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To think it shouldn't be this hard to get a GP appointment

(92 Posts)
LadyBaelish Thu 15-Dec-16 12:33:48

Onto the fourth day and 7th 'session' (morning, afternoon) of trying to get appointment to see my GP. I start calling as soon as the surgery opens for bookings, inevitably end up having to make 30+ calls before actually getting through to someone (rather than 'the surgery is busy, please hang up and try again' message) by which time the appointments have gone. ARGHHH angry

I know it isn't the surgery's fault, they've had cuts etc but it's just SO frustrating when you're ill and just want to see someone who might be able to help.

Hoping that posting a venty thread will change my luck when the next session opens at 2:30, I'll get an appointment then look a bit silly for ranting here grin

user1477282676 Thu 15-Dec-16 13:06:00

I think that a lot of people actually go and wait at the door OP. Then when the doors open, they are the first to be seen regarding making an appointment.

harderandharder2breathe Thu 15-Dec-16 13:11:54

Waiting at the door only works in places where the door opens the same time as the phone lines. My surgery opens the phones at 8am, doors don't open til 8.30 so often all the appointments have gone by then.

Good luck OP

missyB1 Thu 15-Dec-16 13:16:05

Go to the surgery. If they tell you all appointments are booked ask if you can be offered any cancellations that come up. Also see when is the next available appointment to book in advance (rather than on the day).

Mannerscostnothing84 Thu 15-Dec-16 13:16:56

My surgery is like this. I have tried for up to 2 weeks to get an appointment (call again in 3 days time when the GPs diary will open again..... all appointments gone by the time I get through. And repeat this numerous times)

I have learnt that kicking up a massive stink on the phone, explaining how long you've been trying to get an appointment for, etc etc. Unacceptable to keep calling at 8:00 and by 8:25 all appointments are gone, blah blah blah, they then manage to somehow find me a spot and squeeze me in!!

Boogers Thu 15-Dec-16 13:21:02

Is it something the nurse practitioner could deal with? When I worked as a GP receptionist the surgery was just like yours and by 8.10am there were no appointments left and all we could offer were telephone appointments or appointments with the nurse practitioner.

PJBanana Thu 15-Dec-16 13:21:41

I feel your pain OP (no pun intended)!

I was horrifically ill and off work for a 2 weeks at the start of the year. Tried for 3 days to get an appointment and that was with me and DP both calling every morning at 8.30 on the dot.

I could only get an appointment with my old GP too. I've moved 30 miles away but no GPs in my area are taking on new patients. It's a nightmare.

I saw a thread on here earlier about how timewasters are abusing A&E, but I have to admit I seriously considered going! I knew my illness wasn't that serious but I was desperate for some help at the time and we don't have a walk-in centre either.

Fingers crossed you get your appointment when you next give them a call!

slalomsuki Thu 15-Dec-16 13:24:48

I complained to my surgery in writing with proof that I had made 45 calls at 0800 one day and not been connected to the system to book an appointment but had been connected to say they were busy. I asked them if they were going to compensate me for the 44 failed calls that earned them money as they were on a0844 number at the time and cost me money. There response was shock and commented no one has ever had a problem except me! I know this is not true but they did change their booking system a short time later.

Now I have a note on my file indicating I can call at any time for an appointment and get one. I don't go often, maybe twice per year but when I do I need an appointment the same day.

wishparry Thu 15-Dec-16 13:27:19

I don't even try with my gp any more.I normally talk with the pharmacist.

drspouse Thu 15-Dec-16 13:33:53

Ours can usually offer you something on the day if it is a new/urgent problem (so not something that has been going on for weeks and is likely to continue).
However it may be a phone appointment or a nurse practitioner. If the NP cannot deal with the problem (and he/she can prescribe some things) then they can refer you to a GP the same day.

If it's a phone appointment e.g. for a referral (just had one to get a referral for DS for an old issue that has returned but that is intermittent so won't be assessable any more in an appointment than on the phone), or for something like continuation of the same medication, they can contact the hospital/pharmacist for you.

I'm surprised they don't offer you the option of that type of appointment.

Our surgery has also announced it's going to merge with I think two others, meaning that sometimes you might be offered an appointment at one of the others (all in the same town and two are within walking distance so that will be good).

Tobebythesea Thu 15-Dec-16 13:57:55

I've just been told my GP surgery has no appointments until January. Great.

PinkSwimGoggles Thu 15-Dec-16 13:59:50

yanbu
and at the same time people complain about a&e abuse.

..if that's the place to actually see a dr and get treatment, that's where people go!

LadyBaelish Thu 15-Dec-16 14:13:45

No pre-booking at our surgery so no chance of getting anything lined up in advance sad

In the past I've been offered the nurse practitioner when they've said they have no appointments but haven't had that this week so I assume she's busy too!

I agree that kicking up a stink on the phone does seem strangely effective but I always feel so awkward doing it! And at the moment I think it might trigger another 10-minute-long-cough-until-you-puke attack...

17 minutes til the next session opens, getting my telephone dialing finger ready grin

grafia123 Thu 15-Dec-16 14:14:22

It really shouldn't be that hard. Are all the surgeries in your area the same? Can you move to another surgery? I am so lucky that I can book online and there are usually appointments within a few days. I hope you are successful when you phone this afternoon. Good luck!

LadyBaelish Thu 15-Dec-16 14:15:31

slalom I might start to keep record of the calls then! Same as you, very rare I actually have to go...good thing really when it's this much hassle

LadyBaelish Thu 15-Dec-16 14:16:35

Thanks grafia. And yes, all the surgeries round here have a pretty terrible reputation. This one used to be one of the better ones but it's gone downhill in the last few years.

LadyBaelish Thu 15-Dec-16 14:40:21

33 calls to get through but...I have an appointment!

Sorry to hear your surgery has nothing available until January tobe, hope you're feeling better soon.

DeeNR Thu 22-Dec-16 15:34:24

It's like that at my GPs too. No appointments for a month for anything non urgent. I did shift one of the kids to another gp as they had a two and a half week wait. Has been utterly crap though. Never have hassle getting veterinary care for even the most minor thing for the dog

clairethewitch70 Thu 22-Dec-16 15:39:17

I have the most amazing GP ever. I see him every 2 weeks, for half an hour, and he makes another appointment whilst there on the computer without me even asking. He is keeping me out of hospital.

wasonthelist Thu 22-Dec-16 15:42:50

yy to moving surgeries - I did this - mine now has an online booking system. Not only can you book ahead online, but it tells you who the doctor is - and you can book the other stuff - blood tests etc. System sends me a text confirming and a reminder too.

expatinscotland Thu 22-Dec-16 15:54:08

I don't understand why people don't want to see the nurse practitioner. If you're that sick, you'll see anyone. The NP can get you to the GP asap if it's necessary. I don't ring my surgery unless I'm really ill or one of the kids is. If they offer a trained monkey, I'll take it. If they can't treat you, they will get you to the see someone who can right away.

PacificDogwod Thu 22-Dec-16 15:58:42

I would highly recommend that you write to your local health board/MP/Councillor/paper/anybody else you can think of that you are unhappy with the service provided and that you would like Primary Care to receive more than 9% of the NHS budget for 90% of all patient contacts.

I am sorry it is so difficult to get seen.
I fear it will get worse. And I am not sure it will ever get better sad

scaryteacher Thu 22-Dec-16 17:15:21

It's interesting that I can book an appointment with my GP online, at a time of my choosing, and get an email to remind me. No receptionists, no practice nurse, GP does the smears, bloods etc. Admittedly, I live in Belgium, but the GP practices here are subsidised by the govt. Yes, I have to pay, but that is mostly paid back by the mutuelle, or private insurance.

There must be a better way to sort this in the UK.

Andro Thu 22-Dec-16 17:34:42

I don't understand why people don't want to see the nurse practitioner.

Two main reasons:
I have a history of allergies which makes prescribing anything a pain, the nurse practitioner has been very clear that she isn't comfortable dealing with it (at least she was honest).

The major reason I usually need to see the GP is because I've had to use my epipen, the nurse practitioner can't deal with it.

cx5221 Thu 22-Dec-16 17:40:03

I had this problem yesterday I really needed my antibiotics extended but couldn't get in at all.
I used 'push doctor' and had a video conference with a private GP within about 30minutes and she prescribed me the antibiotics I needed. It was £11.50 for the consultation and prescription then just the cost of the prescription when I picked it up. Definitely better than spending 30minutes on the phone or two hours in a walk in clinic.

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