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How long to wait for GP appointment. Angry, probably ABU

103 replies

Gertrudetrudy · 30/06/2015 16:29


Could I ask how long you wait to see your GP?

I am only in the UK 2 years so am fairly new to the NHS stuff. I have never had need to visit a GP or deal with the NHS until now (thankfully!)

I rang the GP today to try get an appointment and first the receptionist wouldn't let me pre-book, after some negotiation she managed to find me a pre-bookable appointment for 13th July! That's two weeks away!

I am astounded as this and quite angry tbh. It seems to me that people who work are at a massive disadvantage when trying to get an appointment (i.e. can't ring the morning of and hang around all day so have to use pre-bookable) even though it's our taxes that are funding this.

Is this a normal wait time? I'm from Ireland and it's about €65 to see a GP over there but there is never a problem with wait times or appointments.

AIBU to be this dissatisfied with the healthcare system?

OP posts:

soapboxqueen · 30/06/2015 16:38

Usually the same day or next couple of days if they are busy. Telephone appointment same day too.

We also have plenty of Walk in centres which usually have GPs until midnight.

We are very lucky.


MadAsgardian · 30/06/2015 16:43

Too many people, not enough GPs. It's a maths problem.


MaxPepsi · 30/06/2015 16:43

Our surgery always say it will be 'next week' at the earliest if not longer.

However I usually manage to get seen the same day or the next day and I work full time.

This is in part to having an understanding boss both in my current job and my last one. But it is mainly due to the fact I see 'next week' as a starting point of my negotiations not as the ultimate and final answer.


dinkystinky · 30/06/2015 16:43

Where I am in London its about 3 weeks wait - if you're lucky


Aermingers · 30/06/2015 16:44

There are actually plans in place to change this with 7 day working for the NHS, to make it easier for people to get in if they work. I think with this you just have to delay going into work to call, then either go to the appt and go to work after if it's am, or go to work and leave early if it's late. Or go to a walk in centre.

But I'm not in favour of charging just to make the lives of people who work easier. It's simply not cost effective, people don't go and a lot of conditions which aren't diagnosed early cost a lot more to treat.


ifgrandmahadawilly · 30/06/2015 16:45

Two or three weeks unless it's an emergency.


WorraLiberty · 30/06/2015 16:45

Pre-bookable appointments you have to wait about 2 weeks.

However, normal appointments you have to ring at 8am and you'll get one that day.


ginagslovechild · 30/06/2015 16:46

I'm in Northern Ireland, I can be seen by an NHS gp same day I ring.


gobbin · 30/06/2015 16:46

Yes, that's our experience for routine, non-urgent appointments. It's not great.
However, if it is urgent you will always be seen that day, usual between 4-6pm.


soapboxqueen · 30/06/2015 16:47

There aren't enough GPs to cover the services now, let alone increasing it to cover late nights and weekends.

I'm fairly sure one of the pilot schemes was closed because there wasn't enough interest.


thunderbird69 · 30/06/2015 16:48

Depends what is wrong with you as to how quickly you want to be seen?


GlitterTwinkleToes · 30/06/2015 16:48

Three weeks here. Does my head in because I can't just walk into an out of hours centre, I have to been seen by my GP because of complex medical issues since childhood.
Hospital appointments are worse mind!


mrsdavidbowie · 30/06/2015 16:48

I can't get one till 21st July


honeysucklejasmine · 30/06/2015 16:49

I am pregnant, and got some unusual blood test results, with the instruction to "see your GP". Next Thursday is their best offer. I can literally do any time, any day.


Sallystyle · 30/06/2015 16:51

I made an appointment today.

Got one a week on Wednesday, but I did tell them there was no rush to be seen.

Usually I have to wait between 3-6 days. If it is urgent I have to go into the very busy city to the walk in clinic, which would be a PITA if one of the kids was really ill. We can also see prescription nurses and the appointments to see them are slightly quicker.


Gertrudetrudy · 30/06/2015 16:51

I don't even mind so much that it's not 7 days. But I would like to be able to say to my boss "I will be out of the office at x time tomorrow" but the only options at my surgery are the mad scramble at 8am to try make an appointment - which is no go for me as I would need to give more notice at work as it is a small office; or a pre-bookable (at any time) at least two weeks away.

So it seems I'm not so bad with my two week wait!

I don't think they should change the whole system just for people who work but some provisions should be made to recognise that?

OP posts:

carabos · 30/06/2015 16:54

At our local surgery you can't book a non-urgent appointment. You have to phone at 8am for an appointment for the same day, but only if it's urgent. Once all the urgent appointments have gone you may get one for the same day (unlikely), otherwise it will be for some random date in the unknown future. If you turn down two options for the random dates you have to go back into the ringing up at 8am scenario, but you have to tell the receptionist whether it's urgent or not and if it's not urgent...Confused.

The receptionists and practice manager don't see anything wrong with this protocol. They expect you to say your need is urgent whether it is or not, and don't seem to realise that this undermines the whole process. You can get a telephone consultation however. These are all at 11am and you have to phone them, so you phone at 11 to be told by an irritated receptionist that the doctor is on the phone. Hmm.


TinyManticore · 30/06/2015 16:55

My surgery usually finds something in the next two days if you phone first thing in the morning. I did ring for an appointment once a few years ago and was told they didn't have one available for two weeks so I said I'd be better by then and not to bother.


Gertrudetrudy · 30/06/2015 16:55

thunderbird69 The lady didn't even ask me what was wrong, she categorically stated that that was the earliest appointment they had available. I am not urgently sick no, but this is something that I am worried about and would like to get seen asap really. I'm not a hypochondriac and have actually never visited the GP over here.

god honeysucklejasmine that sounds awful.

OP posts:

RepeatAdNauseum · 30/06/2015 16:57

If it's an emergency - kidney infection, etc - they'll see you same day, but you do have to say that you need an emergency appointment when you call.

If it's not an emergency, you'll have a two or three week wait.


carabos · 30/06/2015 17:01

Oh and you can't talk to the GP about two things, so you must book two appointments. However, these can't be consecutive appointments because that's "not fair". Last week I had to go to the surgery on two different days to see two different doctors, both of whom are referring me to the same specialist. There's virtually no chance apparently of both of these referrals being tied together before they go off so I'll likely end up with two appointments with the specialist. How wasteful and inefficient is that?


CaptainHolt · 30/06/2015 17:01

Ours used to be pretty good, then 3 other surgeries closed, leaving 24000 patients to be shared out. I'm going for a smear in August Hmm.

They do see you the same day if you are actually ill.

GP practices are closing down all over the place and there is a drop in the number of people applying for GP training places despite Hunt's 'I'll recruit 5000 more GPs' rhetoric (from where!). People go to A&E because you are not supposed to breach the 4 hour target even if your illness is a GP thing rather than emergency medicine.


specialsubject · 30/06/2015 17:01

as noted there is a basic problem of overpopulation and not enough funding for services. And, I'm afraid, some timewasters including those who just can't be arsed to turn up. Don't tell me that they don't have a phone.

there's also a stupid targets issue; some government dipstick sets targets for appointment wait times, so there is the incentive not to allow booking ahead for non-urgent things. So everyone ends up playing 8am roulette.

our surgery works on various systems, which leads me to think they are playing the system. Sometimes you'll get a doctor call back and if she thinks it is ok, you'll be fitted in about 2pm. You can also book the early and 5pm appointments online, sometimes only a day ahead; this works for us but the area has (I think) quite a high number of non-internet using elderly.


LadyWellian · 30/06/2015 17:03

My GP has 'book on the day' appointments, allocated from 8am. I called at 8.10 the other week and was number 21 in the queue (and that was just to talk to them, although to be fair they have more GPs than receptionists).

They don't call these 'emergency' or 'urgent' appointments. There are also afternoon 'emergency' appointments bookable from 1pm. I've never tried to get one of these.

It may be about how (or when) you are wording it - I once rang not at 8am and asked to 'make an appointment' (not with a specific doctor, even) and was offered something six weeks away.


ISingSoprano · 30/06/2015 17:03

The receptionists and practice manager don't see anything wrong with this protocol

The receptionists won't have written the protocol, the practice manager will have written it under guidance from the partners as to how they want their surgeries run.

If you phoned my surgery now for a routine appointment you would have a choice of Friday or Saturday this week and a choice of male or female GP.

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