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Doctor's appointment rant

(36 Posts)
yellocain Mon 20-Feb-17 12:33:42

Hi, I am new to these wall so I hope I have posted this in the right place. Please forgive me if I have not.

Anyway, I have just come off the phone from trying to book an appointment to see my doctor. Now, I am not the kind of person who visits the doctor on a regular basis and can count on one hand how many times I have seen the doctor in the last 5 years. I only tend to make an appointment if I am worried about something.
So here is my gripe.
I live in Creigiau and wanted to book an appointment to see any doctor as I am worried about a chest discomfort which is affecting the way that I breath. It is as almost as if my heart is stopping momentarily lol. I know it isn't but that is only way as I can describe it.
So.. I call and speak to the formidable policing dept, (reception) to arrange to see the doctor and informed her of my concerns.
"The 20th March is the earliest any doctor can see you" was her reply.
Unless I am mistaken, Creigiau is not a huge place but it must be the only doctors surgery for miles around!!! Four or Five doctors fully booked up with appointments for a whole month in a village!! Am I missing something here!! The times I do go to the doctors, I am only in there for 5 or 6 mins max! I spend more time in the waiting room!! So if the average appointment last for 15 mins, that's four an hour. That's 28 in a 7 hour day! For a surgery of 4 or 5 doctors, that's over a 100 patients a day, 500 a week!! I know it's not a true estimate but you can see where I am coming from. How can I not get an appointment within a month!!
I just simply fail to see how this is the case. I know doctors are extremely busy but..... I could be dead in a month!!! smile))

ScarletSienna Mon 20-Feb-17 12:36:31

That does seem a long way off! Here (medium sized town) if you call by 8:30 and don't mind seeing any doctor, you get an appt that day. Roughly up to two weeks to see a specific senior doctor in the practice though.

Crumbs1 Mon 20-Feb-17 12:40:02

You are assuming GPs do nothing but appointments and this really isn't the case.
Could you not do telephone consult/online consult or see a nurse practitioner?

Crumbs1 Mon 20-Feb-17 12:40:53

If you think you have something that may kill you within a month make an emergency appointment.

Quietlydemented Mon 20-Feb-17 12:41:29

Do you have a sizeable elderly population? If so that is the cause of them being fully booked. Also it's 10 min appointments excluding letters and results stuff that needs doing and home visits. Add in annual leave etc you get the picture. They should be able to advise you on how to obtain same day appointments though if it's urgent?

yellocain Mon 20-Feb-17 12:43:42

I agree ScarletSienna. Two weeks is okay for a general appointment anywhere! .... and if you can get in the same day, even better!!

yellocain Mon 20-Feb-17 12:49:32

LOL Crumbs1, I am not a doctor and therefore unaware what condition I have and/or if it is life threatening. How am I to know if it is an emergency? Surely that what a doctor is supposed to evaluate. If it was an emergency and I was made fully aware that it was, then I would be visiting A&E and I am sure that is where the doctor would tell me to go if it was.

I also have to book an appointment to speak with the doctor. This also has a 2 week waiting list.

I know that doctors don't just sit at their desks waiting for the next patient to come through the door but 2 months! Surely that is not acceptable and I can;t believe that it is!..

yellocain Mon 20-Feb-17 12:55:36

Hi Quietlydetermined. smile
I was being a little facetious but I was also trying to make a point. It really is a smallish village of about 1000 houses and I would guess that it is about a 50/50 split between elderly and not so elderly.. If we say that 10% of that figure are unwell (which I believe is quite a high figure) then that would be approximately 200 to 300 people. Surely if a doctor sees just 10 patient a day, in a surgery of 4 to 5 practicing doctors, they can get through that in a week.
Maybe I am just being unreasonable but i truly fail to see how 1 month for an appointment is acceptable..

Quietlydemented Mon 20-Feb-17 12:58:17

Depends how well the elderly are!
I agree its not acceptable but this is the state the nhs is in at present sadly . Unless people start making a massive fuss this is going to get worse sadly and very quickly.

yellocain Mon 20-Feb-17 13:09:53

Quietlydemented
I completely agree. We as a nation simply take things in their strides and don't complain enough.
This would not be acceptable anywhere else in europe. In fact a friend of mine in Germany had a doctor call out to her on the same day with nothing more than flu symptoms.

yellocain Mon 20-Feb-17 13:11:14

Thank you all for pacifying me in my rant but some days you just have to let it out and have a moan to someone. smile

gamerchick Mon 20-Feb-17 13:13:42

3-6 weeks here to see a gp. I wouldn't worry, there will probably be a system where you get the choice to pay to be seen quicker soon enough.

yellocain Mon 20-Feb-17 13:18:57

I have no problems with that as long as i can use my tesco clubcard. True words spoken in jest. smile

gamerchick Mon 20-Feb-17 13:36:36

That's probably the plan. People will not mind having to pay as long as they get seen quicker and we're another step closer to a totally privatised NHS.

PlymouthMaid1 Mon 20-Feb-17 13:47:52

I had a similar problem - like the OP I have been to the docs about 5 times in 10 years including smears etc. Tried to get an appointment as worried about weird leg pain (possible thrombosis??) - tried to call 8am - 8.30 and constantly engaged. Stopped at surgery on way to work to be told they cant make an appointment in person - you have to phone in. Explained that i had been trying and now had to go to work - the response from hatchet face was 'well if you are well enough to go to work you don't need an appointment!' It is a ridiculous system and seems to really penalise those of us who are not doctor regulars and perhaps make appointments on some kind of rolling basis. I did get a phone consultation in the end but even that was tricky as i cant have my phone at work but luckily the doctor was more halpful than hatchet face and called in my lunch break.

yellocain Mon 20-Feb-17 14:12:16

Lol plymouthmaid. Hatchet face about sums it up methinks. I bet the doctors don't even know how long patients have to wait! They are like the Gestapo, very controlling. I can't believe she said that if you were well enough to go to work that you didn't need an appointment! Damn! Makes me mad as hell!

ThePurpleOneWithTheNut Mon 20-Feb-17 14:22:42

Why do you think doctors don't know how long their waiting lists are? They absolutely do.

And 'hatchet faced gestapo receptionists' are merely following the rules that the doctors make and tell them to follow in order to book an appointment (they then also take the blame for it).

yellocain Mon 20-Feb-17 14:56:43

Hmmm.. I still believe that the doctors receptionist has way more power than they should be granted.
About a year ago, I went to see my doctor on an unplanned visit as my daughter came down from the shower with her back covered in a rash! It looked extremely violent and to be honest, frightened the life out of me.
I immediately put her in the car and drove the 3 minutes to the doctors surgery. There I met the receptionist and showed her my daughter's back and told her that I would like to see a doctor.
She kindly rang the doctor on the phone (Next door office) and I overheard both ends of the conversation. The doctor said that she would see my daughter but it would have to be quick! When the receptionist put the phone down, she told me that the doctor was busy making telephone calls and unable to see me!. I then went to the pharmacy and got advice there. Even the pharmacist was disgusted as it would have taken just a minute or 2 to look at her back and say that it was an allergy or something. Jesus! All she had to do was open the damn door!.
That is my reasoning for thinking that the doctors do not know half of what the receptionist do or get away with.. smile

ThePurpleOneWithTheNut Mon 20-Feb-17 18:54:56

Then complain to the practice manager. There are jobsworths in all areas of working life and they should be picked up on it of course if they are at fault.

Many receptionists tread a thin line trying to play by the ever changing rules the doctors, the NHS and various other parties insist they adhere to.

They take the rap for it from patients because everyone assumes they're on a power trip and make the rules up themselves on an ad hoc basis for the pleasure of doing so. But if they don't adhere to those rules they're in big trouble.

Labelling people with words like gestapo is deeply unpleasant.

Youwillnotseeme Mon 20-Feb-17 19:00:19

Chances are as you are rural that you are a satellite practice. Either you are the main one or there is a main one else where and you are a smaller one. So the 5 doctors work across 5 areas as it is not viable to work how they used to with 1 doctor per village.
So your practice gets 1 doctor half days for the 5 days.

Also they don't see 100 patients per day as they have house calls, letters, daily blood results to act on etc.

SomethingAboutNothing Mon 20-Feb-17 19:05:32

Well as one of those hatchet faced receptionists I assure you that in our surgery we do as the partners (the GPs) tell us, they are the ones that decide the booking process and they certainly do know how long patients have to wait for appointments. We just enforce the rules they set out and take all the abuse that comes back at us because of it, while patients are polite as anything to the doctors. And to the previous poster, quite frankly if you are genuinely concerned about a DVT then that should take priority over going to work, unfortunately doctors surgeries have to have a process in place to manage the booking of appointments. There is no one way that will please everybody, believe me they have tried!

SomethingAboutNothing Mon 20-Feb-17 19:15:23

Just to add, I really dislike the suggestion that we receptionists purposely don't give out appointments when they are available - why would we do that? Our job is to book them! One of the best feelings when I am at work is getting a call from someone who needs an appointment and having a slot I can put them in. Telling people there is a 2/3/4 week wait for an appointment is never fun sad

TroysMammy Mon 20-Feb-17 19:25:35

I'm a Receptionist too. If there is an appointment available you can have it. If there isn't then there isn't a lot I can do except maybe offer alternatives. There is absolutely no benefit to me to stop people from having appointments if they are available.

I love my job but once the morning slots have been taken I dread the appointment line ringing. I'm only allowed to book the amount of appointments the Doctor's agree to.

PlymouthMaid1 Mon 20-Feb-17 20:07:47

But I don't understand why in my case, for instance,I could not have been given a a slot on a different day rather than sarcy remarks. Of course I was going to work as I couldn't get an appointment that day and was walking wounded nor deaths door. This is why a and e fills up. How are you to get a slot if you can't get through on the phone and can't make an appt in person?

bigbluebus Mon 20-Feb-17 20:51:36

Your surgery is part of a group so those Doctors cover 3 surgeries not just the one at Creigiau. Is it possible to get an earlier appointment at one of the other surgeries? My GP surgery is part of a practice in another local town. We can get appointments at either surgery. Our practice website lists 10 GPs but most of them only work part time and there is only one duty Doctor and one other on duty at our surgery at any one time - in a village of over 2000

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