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AIBU to wonder why it has become so impossible to get a Doctor's appointment?

(194 Posts)
Bluebananas01 Sat 20-Apr-19 06:06:20

I remember when I was a child in the 80's, if you were ill you could always get to see the Doctor the same day. I even remember the Doctor doing a home visit when I had the measles. I called up this week to try and get a Doctor appointment and it is a three-week wait (South East).
Everybody seems to talk about there being no Doctors appointments but what is the real reason? Is it just down to underfunding? Are people not turning up for appointments? A sicker population?

Even when I get to see a Doctor it is as if they are trying to get me out of the surgery asap and heaven forbid if you need a referral. Two years ago I went to the Doctors with joint pain, shooting pains, weight gain etc. I told him that autoimmune disease runs in my family and it felt AI as it came in waves (like flare-ups). He pretty much told me I was a hypochondriac. Asked if I exercise (because of the weight gain) and when I told him 6 days a week he told me to take up yoga and sent me packing.

Fast forward to this year when I was going overseas with my husband to his place of birth where it is super cheap to see consultants and have blood tests done. My symptoms had been progressing so I have blood tests etc and saw a Doctor there and discovered that it wasn't all my mind as suggested by the Doctor and that I actually had:-

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (Autoimmune underactive thyroid)
Pernicious Anaemia
Severe Vitamin D deficiency.

How the hell did my Doctor miss so many warning flags about my health? I only ever go to the Doctors for smears and pregnancy so hardly one to visit the Doctor for the slightest sniffle.

It makes me wonder how many other people are being fobbed off and are living with a poor quality of life because their Doctor just can't be bothered to give a proper consultation.

jemihap Sat 20-Apr-19 06:17:21

Just like every other social and economic problem in the UK it can be attributed to one overriding issue...

Too many people.

Peridot1 Sat 20-Apr-19 06:19:47

I think it depends on where you are. I never have a problem seeing a GP. Live in South West. Same or next day appointments usually available.

And like everything there are good and bad GPs.

malificent7 Sat 20-Apr-19 06:22:30

Yanbu....long waits for appointments are the norm.
I have been fobbed off by some gps and others have been excellent.
Too many people is to blame. Aging population etc.

LonelyTiredandLow Sat 20-Apr-19 06:22:54

People insist on voting Tory and thus for austerity.
If you vote for cuts, they will happen.

WellErrr Sat 20-Apr-19 06:26:18

Underfunding and too many people.

However, this won’t help -

How the hell did my Doctor miss so many warning flags about my health? I only ever go to the Doctors for smears and pregnancy

They’re not mind readers, and they do see multiple malingerers/worried well every day. If you don’t go to them, they can’t know.

KipperTheFrog Sat 20-Apr-19 06:27:13

Larger population than in the 80’s plus fewer doctors means a supply and demand mismatch. It’s a problem in many areas.
Being fobbed off just means that particular dr isn’t very good at his job!

birdywird Sat 20-Apr-19 06:29:44

Lots of GPs retiring and not enough people entering the professions. Not sure why - I know plenty of people desperate to do medicine degrees but don't get a place. Presumably more funding needed - ditto nursing.

user1480880826 Sat 20-Apr-19 06:29:53

There have been massive cuts to healthcare over recent years and GPs are leaving the profession in droves.

It is not a problem of population size, as pp suggests. Most of our population are of working age and pay their taxes. The problem is, we have a government who has failed to increase spending on health and social care. We have had a real terms decrease in spending.

However, we do have a growing elderly population who have very complex needs and put a massive amount of pressure on our health and social care services. Again, the government is not responding to this with increased spending.

Oh, and we have a mental health crisis and the government has slashed mental health provision which means additional burden for our already stretched GP practices (and hospital and police forces).

It’s a perfect storm of Tory cuts. But anyone with right leaning political tendencies will tell you it’s all of the foreigners coming over here and using our NHS for free. It’s clearly not this though and the figures back that up. The daily mail loves to talk about health tourists but in the scheme of things they make zero difference to you and I and ability to get a GP appointment.

We need more government spending and more GPs.

bellajay Sat 20-Apr-19 06:33:15

Increasing population
Aging population
Increase in long term health issues (and associated complications) such as diabetes
Shortfall in number of GPs training

Jasmineallenestate Sat 20-Apr-19 06:33:57

The referral thing is ridiculous. GPs even hsve to refer for a private appointment. Funny how, growing up under Thatcher, we had access to basic, third world provision.

I don't think it is cuts. I think it is culture, GPs feel like tg6ey are saints because of the job they do (which isnt special elsewhere and in India your parents would ask why you can't make it to surgeon). It is a job, medium in context with lawyers etc but in the UK, you hang on their every word and get fobbed off with a nurse more often than not. Its really sad.

Bluebananas01 Sat 20-Apr-19 06:34:13

Wellerr I get what you are saying with this

They’re not mind readers, and they do see multiple malingerers/worried well every day. If you don’t go to them, they can’t know.

however I went into great detail about my symptoms even asking whether it could be something like Fibromyalgia and he replied ' Never heard of it'. I really laid my symptoms out on the table and was sent away feeling like a silly middle age woman. How more specific does a person need to be? I told him about weight gain, fatigue, joint and nerve pain, dry skin etc. Seriously, at the very least he should have sent me off for a blood test not tell me to take up Yoga. (not dissing Yoga, I like Yoga, but seriously)

Raisinbrain Sat 20-Apr-19 06:36:28

There aren't enough GPs and more and more are leaving the profession because their working conditions are getting worse and worse.

coolwalking Sat 20-Apr-19 06:39:32

10 million more people since 1980

Without cuts we wouldn't have any NHS left.

balloonyellow Sat 20-Apr-19 06:40:54

It’s horrendous & hospital appointments aren’t much better! I got given a form for reception up at the hospital the other day to book in a surgery. I stood at the desk for 5 minutes only to be told they had no appointments and would send me a letter! It’s an operation to remove a mole that is slowly turning and displaying symptoms of melanoma. It’s directly on a lymph node too. What if it decides to turn in the 1 or 2 months I’m waiting for my surgery? It’s all a mess and I don’t think the NHS will be safe from privatisation for much longer

LonelyTiredandLow Sat 20-Apr-19 06:44:37

GP friends of mine don't enjoy their job any more - it is a funding issue and not population growth.

If you insist on reading tabloids about how necessary austerity is you've been hoodwinked. 6th richest nation in the world able to spend 600mil per week on Brexit whilst loosing trillions of investment overseas, yet they can't front up for social care? You must be joking.

coolwalking Sat 20-Apr-19 06:45:08

In addition to the 10 million extra people add to that an obesity crisis through people eating absolute shite then expecting a doctor to help them with all the extra medical problems they have. Type 2 diabetes for example

balloonyellow Sat 20-Apr-19 06:45:10

Obviously we don’t have the resources, but I think it would take a lot of weight off the NHS if there were seperate doctors/hospitals that would care for the elderly in peace. It would be great for them too, away from the bustle of A&E and all the extra germs. Maybe partnered with care homes or something. It would do wonders for GPs and Hospitals

avocadochocolate Sat 20-Apr-19 06:49:34

And 3 weeks wait isn't that bad these days, OP. I waited 5 weeks. Didn't realise I had a serious problem, so didn't ask for an emergency appointment. My recovery was seriously delayed due to the long delay in diagnosis and treatment.

balloonyellow Sat 20-Apr-19 06:50:13

I’m sorry you when through that OP! It’s awful to be fobbed off and this resonates with me so much. As a woman, I’ve only ever had male GPs and oh my goodness they don’t listen to a word I say. I have asthma, my DM smoked heavily around me from birth and I’ve now been exposed to severe damp & mould for years. I had been given an inhaler and referred for an asthma assessment years ago but they never called me. My new GP laughed at me and said I was overeacting. When I mentioned the mould he went on a rant saying it’s easy I can just move as it’s private rent. Made it seem like everyone’s got £1000+ to move. You’re a doctor not a support worker! Ugh I’m never going back there

adaline Sat 20-Apr-19 06:52:23

After one GP fobbed you off, did you not think to try and see another?

Same day appointments are always available here so it really depends on your location.

Didiplanthis Sat 20-Apr-19 06:52:29

JasminAllen - I don't know at GPs that think they are saints. You read too much GP bashing shit.. as to you not thinking it's due to cuts - why do you think you are 'fobbed off' with a nurse ???? Because did to cuts there is no money for doctors and no bugger wants to do it anyway because the job is truly awful now...

Bluebananas01 Sat 20-Apr-19 06:58:40

Balloonyellow - I'm so sorry you've experienced that too. I honestly felt that if I was a man with the same symptoms I would have been listened to but was treated like a pre-menopausal pain in the arse. It really made me question myself and whether it was all in my mind which is why it took me so long to get checked out overseas. My Vitamin B12 levels were so low that I had developed Macrocytic anaemia, the Doctor overseas suggested that it takes around 3 years off low B12 for it to become Macrocytic so it was clearly one of the reasons for my symptoms when I saw my UK Doctor. One thing that made me want to cry was how I was listened to and treated with absolute kindness by the Overseas Doctor. Something that I've never received from my UK Doctor.
Mind you I don't know why I expected anything more from my Doctor. 12 years ago I went to the Doctors with menstrual problems and he tried to prescribe me with Laxatives when I'd never mentioned bowel issues (it turned out to be a grapefruit size ovarian cyst, fibroids and Endo which resulted in surgery and eventual IVF- but it took being seen privately to find this out)

mellongoose Sat 20-Apr-19 06:59:15

It's easy to blame cuts but there is investment going in. I'm no expert so this might be peanuts in the grand scheme of things. Looks like a fair wack to me!
https://www.england.nhs.uk/gp/gpfv/investment/

newhousestress Sat 20-Apr-19 07:03:07

Your experience may have been unsatisfactory. Surveys repeatedly show ~90% satisfaction with the NHS and GP services however. One million people see their GP every day. I doubt they're all being failed.

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