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To think that over three weeks is too long to wait for a doctor's appointment?

62 replies

MrsKlugscheisser · 28/06/2017 22:18

I rang up today to make an appointment and told no appointments until 22 July. They could offer a phone consultation with a GP, but that was all. I don't think what is wrong with me can be diagnosed over the phone. Fortunately I got a cancellation and an appointment next week, but is it no wonder that people end up going to A & E?

OP posts:

RochelleGoyle · 28/06/2017 22:20

YANBU. Situation not helped by the many people who actually take up appointments when they don't really need one!


Rufustherenegadereindeer1 · 28/06/2017 22:21


Its 6 to 8 weeks here

Takes the piss doesn't it


MrsKlugscheisser · 28/06/2017 22:24

I had a UTI diagnosed over the phone and was prescribed antibiotics the other week.

6-8 weeks is even worse, Rufus. It would make me want to keep booking random appointments in case I was ill.

OP posts:

Rufustherenegadereindeer1 · 28/06/2017 22:26


I know someone who books one in every month, just keeps booking and cancelling


PacificDogwod · 28/06/2017 22:28

Yes, it's awful.

There are very few doctors going in to Primary Care and exciting practices are being squeezed out of existence. It will likely get worse.


PatMullins · 28/06/2017 22:29

Same wait here for my 5yr old Sad


ILoveDolly · 28/06/2017 22:30

Also a large amount of appointments being taken up for minor problems that didn't need it


Familyof3or4 · 28/06/2017 22:30

There is a GP recruitment crisis. Many practices are understaffed and they cannot recruit.
Speak to your MP about it, it's going to get worse.
Matters aren't helped by people attending for colds and lots of requests for letters to support housing list applications, fitness to run marathons and other non-NHS requests.


Moanyoldcow · 28/06/2017 22:32

This is so bizarre. I needed an appointment and logged onto the online system at my surgery and had a vast choice of appointments from the next day extending 2 weeks.

There really is a lottery depending on where one lives, isn't there? I'm not in a super affluent area by any means but my last surgery was the same and I feel awful it's not like this for everyone.


Dinosauratemydaffodils · 28/06/2017 22:33

It's the norm here. You can attend clinic, i.e. get to the surgery at 8am and queue to be seen that day however when you have small children it's hellish. If you want an appointment at a set time or with a set Doctor though it's 3 to 4 weeks.

Luckily we haven't needed the GP in a while.


BarbarianMum · 28/06/2017 22:34

How it works at our surgery is that you take the phone consultation and if the doctor thinks you need to come in sooner they give you an appointment the same/next day. You can only get one of these "quick" appointments as the result of a phone consultation but it works well. They had ds2 in within 20 minutes once.


sepsisandAKI · 28/06/2017 22:38

Yes. Agree with the above poster. There are blocked out appts for same day phone consultations. You ring surgery and gp will ring back and see if you need an appt or can be managed with meds or Just reassurance sometimes. Seems to work well.


HundredMilesAnHour · 28/06/2017 22:39

Last time I saw my GP (and moaned to her about how hard/impossible it was to get an appointment with her), she recommended registering to book on their online system. Seems a number of appointments are reserved specifically for online booking but because most of the local residents aren't technically savvy, you can usually get a next day appointment booking online. So I registered and she was right!

I'm not sure if this is the case for you OP but might be worth looking into?


Rufustherenegadereindeer1 · 28/06/2017 22:40

We have a triage nurse system which is very good

But its for 'urgent' appointments...or at least those where you need to see a doctor quickly


pinkdelight · 28/06/2017 22:41

Agree with PPs. You take the phone appt and then the gp decides if and when you need to come in. Works very well here too.


FreakinDeacon · 28/06/2017 22:41

Simple maths. Not enough Doctors for the number of people needing to be seen.

I work in General Practice and it is shit. I hate that our patients sometimes have to wait so long.

I believe a contributing factor is that General Practice has such bad press that not many Doctors want to be GPs. When I worked in a different town a year ago there were 15 practices in the town and every single one had a GP vacancy. Some had more than one and many posts were vacant for more than a year.

I'm seriously thinking of getting out which is a shame because I love many aspects of my job. (Non clinical)


lalalalyra · 28/06/2017 22:42

Our practise is bringing in a new policy whereby you won't be able to get an appointment at all without a telephone chat with the Dr first. You'll then be able to book an appointment.

Currently you phone on the day and if you can get through between the lines opening at 08:30:00 and the masses phoning at 08:30:02 then you get an appointment on the day. However, you get one appointment time offered regardless of suitability and often you don't get to choose which doctor.

They brought that system in as too many missed/forgotten appointment were causing them too many problems.

I'm not sure the new system will work much better, but it's better than this current palaver where you can finally get through at 08:40 knowing you are an asthmatic with a chest infection and get told "you'll have to try again tomorrow" for 4 days in a row.


clairethewitch70 · 28/06/2017 22:42

I never have any problems. I see my GP every two weeks, and he books me in for the next appointment whilst I am there, on the computer himself, routinely. I am not sure why - DH says that it is because of my MH. Any problems with my family, he books an appointment in for them there and then. I must be extremely lucky.


Hulder · 28/06/2017 22:52

You are supposed to take the phone consultation and the GP then decides whether or not you need an appointment or it is something they can deal with over the phone

Stops people taking up appointments who don't need one at all or can be dealt with without seeing them.

GP will have a stock of appointments they can allocate themselves.

So you made a strategic error by turning down the phone appointment.


Coddiwomple · 28/06/2017 22:56

It is outrageous, but there's only so many people they can see in a day.
Around here, new developments are being built constantly, hundreds of new homes and retirement homes popping up, but no one has thought about increasing the number of GP - or school places when they sign the planning permissions.

We have a practice which offers an open surgery in the morning for urgent appointments, they are a life saver.


MrsKlugscheisser · 28/06/2017 23:08

But surely a phone appointment is completely useless for something like a skin rash, where the doctor would need to see it for him/herself to see whether it was fungal, eczema, bacterial? "It's a red, itchy rash doctor" could cover a number of things!

Separately, my mother and I are both under different hospitals for a hereditary cancer. My consultant has given me an emergency number to call if I am worried, and I will be seen within two weeks. My mother has to go to her doctor (waiting three weeks for an appointment), who will then write a letter to the hospital, who will give her an appointment for several weeks time - so it could easily be 10 weeks between noticing her symptoms, and getting to see the consultant, whereas I will be seen in two weeks and operated on (usually) the same day or next day if necessary. It really does seem a lottery.

OP posts:

Rumandraisin1 · 28/06/2017 23:35

YANBU - Although round here it's usually a month's wait (or occasionally they've stopped taking bookings altogether for a while because they're so over-booked) so I'd actually be thrilled with an appointment in just over three weeks!


NotCitrus · 29/06/2017 00:14

Take the phone appt and then if you need to be seen they'll tell you to come in.

Sadly my practice now doesn't have reserved online appts so they vanish even faster than the others - rarely is there one less than 6 weeks away.

I swear every month or two I have the conversation where the receptionist goes "Is it an emergency?" and I reply "well it wasn't last week but it will be by next week" and eventually I get triaged and seen, or alternatively I say I need a prescription of a drug they aren't allowed to put on repeat, and they just give it to me on the grounds I'll be seeing some doc at some point and it's the easiest option.

The receptionists are actually amazingly lovely, but they can't magic up GPs from thin air! We used to have 10 full-time-equivalents and now are down to 2 or 3. They took over another practice but just can't find GPs - we're in London ffs!


Iwantacampervan · 29/06/2017 07:25

I had to wait 2 weeks recently which surprised me as we used to be able to get an appointment within days. I didn't mind which doctor I saw and which surgery location (split site) I went to.


Witchend · 29/06/2017 07:33

I love the phone consultations. If they need to see you, they tell you to come straight down. If you need prescriptions they send it straight to the pharmacist. If you just need advice, they can give it.

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