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What "Out of Hours" service does your GP provide?

(15 Posts)
vicdubya Sun 20-Mar-05 20:13:59

Phoned the Dr's surgery on Sat morning as ds (12 months) had a cold / hoarseness and had starting wheezing and seemed a bit short of breath, he was very miserable even on calpol he was just constantly crying.

Anyway in our area now to see a dr at the weekend we have to drive a 25 mile round trip (1/2 to 3/4 hour each way depending on traffic). Then have to wait an indefinite amount of time in walk-in centre.

In the typical way kids do, ds had perked up by the time we got there & his chest was clear so all OK.

Does anyone else think this unreasonable? How do you get there if you have no access to transport?!

I did not request a home visit as I thought ds was ok to travel in car but I certainly was not offered one or asked if I felt one was necessary.

My df was a GP and "in his day" he did all his on call and home visits were standard for anyone who rang, unless they were a real known timewaster. Children would always have been seen.

I am thinking of complaining but I don;t know, maybe this is normal now?

What's it like in your area?

ionesmum Sun 20-Mar-05 20:22:19

Yes, this is normal.

Our G.P. does provide a Saturday surgery for emeregncies but this is paid for out of the doctor's own money, believe it or not. Out of hours coverage is provided centrally and we have to drive for 40 mins to get there and the same back. We do get home visits but only during the day Mon-Fri - again provided by our own G.P. - out of hours cover generally refuse to come out.

misdee Sun 20-Mar-05 20:29:16

the walk in clinic is sited at the hospital, so easy for us to get to. but we always ask for home visits for dh during the week, usually Gp is there by lunchtime. at weekends if dh needs to see GP we have to arrange as lift for him.

Nemo1977 Sun 20-Mar-05 20:30:59

our surgery answer phone gives u the number for nhs direct and the local walk in centres..good
When Ds had tonsilitis in nov i had to wait in a walk in centre on a sat morning for 3hrs to be seen with a screaming 13mth old to be given some antibiotics

nutcracker Sun 20-Mar-05 20:31:29

If it is out of hours we have to go to the local hospitals badger clinic which luckily for us is only down the road.

I did once request a home visit from my g.p for Dd2 who had a sickness bug. They refused and said i had to take her there even though she was being sick every few minutes and had the runs big time.
I told them i didn't drive and they said that unless Dd was terminally ill or was confined to bed that i had to bring her.

In the end a neighbour took me. My h.v later told me that i should have requested the docs medical practice number or something and reported it, as they are not allowed to refuse a home visit.

hoxtonchick Sun 20-Mar-05 20:34:27

provision has changed recently & it's now the responsibility of the primary care trust rather than your own doctor's surgery. most surgeries have opted out of providing their own out of hours cover, hence the use of walk in centres. i haven't had to use ours recently, but i think you have to go to a co-op at our local hospital (10 mins drive). so i don't think a complaint will get you anywhere vicdubya - things are a bit different now.

kama Sun 20-Mar-05 20:38:30

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logic Sun 20-Mar-05 20:48:29

Ours used to be good but now it's appalling! Me (6 mths pg) and ds were ill with flu and very bad secondary throat infections a couple of months ago. We needed antibiotics desperately and it was a Saturday so we phoned the out-of-hours service. We were refused home visits even though we were bedridden. Ds was burning up and dh had to take him to the local hospital in the bitter cold to get his medication. I was too ill to travel and ended up speaking to some really unpleasant gp (doesn't deserve the capitals) who told me that I wasn't ill because I wasn't 80 years old. I had to suffer for 2 days before I could get my antibiotics which my real GP prescribed straight away. I should have complained but basically I was too tired for ages afterwards to get round to it. Unfortunately, vicdubya, this does seem to be normal but it's not right. Next time, however, I will not bother phoning the surgery, I will simply call an ambulance.

coppertop Sun 20-Mar-05 20:48:48

We've never been offered the option of a home visit. If anyone needs a doctor out of hours they have to go to a walk-in centre. You can save a little time by phoning them in advance and speaking to the nurse. If they think that you need to see a doctor then they will put your name on the list so that when you arrive you don't have to go through triage first. You still have to wait for as long as it takes in the waiting room though.

We have no car and have to rely on a taxi to get there. It's a big gamble if you have a vomiting child and the prospect of a £25 clean-up fee.

My worst experience of a lack of home visits was when we lived in the north. Ds1 had his DTP immunisations earlier in the day. That night he was very listless and had turned a horrific shade of grey. I can remember telling the nurse on the phone that if it wasn't for the fact that I could see him blinking I would have thought that he was dead. We still had to take him to the night-time health centre and wait to be seen. The GP arranged for a car to take us to the hospital. 5 minutes after we arrived ds1 stopped breathing. I hate to think what might have happened if we'd had to wait any longer to be seen.

vicdubya Sun 20-Mar-05 21:15:04

Hmm it does seem the walk in centres are the norm now.

I do feel sorry for anyone like you Coppertop who doesn;t have transport.

What a nightmare!

I was thinking more a letter to MP rather than complaining to GP....why can we suddenly not afford that level of care anymore, which was once a standard?

linnet Sun 20-Mar-05 21:45:28

We had an out of service surgery that you phoned and the dr would phone you back and if he/she wanted to see you you went to the surgery, which is in town.

They changed it last summer to a central number that you have to phone and you speak to a nurse who will decide whether or not you can go down to the surgery and see the dr. If we needed to we would still go the surgery in town so it's not far. Would hate to have to travel over 40 miles away as we don't have a car and public transport isn't always easily available at weekends or late at night.

Yorkiegirl Sun 20-Mar-05 21:51:29

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suedonim Sun 20-Mar-05 22:26:20

The out of hours service is run from a small hospital about 12 miles from us. They apparently do have a minibus for patients without transport but as that is situated 40 miles away it's not a lot of use! One area is so remote that they've had to make special arrangements. The bigwigs in the cities just don't understand the circumstances of rural areas. There is a children's hospital about 20 miles from us so I'd go there if I was desperate. Our GP's still do home visits during day time.

jamiesam Sun 20-Mar-05 22:36:54

Small tip-et.

When ds2 was a few days old he had pretty bad conjunctivitis. I rang doctors (happened to be a Sat morning, didn't realise they weren't doing a surgery anymore) and got patched thru to NHS Direct. NHS Direct Doctor rang me back and said since it was only 'sticky eye', ds didn't need anything yet and could wait until Mon.

I was furious as he hadn't seen ds2, and on prev. occasions when my gp had seen ds1 with conjunctivitis, had always prescribed drops/ointment. So I rang NHS Direct back and asked how to go about complaining. Shortly afterwards, original gp rang back, asked me what I wanted and arranged for a prescription to be faxed thru to my local chemists.

Obv. this only works if you know what's wrong. But worth considering...

logic Mon 21-Mar-05 09:38:11

That's very interesting, jamiesam

suedonim, the bigwigs in the cities don't understand the circumstances of people in the big cities either! It makes me so angry that no-one is getting decent care anymore. It's very sad that you have to fight so hard to get the most basic of treatment.

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