm going through night time pads almost on the hour.

I accepted the appointment, the gave the receptionist my name and DOB. She then asked why I needed to see the doctor. I stupidly told her the reason and she then said that she couldn't give me the appointment because it's not an emergency. If it was an emergency, I would have gone to accident and emergency. She then said that I can go to the family planning clinic on Monday. This is not the first time I have had an appointment "taken away" because my condition is not serious enough.

I'm now going to have a weekend full of cramping and a very heavy period (TMI sorry!)

AIBU to email the GP and complain and AIBU to change surgery?

ubik Sat 16-Mar-13 12:25:51

"However, she more than likely is acting under the GP's instructions to ask about the reason for urgent appointments and not book for certain things or advise to go to A&E or call 999 (as an aside it's surprising how many people are reluctant to call an ambulance thinking they're wasting time with chest pain and shortness of breath - I think some people need reassurance it's ok with all the marketing about not wasting their time). In a normal situation running out of the pill isn't urgent, it's bad planning, so I imagine a lot of urgent appointments are refused on that basis. "

^^ yy this

PipkinsPal Sat 16-Mar-13 12:42:54

The Receptionist doesn't need to know why you need to see the Doctor for an appointment but we do act under Doctor's instructions. We are requested to ask for a brief idea if you wish a telephone call from a Doctor though. You should not run out of medication as it is the patients responsibility to order in plenty of time. I expect Doctor's do have people taking up an appointment because they have run out of medication which in turn prevents people who are unwell getting an appointment. Does your surgery have a pre-bookable appointment system in advance? If the way the surgery runs does not suit you perhaps you should find one that does. All you should have to do is go into the surgery of your choice and ask to register but you may be restricted by practice boundaries. However if the appointment was because of excess bleeding this in some circumstances cannot be solved in a 5 minute slot as an internal exam may be necessary. We are also requested to ask what the Practice Nurse appointment is for, not because we are nosey, but for example a depo injection is done in less time than a smear test and by booking a double slot for the latter ensures waiting times are kept to a minimum.

ananikifo Sat 16-Mar-13 12:42:56

Iamsparklyknickers: People have said upthread that friends who are GP receptionist were trained in medical terminology and prioritising. I was trying to say that whilst they may have that training it is not the same thing as being a health professional.

I'm an AHP in the NHS and in my department we don't even let our assistants (who work with patients) to triage, let alone admin staff.

RevoltingPeasant Sat 16-Mar-13 12:57:13

Really don't understand why people keep saying the OP should have ordered more meds in advance.

Surely, the doctor told her to leave it and see? So she did? Then, it turned not to be settling down so on the day she started having bad pain she rang for an appointment.

I honestly don't see what she did wrong. confused

Yes, she could've ignored the dr's advice and stocked up on meds just in case, earlier, but then surely she would've been slammed for wasting public money getting a drug she might not need.

Thankfully my GPs' surgery is much better -- it's the one part of the NHS I've dealt with that actually works well.

Sirzy Sat 16-Mar-13 12:59:08

She could have got a prescription to make up if she needed it.

If they only have emergency appointments left then this isn't an emergency.

hackmum Sat 16-Mar-13 12:59:11

I think in the OP's situation, I would go to an OOH clinic, assuming there was one nearby.

I find the receptionist's attitude bizarre, in that presumably the OP's appointment would have taken about 2 minutes (take blood pressure, write prescription).

The problem a lot of people have is this: they have a condition (like the OP's, or like a child with a v high temperature) which isn't strictly an emergency, so they don't like to bother A&E. After all, we are constantly told that A&E is overworked, and that the service is abused by timewasters. But although it's not an emergency, they do need to see a medical practitioner quickly - it's not something that can wait for an appointment two weeks in the future. But if they phone up their GP and ask for an appointment straight away, the receptionist may make them feel bad because it's not serious enough. It just puts people in an impossible position.

OOH clinics are supposed to address this to some extent, though I was mystified by a thread recently where the OP took her diabetic child to an OOH clinic and then got an angry letter from her GP demanding to know why she hadn't taken the child to the surgery. (Someone said it's because GP practices get charged when their patients visit OOH clinics.) So whatever you do, you can't win.

Raum Sat 16-Mar-13 13:07:35

People don't seem to understand that GP surgeries are essentially private businesses, complain about the lack of care, difficulty getting an appointment etc in writing and state that you'll both take it further and change practice if they do not respond with 10 working days. Practice's get paid if you are registered with them and are paid for each test etc carried out, I suspect that's partly behind prioritisation done by receptionists to maximise profit for the GPs.They have targets to meet for additional payments but practice's are ultimately in control of how they handle patients.

ihearsounds Sat 16-Mar-13 13:10:10

The op's example is another reason why receptionists shouldn't be triaging without any medical knowledge.
If the receptionist had any medical knowledge she would know the risk of complication from severe bleeding. She would know that iron levels drop, and depending on various factors, they can drop severely low.
The ops appointment wasn't about just getting a repeat prescription, but it was to get medication, regardless of what the meds were, to stop severe bleeding.
My gps used to be the same. Couldn't get an advanced appointment, could only get one of the day, and only if the receptionist thought you should be seen that day. Because of several complaints from pals and hospitals, the policy was taken away.

quoteunquote Sun 17-Mar-13 13:12:59


Quoteunquote..oh..because they are so stupid they can't understand big words

err no, because if it not kept under control it can be a real problem twelve times a year, grin

I use it because I get fed up of having to explain the inner working cancer treatment to them, and getting silly responses when asking for perfectly reasonable emergency appointments. My GPs don't mind.

(Am a receptionist and studied Classics at Oxford), good for you, never had any intention of degrading your profession.

the system in place at our local surgery(the only one in the area, so no choice)is that if you want an appointment, you have to phone up at 8am, even if you phone at 8am on the dot,if you phone even a second before you get a recored message then cut off, you are then placed in a queue, when you get to the front of the queue, usually 20 mins at least, you are informed all the morning appointments are gone, they will not book you in for the afternoon appointments

You then have to phone at 1pm, you wait in the queue, to be informed that you must phone the following day at 8am.

I find the ,*I always tell the receptionist that my lycanthrope is flaring up,and I need to see a GP asap before Therianthropy goes too far* method works,

Any other suggestions as to how to get an appointment would be very gratefully received, I genuinely would like to know.

at the moment I often have to drive to the hospital, and hour each way, and hang about for doctor, because I cannot get an appointment with the GP.

not everyone can do this, when I can't drive, I am stuffed.

So if you do have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

PipkinsPal Sun 17-Mar-13 15:42:18

Quote - send a letter to the Practice Manager outlining your complaint and suggestions on how to make it better. If no joy then write to your local health board.

quoteunquote Sun 17-Mar-13 16:18:58

Thanks PipkinsPal, we all have, (everyone has a problem with it) the whole of the local community has a problem with system, but they will not budge.

It is an ongoing battle, and will end up with a tragedy.

I phoned for a "normal' appointment on friday, it is in three weeks time.

It is not surprising the reception personnel are getting the brunt, but if practice managers chose to ignore that the system is not working it is to be expected.

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