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GP appointments, what is 'emergency', 'routine' and how long would you expect to wait for a slot?

(74 Posts)
AtYourCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 14:42:37

If you need to see a GP how long do you normally wait?

Also - what would you class as an emergency or routine?

to my mind an emergency is really ill, damaged or infected and needs to be seen like today, but not life threatening, needing to go to A&E.

I'm not any of the above but the next available appointment is November 4th. I could be dead by then.
It's no wonder people go to A&E with sore elbows and flu and stuff.

Jan49 Wed 16-Oct-13 15:59:33

I moved house and registered with a new GP this year and I'm shocked by how long it takes to get an appointment. A week if you're willing to see any GP, 2 weeks if you want a female doctor. But I've been told there's a female nurse practitioner I can see the same day if I ring at 8am and she can refer anything to a doctor, so in that case, couldn't everyone do that to avoid the wait?

Frostedloop Wed 16-Oct-13 16:09:11

As a guy I have found that nothing counts as an emergency. So much so that my wife now calls on my behalf pretending to book it for herself then when asked for a name she gives mine, otherwise they fob me off. Have had this routinely for emergency appointments, wife could get one but when they hear a man there are none free, so wife calls up after I try..

Beastofburden Wed 16-Oct-13 16:26:59

Where I am, if you want a specific doctor then you may have to wait. if you will see any of them, you can always get something that day for a child and within 2 days for an adult. Or a nurse will see you.

I email my GP too and he replies, that's also useful.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Wed 16-Oct-13 17:08:58

Routine appointments 3-4 weeks. I make them for medicine reviews etc

Emergency appointments are phone at 8.30 and they'll see you the same day . I went today with an ongoing condition because my symptoms have worsened and in really struggling and couldn't wait several weeks

Trinpy Wed 16-Oct-13 17:46:20

My old gp surgery used to have a system a bit like pobble described - gp calls you back and then decides whether you are worthy of an appointment. Often though, by the time the gp got round to calling me back all the appointments were gone for the day so I had to wait until the next day. Extremely annoying when I used to have an hours commute to work so couldn't go to work then pop back for an appointment late morning. And they wouldn't let me book in advance so I couldn't arrange a morning off work specially. I also remember my mum telling me about having to explain to a doctor over the phone that she had a bad case of cystitis while sat at the very busy reception desk at her work (her colleague had popped out for lunch so she couldn't leave her desk).

Pooka Wed 16-Oct-13 17:50:42

Ive classed the following as Emergency appointments -

Kids with fevers and other symptoms

Basically, anything that can't wait perhaps 3 or 4 days. Luckily my gp practice is great and the longest I've ever waited (with HUGE apologies from them) was about 8 days because I needed to see a specific GP - wanted to arrange a referral for a non urgent prob.

Coffeenowplease Wed 16-Oct-13 17:56:05

Routine appt ? Few days I expect.

Emergency on the day, within a few hours really. I am horrified by 2-3 weeks.

My surgery is clearly very good. Things like UTI, ill children/sudden illness in adults/pain/bleeding would be emergency to me.

Reviews, repeat prescriptions, follow ups and contraception not so much.

Coffeenowplease Wed 16-Oct-13 17:56:59

*2-3 weeks for routine.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 18:08:01

humph. no phonecall back. it hurts. bastards.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 18:29:18



GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 16-Oct-13 18:36:05

I'd say urgent is anything where you can't wait until the routine appointments are available. A bad leg which you can't move freely on is an urgent appointment if the next routine one is 1st Nov I'd say.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 18:39:08

i'm going to self medicate with wine and then hack it off with the bread knife.

meddie Wed 16-Oct-13 18:46:59

Oozing. If you have a painful foot and cant walk then I would do one of two things
If its an injury and you did it within the last few days then go to a&e or a walk in centre

meddie Wed 16-Oct-13 18:47:54

Posted too soon
If its sore but you havent injured it then non urgent GP appt or go to a walk in centre

Funloving Wed 16-Oct-13 18:50:05

At our surgery the doctor speaks to everyone before giving them an appointment, patients can ask for the dr they want, and will always get an appointment that day if they want one, or can book ahead. It's brilliant!

Osmiornica Wed 16-Oct-13 18:52:37

We must be so lucky round here .. you ring up at 8 and every time I've been able to get an appointment almost straight away. Last time I barely had time to sort the kids out. Asthma reviews and things are done with the nurse not gp so also easy to get an appointment.

I'm moving away soon though so hope the next one is as good.

sashh Wed 16-Oct-13 18:56:34

Emergency, seen the same day. You might have to wait 2-3 hours as emergencies are seen in order of turning up.

A lump - probably the same day, maybe 2 days. It depends on if I'm working and can take time of work.

After 6.30 and at weekends, different surgery does 24 hour cover, so again sit and wait. But for a lump I'd probably want to see my usual Dr, that can take a couple of days, or two weeks if he is on holiday.

BerstieSpotts Wed 16-Oct-13 19:02:18

I always find it really difficult. If I'm ill then I struggle to get out of bed by 8 and then it takes all of my energy to persuade DS to get out of the house and go to nursery, by the time I phone up there are no appointments anyway!

Also ours is always engaged at 8am, by the time you get through, again, no appointments left for that day.

This is for standard things - you can't call at any other time or you get told to phone at 8am for appointments. If you're coming back out you can make an appointment to come back, but if you're walking past and ask for an appointment, it depends which receptionist you get. Some of them refuse to give you one and tell you to call in the morning, and others will book you in confused

An emergency appointment is somehow different to the normal phone-at-8am appointments but you have to state that you need an emergency appointment on the phone or they won't book you in.

TBH, I find it very stressful and frustrating to navigate and consequently I don't often bother, even when I should.

BoreOfWhabylon Wed 16-Oct-13 19:03:37

Is this the foot that has become painful since the nasty bite you received when you were in forrin parts, AYC?

If so, ring 111. They'll assess you and determine whether you need an urgent appointment.

NB make sure they know the full history - ask to speak with a clinician if necessary.

Oh, and I'd be making a formal complaint about my GP appointment system.

Good luck.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 19:14:25

what if you get ill or damage something after 8am? do you then have to wait until the following day to ask for an appointment?

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 19:15:35

i'll try again tomorrow.

and get the bloody stump dressed while i'm at it.

Tabliope Wed 16-Oct-13 19:24:46

I suffer the same as BerstieSpotts at my surgery. Last time abroad I bought myself anti-biotics over the counter so now at least I know I can self-medicate if necessary. It's extremely stressful trying to get a same day appointment at my DRs, which is usually what I need although I've probably only been twice in the past 5 years anyway.

OoozingCervix Wed 16-Oct-13 19:29:14

finally! a call and have an appointment for Friday afternoon. if i'm still alive.

macdoodle Wed 16-Oct-13 19:33:47

Ah well, there aren't enough GP's to do the job currently as clearly can be seen from this thread. Relentless government pressure and demand (along with vitriolic press attacks) have driven many off to early retirement, a lot overseas, and many to cut their hours or suffer burnout. New doctors dont want to be GP's, many practices are completely unable to recruit new GP's. And the government and public continue to exert ever increasing pressure. NHS GP is very close to folding, and then the government can sell off to their private cronies (Virgin, serco et al), and then you will really have fun. Am afraid the current situation is self inficted largely.
COI I am a GP.

If its something like plantar fasciitis then there may not be much they can do.It hurts like hell and makes getting out bed in the morning an absolute misery (its at its worst then)

I would get it checked out by the GP on Friday before hacking your foot off just in case its something fairly easy to fix. Also it'll save you the cost of a new bread knife.

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