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to think it shouldn't be this hard to get an appointment with my gp?

18 replies

thequeensspeech · 26/04/2011 14:59

I've been suffering with joint pain for months and have been back and forth to my gp for the last 9 months. The only gp to take me seriously was a lovely female doctor who wrote a private referral letter for me to see ortho consultant. Saw him 3 weeks ago and he diagnosed the problem and said I need urgent physio and to see my gp to arrange it. I've been trying for 3 weeks now to make an appointment with her.

Every time I ring I'm told she's fully booked up. I've been told to ring at 8.30 in the morning for an appointment that day. I don't easily have access to a phone at work so its a nightmare ringing and ringing hoping I'll get through. I've managed to get through 3 times and been told that although it's only 8.35, 8.40 or 8.32 all appointments have gone.

Have been told to try ringing at 4pm in the afternoon to get an appointment the next day. Again I've done this (going through usual nightmare of trying to slip out of work while I ring on my mobile) only to be told all appointments have gone.

I've just rung again and been told there's no appointments. In despair I spoke to practice manager who has said there is nothing she can do and I'm going to have to keep on ringin morning and afternoon on the off chance I'll eventually get an appointment.

I can't believe how difficult, neigh impossible it is to see this gp. There are 2 other doctors in the practice but I don't want to see them, they have palmed me off every time I've seen them about this problem telling me to take ibuprofen and to come back in a couple of months. They were dismissive and seemed to think that still being in agony over a year after giving birth is normal.

OP posts:

Insomnia11 · 26/04/2011 15:01

Our GPs has urgent appointments in the morning and bookable appointments in the afternoon. Can you not book one for a couple of week's time?


Joannezipan · 26/04/2011 15:02

Maybe it's time to change dr's practice. Or ring and ask the good doctor to phone you back after surgery? If she thinks she needs to see you then she will tell them to make you an appointment. Or if all you need is a referral and you have a diagnosis couldn't one of the crap Drs do it for you?


thequeensspeech · 26/04/2011 15:04

That's the point insomnia, they wont let me book an appointment. The practice manager said all I could do is ring on the day on the off chance I could get an appointment, problems accessing a phone at work aside, all the times I've rung on the morning, the appointments have gone!

OP posts:

MillyR · 26/04/2011 15:06

At our doctors you can queue from 8am and get an appointment before they start answering the phones. ALthough I find it depressing to stand in line outside the surgery with people carrying ill kids in pyjamas, it does at least get you an appointment. Is that a possibility where you live?


OhYouBadBadKitten · 26/04/2011 15:06

Maybe write a letter to the gp addressed directly to her explaining that you would like to speak to her and drop it off at the surgery, she may not be aware of the impossibility of getting an appt with her.


mollymole · 26/04/2011 15:07

do you actually need to see the GP in person - in your post you say that your GP needs to refer you to the physio - can you not take a copy of your
letter to the GP's surgery so that it can be passed to your GP who can make out the referall - (make sure you kep a copy though, I know what happens to letters in our GP surgery)


peeriebear · 26/04/2011 15:07

My GP is like this too. I have resigned myself to never actually seeing him again and just go with another allocated doctor. I wanted to talk to him about a personal problem but in the end had to go with a doctor who doesn't know me. Is your doctor popular or oversubscribed? My GP is a handsome, charming, late-forties, tall man with gently greying russet hair and is very good at his job too. All the old ladies get in with their appointments first I think...


ElsieMc · 26/04/2011 15:15

It sounds like our doctors. My husband has recently been diagnosed with a serious, painful condition and his female GP wrote and asked him to see her.

I rang and was told there were no appointments for ten days. I said he would wait if he had to but I was then told I could not book an appointment at that stage. Receptionist then offered me a phone call from her which I reluctantly accepted. I asked when I could have one - she then told me I couldn't.

I was not even offered an emergency appointment due to the pain.

I then asked to see another doctor within a week but was told there were no appointments at all. So no appointment with any GP, no phone call, no nothing. I said it was ridiculous and asked for a complaint form. She told me she could not post me one, they were on the counter and I had to come and get it.

I asked the Practice manager to ring me, but needless to say she didn't. I wasn't rude, I was polite, and I sympathise with your situation and frustration. Is there anyone you can complain to?


MorticiaAddams · 26/04/2011 15:15

If the ortho cons has said you have problems then hopefully it will now be on your notes and the other GPs will be able to see it so I would take a chance with one of them rather than keep waiting in pain.

How far in advance is this GP booked up for? We can book three weeks in advance (I think) but I have a particular GP that I like and she can make me an appointment later than that on her computer whilst I'm with her. If you do get to see her then it's worth asking. Sometimes I've had to make an appointment about two weeks later but still phone up regularly and try to get a cancellation and if I do then I just cancel the later one.


MorticiaAddams · 26/04/2011 15:18

Sorry, just seen your second post. Does that mean you can only ever book appointments for the same day?


microfight · 26/04/2011 15:19

I would go in in person and insist they give you an appointment and make a bit of a fuss


MorticiaAddams · 26/04/2011 15:23

Goodness me, you all have terrible surgeries. At ours you can get an appointment with a chosen dr either that week or the following week, depending how popular they are but can book about three weeks in advance. You can also phone up at 8.30 and get an emergency appointment which you can usually still get until about 9am and then they offer more emergency appointments after 4pm and a sit and wait service at 5pm.

We did have a problem when they first brought in the you must be seen within 2-3 days thing but that soon stopped as it was completely ridiculous and didn't work.


Sirzy · 26/04/2011 15:26

Why didn't the consultant just refer you? Thats what's always happened with me.


thequeensspeech · 26/04/2011 15:47

sirzy I had to pay privately to see consultant who referred me to the private physio who operates out of the hospital. Its £75 a shot and I can't afford to pay this. Consultant said to get gp to refer me on NHS. I can just about manage to pay for a couple of physio appointments privately but consultant reckons I'll need a minimum of 10 sessions. Wanted to speak to gp in person to make sure she knows all the facts eg consultant said I need to see specialist physio specialising in the symphsis dysfunction area. This gp has been the only one to take me seriously and the only one I fee comfortable dealing with. I've really crap at the doctors and end up getting palmed off even when I'm in loads of pain and depressed.

Going to ring at 4 today to see if theres any chance of getting an appointment for tomorrow. They wont let you book an appointment in advance for next week.

OP posts:

sprinkles77 · 26/04/2011 15:57

Our doctors do telephone consultations. If your GP has the correspondence from the consultant, you might just be able to get her to refer you if you can speak to her on the phone.


darleneconnor · 26/04/2011 16:16

My GP told me that they 'aren't allowed' to make referrals to ortho. Apparently you have to go through physio to get an ortho referral. Been waiting 5 months for that...


thequeensspeech · 26/04/2011 16:22

I'm sick of it. DH and I work really hard and have been paying taxes since we were 16 so almost 30 years of tax and national insurance. I'd just like to be able to see my gp at a time that's semi convenient for me. I don't expect to be able to ring up and pick and choose a time but I do expect to be able to get an appointment within a few days of ringing.

I'm fed up of being made to feel that I should be 'grateful' if they can offer me an appointment after I've been on the phone ringing and ringing.

OP posts:

springbokdoc · 26/04/2011 16:31

I just think that this is a ridiculous system. My GP has the option of emergency appts (bookable on the day) or pre-bookable appts. How on earth is your surgery keeping on top of their chronic patients/diabetic checks/medication reviews?? The practice manager isn't exactly telling you the truth either - as a practice they set their own appt system so they have decided on this stupid system.

I would ask for a telephone consultation with that GP (which dear God should be pre-bookable) as well as dropping in a letter addressed specifically to your GP and a letter voicing your concerns re the difficulty in getting an appt with a specific GP for a non-urgent problem.

BTW, I'm pleased that you found a GP who took you seriously and totally understand why you would want to return to her - after all, doctors have different strengths (and weaknesses) & aren't always interchangeable!

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