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... to ask what the system at your GP practice is for appointments?

(84 Posts)
nomorespaghetti Mon 12-Feb-18 19:53:07

I've seen a few thread on here along the lines for "should I make an emergency or routine GP appointment for this", and it made me wonder what the system is for getting GP appointments where others live.

My GP surgery has a fantastic system. Between 8 & 9:30 they have a telephone triage system, where you call up and leave a message with a receptionist or voicemail asking for a call back. A GP or nurse practitioner (presumably one is assigned each day to deal with the phone calls) phones you back and you can discuss the problem. Outcomes are that you're invited in for an appointment that day, or you're dealt with on the phone (a prescription issued/referral made), or you're politely told to call back if problem persists, but they don't need to see you.

Me and my family have had same day appointments for things like suspected infections (ear, chest, uti, etc), acute stress, suspected sprains (turned out to be broken shock).

We've had prescriptions issued for things like eczema. When I found out I was pregnant I was referred to the maternity hospital after a phone consultation. It's great not having to actually go in when it's something straightforward.

I think this system must keep a fair amount of people out of the surgery, freeing up doctors time for more urgent appointments, but allowing everyone to speak with a healthcare professional. If you miss the triage hours they will generally arrange a call back if possible.

Routine appointments take several weeks, for general things like smear tests, vaccinations, etc.

I think this is a brilliant system. So, being nosey, what's it like where you are?

TinaMena Mon 12-Feb-18 19:57:03

Having to ring up during a 90 minute window seems a bit daft. A lot of people wl be busy at that time, and a ring-back might not be appropriate as you could be sat on a bus or at work where everyone can overhear the conversation. We just ring up at any time. A same day appointment is usually available.

nomorespaghetti Mon 12-Feb-18 19:58:27

Fair point tina, when i was arranging maternity referral i was in aldi, so everyone in the bread aisle also found out i was pregnant grin

PutTheBunnyBackInTheBox Mon 12-Feb-18 19:58:36

You have to ring reception (before 3) and tell them what's wrong. The GP rings you back and decides if you need an appointment. If you do you get it the same day.

BumpowderSneezeonAndSnot Mon 12-Feb-18 20:00:33

Ring at 7 for a triage call or book online up to 2 weeks in advance

nomorespaghetti Mon 12-Feb-18 20:03:29

Seems a lot of places similar then, the surgery i was at a couple of years ago, if you wanted same day appt you had to call exactly at 8:30 (and actually get through) or queue at the door, and when those appointments were gone they were gone

MayhemandMadness01 Mon 12-Feb-18 20:03:49

X amount of pre-bookable appts and X amount of appts released at 8am for the first come, first to get passed the receptionist basis. Having tried 84 times this morning to ring between 8am and 8.50am only to be told that all appts are gone, I dont think its working!

LemonShark Mon 12-Feb-18 20:04:22

Ours is shit. Most of the time if you log on to the online system there are NO appointments available to book in the future. Sometimes you strike lucky. No rhyme or reason to when they're released. They're always four or five weeks ahead.

The surgery via phone or in person won't make future appointments. You can only ring at 8am to book an appointment that day. If you redial nonstop between 759 and 8 even once you get through after the answerphone 'we are closed' has been switched off a few seconds before you're seventh in the queue. By 815 they're all gone.

However, my GP is cool letting me have my meds on repeat where my last surgery wasn't (they're very strong opiates the last clinic wouldn't put on repeat) so I don't need an appointment monthly like I used to.

It sucks though. I'd happily book one in six weeks if I just bloody could! To get one that day it's a gamble. They may not have one but you have to take the day off anyway as you don't know what time it'll be if you get one.

ljlkk Mon 12-Feb-18 20:05:41

I dunno coz I rarely ask & it seems to change over time.

Last time I rang, I think you could get same-day appts only on a Monday. Could not get a guaranteed appt with a female GP for love or money. But COULD book appts in advance, otherwise. DD had to go to 3 pharmacies for the prescription. Just checking.. there is an online booking system, but I don't know how to get a login.

Exiguous Mon 12-Feb-18 20:06:44

Call the surgery when you feel you need an appointment - get one either for that day or the day you request.

I'm not in the UK though.

MincemeatTart Mon 12-Feb-18 20:07:06

We have online booking for routine appointments. If you want some advice but it’s not urgent there is an online consultation system where a GP will review and get back to you in appropriate way. I’ve bypassed GP and been referred directly to hospital for a hysteroscopy using this system - saves GP appointments and means I was sorted more quickly.
Then a phone triage system for urgent cases where you get a call back with advice, an appointment or a ‘ come now’ if deemed necessary.
You can also book telephone consultation.
They have a minor injury walk in service too so will see the cuts, bumps, burns etc no X-rays but can advise if necessary.
I usually see my own GP. She knows whole family and has seen the children grow up. I can see someone else if urgent but the receptionists try and get you to see your own GP.

EggysMom Mon 12-Feb-18 20:08:32

I can book an appointment anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks in advance via my surgery's online system. My own GP only ever has one appointment per day, it's not at a brilliant time; but when I asked if I was unlucky and missed other appointment times, he told me that he only offers the one appointment because nobody (except me!) ever uses the online system!

For our son, I do the 8:30 phone call to try and get an appointment that day. It's never one in the future for him, only ever emergency!

HobnobBob Mon 12-Feb-18 20:08:42

With ours I can ring and get a non urgent appointment for say, two weeks time. Or if I ring at 8am I can get an emergency appointment for that day. I have always managed to get the DC seen quickly. They are very efficient.

WhatToDoAboutThis2017 Mon 12-Feb-18 20:09:00

I love our GP’s system.

If you just need a normal appointment, you ring up anytime and can get one within three days.

If you need an emergency appointment, ring up at 8.30 and they’ll give you one that day (I’ve only ever used it when I’ve has infections).

Poshindevon Mon 12-Feb-18 20:09:21

We have a similar system at our medical centre. You can call at any time during the day and ask for a "call back". They also offer Patient Acess on line where you can book a call back at a time suitable for you. They offer late appointments
A doctor then calls you back and after that decides on the course of action. An appointment that day, prescriptions or referrals to other healthcare professionals.
It works really well and I am pleased they changed over to this system

WhatToDoAboutThis2017 Mon 12-Feb-18 20:10:50

I also wouldn’t want to waiting several weeks for a routine appointment shock I think that’s absolutely shocking, OP.

gamerchick Mon 12-Feb-18 20:10:55

Ring up, explain exactly what the problem is and get an appointment within 3-6 weeks.

DOTLEYtheONEeyedDINO Mon 12-Feb-18 20:11:02

You can phone at 8.30am and get a same day appointment (might be engaged for ages though). If you leave it til 9am they will have all gone. OR you can queue outside the doctors (people seem to get there from 8am for door opening at 8.30am) and get a same day appointment that way.

Or for other appointments (smear, non urgent, injections etc) you can book up to 3 weeks in advance.

It seems to work.

Floralnomad Mon 12-Feb-18 20:11:52

Ours is fabulous , turn up any weekday morning between 9-10:30 and you will be seen , you can request to see a certain GP if you want and once you’ve checked in , if there is a long queue you are welcome to go away and come back in an hour or whatever . If your problem isn’t urgent you can book an appt for 2 weeks ahead .

FittonTower Mon 12-Feb-18 20:13:55

Monday and Friday morning they have a walk in. So long as you're there before 10ish you get seen. Other than that you can ring and book appointments in advance with doctor or nurse and if you have an emergency on a non walk in day then they'll usually get a doctor to call you and squeeze you in if she thinks you need seeing.
My doctors is ace

peanutbutter310 Mon 12-Feb-18 20:16:24

We have a similar telephone triage system.

I find it really good for getting urgent same day treatment. It's unlikely that if you need an appointment so urgently that you'd be out and about that day.

Less good for referrals and simple prescriptions as the doctor phones back at their convenience and it isn't always appropriate to have the conversation with them - like when I was trying to keep my pregnancy secret from colleagues in an open plan office!

Telephone appointments slots for those things would be great, as you could make sure you were somewhere suitable to talk without having to physically go in, but I imagine that it would lead to a lot more wasted GP time, which obviously isn't a good outcome for anyone.

Merryoldgoat Mon 12-Feb-18 20:16:57

Very similar to yours except you call anytime to go on the triage list and the doctor will call back.

Can book online too (and order repeat prescriptions online) and depending on how busy they are I’ve been able to book from the next day or so. Sometimes it’s a bit longer but they’ll always see you same day if necessary.

My surgery is wonderful. All of the doctors are kind, patient and thorough.

nomorespaghetti Mon 12-Feb-18 20:17:26

2017 the only routine appointments I've ever booked were for smears and vaccinations, which i don't mind waiting for tbh. Literally everything else has been dealt with through the telephone triage system. At previous practices i may have booked a routine appointment for, for example, persistent eczema, because that's not an emergency, so wouldn't have got an emergency appointment for it, but at current practice that would be dealt with same day. So i think this system makes routine appointment waits less of an issue, if you see what i mean.

virtualreality Mon 12-Feb-18 20:17:42

Not in UK. Have to pay 50 quid per appt. and pay in full for scripts.

Walk in service all day from 10am to 5pm. Appointment only 8-10am and 5-8pm.

We have internet (skype/facetime) consultations also if you are a patient of the GP. Useful for quick reassurance and a repeat of scripts. Costs half the full price. That is amazing!

dowhatyoufeelnow Mon 12-Feb-18 20:17:42

Takes around 30 tries to get through to doctors between 8.30-9am for an emergency appointment or call that day for an appointment for 2-3 weeks time.

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