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Getting 'emergency' GP appts

(63 Posts)
FiloPony Tue 17-Jan-17 14:10:36

I'm starting to seriously wonder what my GP practice thinks they are for as they are so hard to get, this time:

Can I have an appt today pls?
What's the EMERGENCY?
Well it's urgent, dd baby has obvious tonsillitis and fever, I can't wait 1-2 weeks
How do you know?
White throat, fever....
White mouth, that's thrush
No.... it's not her tongue. It's her tonsils
Well... humph... come 5min before closing

Then stroppy GP starts, what's the EMERGENCY??? And patronises will a check and slightly snide comments until realising she needs Antibiotics. It was seriously painful to sit through and if she was my first I wouldn't have the balls to persist.

Last time other dd was very unwell and had to go on to hospital and time before that was related to multiple febrile seizures..: I've never time wasted there!

So what on earth are these appts for? When does the receptionist not try and back you down? Surely for an emergency you'd go to A&E?

I've ending up in out of hours twice for children after refusal to see (one resulting in a preventable hospital admission).

FiloPony Tue 17-Jan-17 14:11:09

(That was for cellulitis following chicken pox)

Trifleorbust Tue 17-Jan-17 14:12:31

You could ask: "Are you recommending A&E or are you suggesting she doesn't need immediate medical attention?" I bet the receptionist will stop dicking about and just tell you to bring a baby in.

Dontneedausername Tue 17-Jan-17 14:12:51

Never had any issues with my practice, even if it's not an "emergency" but I know my child can't wait a week or so the receptionist will always listen and get us in to the practice nurse, or a doctor call back.

But after reading so many negatives about practices, I realise mine is in the minority!

DontTouchTheMoustache Tue 17-Jan-17 14:14:04

It's weird cos I was expecting a fight when I called last week for one for an asthma attack but reception didn't even ask. Varies so much.
I totally understand why they do it but I think in your case when a baby is involved they should be a bit more helpful. (Although saying that I bet they get tonnes of people trying to get emergency appointments for nothing more than the sniffles). It's frustrating but you can see why it happens.

FiloPony Tue 17-Jan-17 14:15:42

Mine used to be great, I'm wondering if it's the newer receptionists that are the isssue plus the locums.

I have asked the A&E question, they are hard "well obviously if you think she needs it go there"

It's this gap where no a child isn't seriously seriously unwell, but has potential to be

alwaysthepessimist Tue 17-Jan-17 14:17:47

seriously?! your receptionist asks what the problem is and you discuss it with them? They aren't medically qualified and it is nothing to do with them. I ring our practice (a large practice too) and say 'can I have an appointment for my 4 year old today please, they then say, she has to be triaged, my response is no she doesn't she is 4 and as her mother she needs an appointment, what time is available, I always get one and before I get a thrashing we hardly ever go, I only take her if it is really necessary. I hate this 'it has to be an emergency' business. I need to see my GP but the first available appointment is in's awful we have to wait that long but that's the NHS situation. I try not to burden them or take unnecessary appointments, if I can I will ask for a telephone consultation but sometimes I just NEED to be seen. And yes some of the GP's are dreadfully patronising at times and I can see how younger less confident people get scared away

Ilovecaindingle Tue 17-Jan-17 14:18:53

Just had the exact same conversation!! Ds had a chest infection in November- First time he has has even a sniffle - been very fortunate! - had antibiotics from gp . Come 23 Rd Dec he was unwell again - rang 8 am as per the 'rules' sorry no aps til Jan 3rd!! Went to out of hours to find its a virus - no meds, fair enough. Still ill this week and this morning actually asked to go to see the Dr! At 10am no aps left so dh has been sat in out of hours since then!! Who does get all the appointments? And how are the rules not applicable over holidays? Do you need book one incase you are ill as sure as feck can't get one otherwise!!
Seems like a scam to me. GPs get paid whether they actually see you during the year or not - then send you to use resources at out of hours aswell!!
Do elves /pixies /fairies get the aps as I can see my surgery from the corner of my street and it never looks like rush hour passing to the entrance!!

BillSykesDog Tue 17-Jan-17 14:21:57

They do have to ask and assess because people do take the piss.

Kim82 Tue 17-Jan-17 14:24:56

I'm a gp receptionist and we have been given a list from the GPs as to what constitutes a same day appt. they are:

Child under 5
COPD or asthma patient with chest infection
Diabetic with an open sore
Suspicious moles
Depression/rapid decline in mental health

Suspected UTIs don't need an appt, we just ask them to bring in a sample to be dipped (one set at end of morning surgery, one at end of evening surgery) and if positive the doctor will issue antibiotics without being seen.

Any other issue (if I've not forgotten anything major) where the patient doesn't want to wait for the next routine appt gets put on a list where the doctor will triage symptoms and either get them booked in that day, within the next few days if necessary or we're told it's just a routine and they need to wait. We have absolutely no say in what appts are given from this list, it is down to the gp but people think we have appts and can give them if we want to. Much as I would love to give appts to whoever requests them (it would make my life much easier) I am not allowed to give the appts out or go against what the gp has said.

Having said all that, you'd have been given a same day appt where I work so I've no idea why they were nasty with you, they don't sound very nice!

Trifleorbust Tue 17-Jan-17 14:28:22

I have asked the A&E question, they are hard "well obviously if you think she needs it go there

Reply: "I believe she needs to see a doctor today so it is you or A&E. Are you refusing to see her?"

SparkleShinyGlitter Tue 17-Jan-17 14:30:33

I refuse to discuss symptoms with a receptionist, they aren't doctors and certainly shouldn't be telling you on the phone your DD has thrush- As far as I know a receptionist is qualified to diagnose!

My doctors you can 8/10 times get an on the day appointment. It's pre booking that you can't be as they only pre book a really small number of appointments

FiloPony Tue 17-Jan-17 14:33:05

On that list ds wouldn't have been seen with a cut, red hot finger with lines starting to track out of it kim82???

zoemaguire Tue 17-Jan-17 14:35:08

At my GP surgery (which is brilliant) the vast majority of appointments are only bookable on the day and not in advance. Which is clearly a pain in that if you don't ring on the dot of 8.30 (and even then!) you won't get one that day, but at least it does mean that you know you won't go without care when you need it urgently. That seems self-evidently the right order of priorities - I don't understand practices that prioritise routine appointments at the risk of urgent cases going without medical assistance.

Kim82 Tue 17-Jan-17 14:36:58

I wouldn't have been able to book a same day and would have put him on the list. He'd most likely still have been given a same day appt by the gp as they don't like to leave children but they have the cut off for us giving appts as age 5 and under. As it was red hot etc they'd have guessed it was infected and get him in to be seen that day. They squeeze that sort of thing in even if there are no appts left.

DesignedForLife Tue 17-Jan-17 14:39:16

Our receptionists on the whole are pretty good, and can usually fit true urgent appointments in. I don't mind being triaged by them, they've sent me to practice nurses before, which is much preferable as they will see you straight away and we can be in and out in 10 minutes most of the time. Not so with duty doctors!

PurpleMinionMummy Tue 17-Jan-17 14:42:09

I once made the point that if it was an actual emergency it's unlikely I'd be ringing for a GP appt ....that went down like a lead balloon....

DesignedForLife Tue 17-Jan-17 14:42:34

Should say at my surgery it's near impossible to book an appointment in advance which is a pain.

GloGirl Tue 17-Jan-17 14:42:55

My father in law booked an online appointment for a GP next day. Receptionist called next morning and had a 20 minute conversation with him and booked him down to see nurse 4 days later.

It wasn't rib pain which is how he described it to her. 2 days later he had a heart attack, lost 30% function of his heart and missed opportunities for stents and all sorts.

It's her fault. If she happens to read this a 60 year old man on phone clutching his chest is what I could see. You heard "I might have cracked a rib"

You're not fucking qualified and you can fuck off.

Cheby Tue 17-Jan-17 14:44:01

Kim82 that sounds like a really sensible way forward. The list does sound a bit odd but I'm not a GP and presumably they are prioritising on what their local footfall tends to be.

It doesn't matter though because everyone would speak to a GP to be triaged properly and receive medical advice. So if you do need it be seen same day you would be.

missmeg3leg Tue 17-Jan-17 14:49:43

My gp practice has just stunned me!...need to make a non-urgent appt for next week...rang GPs 10 mins ago & said not a problem...appt at 15:30 today....not always like that though so maybe was a cancellation slot?

chipsandchilli Tue 17-Jan-17 14:51:38

My surgery has extended opening hours to 8pm, twice this month have had to go to the walk in centre, very rare we go to the doc's or hospital but have just been unlucky. One of the walk in centres i didn't even know was there. You present yourself at reception and they give you an appointment, i went in 11.50am was gven a 1pm appointment and was seen at 1.08pm. Talking to people no one even know's this centre exists. On Friday i had to go to a&e at 11.50pm after DC fell down the stairs, i was dreading it, walked in and it was deserted, this one is usually packed with 6-7hr waiting time's. A few of the local surgeries have extended opening time's to work much later and open on a weekend so i think this must be having a knock on effect and is freeing up a&e. Today i have been told i am now registered at the virtual clinic for DCs follow ups, wont have to attend hosptal but they have linked SOS appointments to her name so if i do have to go back she won't have to wait. I think its great now. Last time i used A&E was 3 years ago and it was a nightmare.

Olympiathequeen Tue 17-Jan-17 14:52:12

YANBU. That is disgraceful

Megatherium Tue 17-Jan-17 14:52:35

If a receptionist started diagnosing my child over the phone I would ask precisely what her medical qualification was.

RhodaBull Tue 17-Jan-17 14:54:38

It is very difficult because so many people do take the piss.

I was at the doctor's (with a genuine complaint!) and the doctor had a stinking cold. He said he'd nearly lost the plot when two people that morning had presented as emergencies with head colds. I was also in the waiting room and at the desk someone came in - saying it was urgent - and proceeded to say that they were trying a new cholesterol-lowering diet they'd read about and needed to discuss it straightaway with the doctor.

Mil loved going to the doctor. Had she been up to using a computer she would have booked every single online appointment there was (apart from Thursdays when she went to the hairdresser's).

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