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How long does it take for you to get a doctor's appontment?

(21 Posts)
LunarSea Thu 02-Jun-05 10:36:08

Aargh! Have just tried to get a doctors appointment for ds, who has suddenly acquired a mouth full of ulcers, can't eat and is generally miserable with it.

After ringing repeatedly from 8am when they are supposed to start answering the phone, they finally turned off the answerphone at 8.45 - only for the phone to be permanently engaged for the next hour and a half. By which time there were no appointments available this week, and none can be made yet for next week. But if I queue up outside the surgery tomorrow morning and happen to be one of the first 20 there when they open the doors at 8.30 we might get seen.

Do they really expect me to have an ill child queing up outside for an unknown length of time as if it was the January sales? And if I don't do that, or am not one of the first 20, or even am one of the first 20 but they don't get seen by 10 am then it's back to the phones on Monday to repeat the whole process every day until we're lucky enough to get through while there are still appointments, or take the Friday lottery again next week if it's still going on by then.

Am sick of this, as it's not often we ever need to see them, but when we do it's all but impossible to get an appointment (recently needed to make an appointment with the midwife - which can be done more than 2 days in advance, and got told there was nothing available in the next 6 weeks).

Can't they see that for anyone who works, or even has kids in school, it's an impossible situation to have to commit every morning to trying just to arrange an appointment, let alone actually get to one.

Is it just us or does everyone else have this problem?

starlover Thu 02-Jun-05 10:37:40

i know just how you feel. I would go to the surgery and demand to be seen. You may have to wait until they have a gap though... you are entitled to an emergency appt

hoxtonchick Thu 02-Jun-05 10:41:39

the phone lines at our surgery open at 8. you can normally get through within 10-15 minutes, & i have always got an appointment the same day. it's a big group practice which may make a difference - more doctors available. when ds has been ill they've seen him very quickly indeed (i've rung up in the afternoon & been asked to take him in straight away for instance). of course it's not perfect, you invariably don't get seen at the right time, but we're generally very pleased with them.

is it worth ringing up the practice manager, making a fuss to them? you really should be able to get an appointment for your ds. or just take him to the surgery & sit there until you see someone. good luck.

wordsmith Thu 02-Jun-05 10:42:08

My Gps are fab. I picked up DS1 from school on Friday afternoon at 3.30 (just around the corner from the surgery), he said he didn't feel well, checked in his mouth and his tonsils are the size of golfballs, called the docs on my mobile at 3.45, they said get here at 4.00, I did, was seen immediately, out again by 4.05, did the shopping at was at nursery to pick up DS2 by 5pm!

They take a while to answer the phone but you can normally get an appointment pretty quickly. And they always see kids asap - if they don't have an appt you can go and wait for an 'extra' slot.

However they are a fundholding GP practice and have about 12 GPs there - it's the main one for our town.

(DS1 was fine by the way, just a viral thing.)

elliott Thu 02-Jun-05 10:42:42

Its a pain isn't it. Every surgery seems to have a different system, and they have all had to change recently to allow everyone to get an appt within 24 hrs. So even if all their booked appts are full, they should have an emergency system to be seen on the same day (but you may have to go and sit it out). otherwise, do you have anything else in your area like a walk in centre?

Our surgery is a bit similar in that you have to be on the phone on the dot of 8.30 and try repeatedly - and if its all booked up then you have to go and wait at the end of surgery.

Chuffed Thu 02-Jun-05 10:49:13

Ours has a few emergency appointments each day, no walk in system at all. I would walk myself to the children's emergency department at the hospital LunarSea, we got help there so much quicker than even having an appointment at the doctor.

Newbarnsleygirl Thu 02-Jun-05 10:53:52

Our surgery is pretty good. If I ring them in the morning I normally get an appointment before lunchtime although the last time we went I waited 45 mins over my appointment time and with a poorly toddler in a small waiting room, it is not a pleasant thing to experience.

Our last surgery was terrible. It had to be one the biggest surgerys in the UK and it was normally 2 weeks to get an appointment. When you told them it was an emergency they would come up with all sorts of rules and excuses as to why they could'nt give an appointment, then the next day you could call and get one! Madness.

It so infuriating, and having had the ulcer problem myself a few years ago I really feel for your ds.
As obnoxious as this sounds I would call them up and demand an appointment. They will have one I'm sure.
Good luck and hope he feels better soon.

gossifer Thu 02-Jun-05 10:56:19

i really think you should make a complaint
i sometimes have to wait a week for an appt but if you go to emergency (everyday) you will get seen
it's ridiculous that you cannot see a midwife for 6 weeks
shout from the rooftops!!!

Fennel Thu 02-Jun-05 10:59:24

our surgery sounds like yours. we go at 8.30 and usually get seen if we're on time, within about an hour.

But the quickest way, with ours, is if you phone about a sick child in the afternoon, around 2 or 3, they often have a quiet spot in the afternoon and you can go straight down. especially if you hint that your child has a suspicious rash and perhaps a temperature. this has always worked with us in terms of getting seen without queueing.

Iklboo Thu 02-Jun-05 11:49:59

Our surgery has "open appointment" from 8:30am to 11 am. As long as you get there before 10:30am, you WILL be seen (sometimes a bit of a wait, but it's good). Also, if I can't get there for open surgery, now I'm PG they'll do there best to fit me in at the end of evening surgery or offer a practice nurse appointment. It's a really good surgery and I'm hoping they'll take on baby when it's born (they've stopped taking on new patients 'out of the area' and we live about 1/4 mile outside now)

purpleturtle Thu 02-Jun-05 11:52:12

You can only make an appointment on the day at our GPs. Phone lines open at 8.30. It's never taken me longer than 25 mins to get through and I've always got an appointment that day.

The down side is that those who need regular appointments can't book them in advance, but have to remember to phone on the day

alibubbles Thu 02-Jun-05 15:39:42

Message withdrawn

LeahE Thu 02-Jun-05 15:44:46

Our GP used to have the same problem as yours until they switched to a system where you can only book same-day appointments (or next day if they are already full for that day). If really busy they may offer you a telephone appointment and keep some slots back for people the doctors want to come in after talking to them on the phone.

You can still book ahead for midwife or nurse as there isn't such pressure on them and you can usually get an appointment with them for whenever you want it.

Hulababy Thu 02-Jun-05 20:48:50

Every morning at our GP (MOn - Fri) there is a drop in surgery and no appointments. You turn up from 8:30am onwards and sit and wait. Surgey starts at 9am. My average waiting time is 30-40 minutes through this system. Not ideal, but a lot better than waiting 2 weeks like some people have to. There are appointments for afternoons and for the nurse - but like others these are usually reserved for repeat appointments, referrals or have a couple of week's wait.

morningpaper Thu 02-Jun-05 20:51:03

Always within 24 hours.

jessicasmummy Thu 02-Jun-05 20:51:32

If you call between 8am and 10 am you get an appointment the same day.

bigdonna Thu 02-Jun-05 21:05:37

If i call in morning i will get seen that morning,as i ring and say i want an appointment for ill child they always give me one.Also lunarsea my ds at 15mths had a mouth full of ulsers(well i thought they were) he had thrush in his mouth.

expatinscotland Thu 02-Jun-05 21:06:04

Same day, usually. I really like our surgery.

Orinoco Thu 02-Jun-05 21:18:42

Message withdrawn

vickiyumyum Thu 02-Jun-05 21:19:26

2 weeks!!!

BadgerBadger Thu 02-Jun-05 23:52:59

I hope your DS feels better soon LunarSea.

on your behalf about your local surgery!

At ours we can see the Nurse Clinician within an hour (and she is far better than any of the GP's, particularly great with children!)

Though I can usually get an appointment within a week with a dodgy GP (really not worth seeing!) it's usually over a weeks wait to see a good GP.

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