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Is this my GP surgery being ridiculous or are all of them operating this way?

(122 Posts)
bookstearocknroll Tue 27-Oct-20 14:08:24

I got a text to say I should go for my flu appointment at 10.15am last Saturday.

I drove to the doctors and found a queue snaking around the carpark with at least 40-50 people in it who, judging from the conversations around me, had all been given the same appointment time.

It was freezing, raining and there's no shelter or seating in the car park.

I'm disabled so can't stand for long and I imagine the entire queue was full of similarly vulnerable people, given it was for the flu jab. In the end, I had to give up and go home before I got anywhere near the front of the queue because I was so exhausted.

I'm incredibly frustrated as a result and wondering if this is standard protocol now or whether this is just my doctors' surgery making odd decisions. Due to a few issues recently, I'm already considering changing surgeries but wanted to see if I was being unreasonable to feel even more like I should, or whether this is another example of the new normal I should suck up and try to understand.

For further background on how they've been operating since covid broke out, they've had the waiting rooms closed since March and for ordinary appointments, you have to report to reception, which is now an office window facing the car park manned by just one person. Every time I've been since March (I'm disabled and have prem babies so have been a few times), I've turned up on time and been made to wait in the car park to be called in, no matter what the weather is. There are no seats or shelter and frequently a little crowd of patients, many probably quite vulnerable. Doctors frequently run late - I've been left to shiver outside the back door waiting to be let in for up to half an hour after my appointment time, even with baby in tow.

OP’s posts: |
10questions Tue 27-Oct-20 14:11:49

When I went for my flu jab yesterday there were people turning up at the surgery literally every 3 minutes. One man said his appointment was at 3.27pm. Everyone was in and out within a couple of minutes. I thought it worked quite efficiently. So no, not like your surgery and everyone was allowed in one at a time after a temperature check.

Scarby9 Tue 27-Oct-20 14:15:37

My parents were given appointment times of 4.05 and 4.10 and told they could not go in together (despite the fact that my dad is my mum's carer as she has dementia). They arrived together at 4pm, were taken in together and were out via the back door by 4.02pm. No-one else in sight before or after.

sadwithkiddies Tue 27-Oct-20 14:27:58

I had an appointment for my child flu jab...when I got there we were temp checked in the doorway then called in. No one else there.
BUT there were metal railings marking off a queuing area so I had thought I might end up in a line as we did in previous years.

Video appointments for everything else....and 6 months overdue for a smear test despite having changes on the last smear confused
I have seen patients waiting in their cars though so I think they are treating the carpark as a waiting room now....which is fine if you have a car to wait in!

Can you ring ahead OP and say you are disabled and need to sit inside please to wait your turn?

Choconuttolata Tue 27-Oct-20 14:30:58

DH says ours was like this when he went recently and he had a go at them for not providing a chair for an elderly woman in the queue who was waiting for over half an hour (they said she should have waited in the car, but not everyone has a car).

species5618 Tue 27-Oct-20 14:32:39

My flu shot invite appeared to be encouraging "drive-throughs" as there was plenty of instructions on how to proceed if arriving in a vehicle but no info for pedestrians.
I drove anyway as it was pouring with rain and was in and out (via a tent in car park) in less than 5 minutes with 4 cars ahead of me in the queue.

Frankley Tue 27-Oct-20 14:34:29

I had flu injection lately. Very efficiently done at my GPs surgery. Appointment time given to me, temperature taken as l walked in, a few other folks in socially distanced queue, all completed in about three or four minutes.

Toothsil Tue 27-Oct-20 14:34:52

My parents' neighbour had her flu jab at our GP surgery. She said they were taken through to another corridor in a group of 3, seated far apart, and once all 3 were done, the nurse went to check that nobody else had entered reception before letting them out one by one, and she'd apparently had a huge panic because someone was waiting to come into the reception area as she let them out. She'd sent him back to wait in his car. Ours won't accept anything being handed in at the moment, it has to be posted, and you have to shout to the receptionist behind the desk, from behind a barrier which is quite far from the desk. They're barely seeing anyone in person.

DaenarysStormborn Tue 27-Oct-20 14:35:51

My Go is also being ridiculous. No 'procedures' are being performed for sexual health/contraception at all - I want my implant to be taken out. I've been forwarded to a GP which is not my local who filled in a form with my details and then said someone would give me a ring 'sometime this week' to arrange an appointment. Crazy.

SqidgeBum Tue 27-Oct-20 14:36:13

With my flu jab it seemed like everyone had a 5 minute slot, there was no queue although it was busy with at least 4 rooms of nurses doing jabs. It was in one door, out the back, all done in about 2 minutes. Incredibly efficient. However, my GP had an advisory of no parking available as it only has a small carpark for 10 cars. It was recommended you drop off (on the main road through the village so not very easy to do) or walk.

They have opened up the waiting room in my gp to 4 standing places but only 5 mins before your appointment. It's that or stand out in the rain.

nevermorelenore Tue 27-Oct-20 14:36:51

Our one had two minute appointment windows and a one way system to get you through the surgery. Seemed to work well, although I was there early in the day so I suppose there was the potential for a bottleneck if there were any problems.

Nearby town did a flu jab clinic in a local fire station which seemed to work well.

BigBigPumpkin Tue 27-Oct-20 14:38:12

We have waiting rooms and no temperature checks at our surgery.

hopelessatthinkingupusernames Tue 27-Oct-20 14:42:26

I got an appointment letter for my toddler’s flu vaccine. Not a suitable time so rang up to be told I could change it to the day they are doing catch ups but can’t specify a time - would just have to go and wait. Really helpful for working parents!

ethelredonagoodday Tue 27-Oct-20 14:48:06

My parents had a similar situation to you op, but said despite the queue being long it moved really quickly snd they were soon sorted.

starfishmummy Tue 27-Oct-20 14:48:52

Adult DS and I have our flu jabs on friday. The surgery us locked up like fort knox with the shutters down. I go past often and see people standing on the pavement outside the staff door, presumably to be let in for a pre arranged appointment.

When I booked I said that ds and need to go together and I really hope they do let us as he has Learning disabilities - he needs me with him for his jab and theres no way he can be left alone outside in the street while I have mine.

Bargebill19 Tue 27-Oct-20 14:53:03

Op - do you go to my surgery?! Ours is exactly the same. I had a flu jab booked for Saturday- given the forecast I’ve cancelled. As for booking a meds review which only takes place over the phone sometime between 9 am and 6pm .....

mindutopia Tue 27-Oct-20 14:54:00

I would say this is pretty standard for flu jabs in normal times. Literally it's like a scrum at our GP, like 100 people trying to cram in to a 1 hour flu clinic. It's a nightmare.

But this year it wasn't like that at all. It seemed like they booked us in maybe 10 to a slot, but when I got there, there were like 6 people, all socially distanced. We quickly moved into the building, hand santiser, confirm identity, whisked in orderly queue into one of about 6 available rooms, didn't even sit down, jab and one way system out the door. In all, I'd say it took 2 minutes from queueing up to coming out the other side of the building into the car park. I hope they keep this system every year because it was so much better than the usual primal scramble for a jab.

laudete Tue 27-Oct-20 14:54:39

Child and I went for our flu jabs together, at a normal appointment with the nurse. No problems at my local GP surgery.

Disappointedkoala Tue 27-Oct-20 14:55:01

I was pretty impressed by our surgery - you had to go through the back into a one way system, temp checks at the door, straight into a room and then out a different way. I was 10 minutes late and they didn't say anything! Much better than midwife appointments there were it's obviously a massive inconvenience for the receptionist to even answer the buzzer.

Loveable1 Tue 27-Oct-20 14:57:25

Our doctors waiting room is closed. Everyone waits outside. Recently 2 of us had flu jab appointments which were 3 minutes apart so 4:03 and 4:06pm. We both entered as we are family they literally stabbed a needle in each persons arm and we were out the back door all within 1 minute of entering! I have spent longer in a McDonald’s drive thrugrin

OrtamLeevz Tue 27-Oct-20 14:58:53

My MIL had to do the same thing about a week ago, and she's a frail 95. DH took her and they got to the front of the queue, only to be told they'd run out.

toaskforthissooner Tue 27-Oct-20 14:59:17

Ours was done in school gym hall . 8000 people over 5 days or something . About 40 nurses . Hall was jam packed . No temperatures and very little social distancing .

Mummylin Tue 27-Oct-20 15:02:32

I was extremely impressed at my surgery, it was through the front door, walk through, had jab out the back door in literally just a couple of minutes. My time was 10.22am. And was told not to turn up early. Was a very good system.

AmyC40 Tue 27-Oct-20 15:02:34

We have been helping out at several GP surgeries - overseeing the flu clinics and helping with marshalling (this is a new thing in our area this year - asking members of the public to volunteer their time to help at the flu clinics).

Every surgery has staggered time slots for appointments, multiple nurses / practitioners on hand to give the jabs, one way system, volunteers on hand to reassure patients and have a bit of a chat (some of whom have only just been out for the first time since March) and where appropriate if a patient can't get into the building i.e. they are in the car and their carer has bought them or they can't wear a face mask then they are given their jab in the car park!

All very efficient and well organised.

AnnaMagnani Tue 27-Oct-20 15:02:42

No just yours.

I went for my flu jab and it was a military operation with us being herded in a one way system, volunteer in a hi-vis jacket sending you in to the next available room, barely time for your bum to hit the seat before you were jabbed and sent on your way.

Plus a Quality Street on the way out grin

There was no time for any sort of queue to build up, they are usually pretty fast but this was something else.

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