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Difficulty getting a doctor's appointment

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Im not the sort of person who goes to see a doctor frequently for the most insignificant ailment. When nagged enough however, even I relent and phone up the local surgery to make an appointment.  My gripe isnt about the doctor's at the surgery; its about the difficulty I had trying to get an appointment this morning.

Heres how it works at my local clinic.  If you ring reception and just ask to make an appointment, you will most likely get allocated one some time the following week, in some cases as much five or six days from the date that you originally call them.  Now I dont know much about medicine or the human body, but I suspect that, like me, most people seek the advice of a doctor when they actually have a problem, not when they think they may have one in five days time.

Do we have to be seriously ill or on deaths doorstep before you get an appointment?  It would seem so, because on this particular occasion the only way I could get someone to take a look at my hand was to insist that I had to see someone today as it was an emergency.  Even then, the most I could expect was to see the nurse rather than my GP.  Either they are just extremely busy at the moment, or this is some sort of screening process.  How can the receptionist tell who needs medical attention and who can be put off for a few days?

Getting an appointment at the doctor's the same day. Later, after the appointment Okay, I cant pronounce the word but needless to say it is not something that goes away by itself!  If I had left it, the infection could have spread further apparently, and by then things are way more serious.  I have been given another appointment this afternoon with the doctor in person, so perhaps it was a good idea to insist that I see someone today after all.

I wonder how many people take the first option and delay treatment for a few days? I also wonder how often this has made things worse than they need be.  Isnt preventative medicine supposed to be the way to go?

Perhaps they need to look into different ways of doing things.  More nurses for that initial consultation perhaps.  It certainly worked for me because she knew what the problem was and how it needed to be treated.  Not everyone needs to see a doctor the same day, on the other hand some people definitely do.

Alternatively how about an e-clinic? I could quite easily have emailed the doctor/nurse a description of the symptoms; possibly even supported with a photograph (who doesnt have a camera phone these days?).  A quick decision could be made whether or not I need an appointment that day or if it could be deferred to when the clinic isnt so busy.


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SusanR

SusanR

Lucky you to even have the offer of an appointment in a few days. My husband called this morning and has been told to try again tomorrow the lines open at 8am - he will have to try every day until he is lucky enough to get through. No option ofan appointment another day or week.
14/05 SusanR
1
Jon

Jon

I was having problems being able to walk and had to go home sick from work. The walk in centre told me I had to see my own doctor because I might need a scan. I phoned the doctors surgery and was told that the earliest they could see me was in 5 days time. When I arrived I presumed I was seeing a doctor. It turned out to be the nurse.....5 days just to see the nurse? And incidentally, the surgery was empty as it seems they book people in 3 at a time.
He looked at my leg from a distance and prescribed painkillers. I didn't know nurses had x-ray vision but I did know that it was more serious than anything pain killers could solve. I noticed that he wrote in the notes that I was overweight and obviously made the judgement that the condition was causing my pain (it was actually a tearing tendon that would rip again in 1 weeks time)
I changed surgeries recently because of a house move. I asked the lady on reception if I could book an appointment....she literally laughed....i'm not kidding....she laughed at me for presuming I might get to see a doctor!

I tried for 6 months to find an NHS dentist, nobody is taking them in but rather strangely, the same surgeries always have unlimited capacity for private patients (I wonder why that is?) There also, is a waiting time of 2 weeks before you get an appointment and which can also be cancelled at short notice.

I rang 111 today (Saturday) on the advice of a pharmacist because of a possible infection from an extracted tooth. I was 11th in the queue. 5 minutes later I was 10th in the queue...progress! 15 minutes later I was still 10th in the queue and beginning to get fed up.....20 minutes later I was 9th in the queue....25 minutes later I was 9th in the queue....I hung up and bought some stronger pain killers

Luckily I am somebody who rarely needs to see a doctor but I hope to god it's never an emergency because I can see myself dying before a week before i'm seen...
13/07/19 Jon
1
argie

argie

Visited the doctors for suspected broken finger, no dctors no nurses and no patients. The place was empty. What gives? Doctors are on call out, nurses have left and not replaced. I need to work to pay towards this shambles, makes me wonder why i bother and as for the flu jab why cant retired people get it elsewhere instead of cluttering up surgerys in place of those who want to see a doctor so they can get baxk to work?
08/11/17 argie
0
lola123kitty

lola123kitty

Drs receptionist refused to book me an appointment with the Practice nurse although I gave her three days when I could attend. She said she could not book an appointment unless I told her what it was for!
21/08/17 lola123kitty
1
hehe

hehe

I have just read the article and agree. I called my doctors in the Borders 8am and kept redialling at 8.15am I got threw only to be told that the last appointment gad gone. So no more appointment had,all apparently gone in 15 minutes. I is really hard to get an appointment in still trying to get one.but you also have to fight against the people who go with absolute trivia.
07/08/17 hehe
1
Wrossh

Wrossh

To get to see any doctors at the surgery I use, unless it is an absolute emergency, I have to wait between 4-6 weeks. There are at least 3 doctors. I suffer with chronic pain, which is getting more unbearable over time, chronic fatigue which both make travelling difficult.
07/03/16 Wrossh
2
Milo

Milo

You're lucky to be offered an appointment within a few days, I am trying desperately to get an appointment with my GP, but the best my surgery can come up with is to ring them on Wednesday afternoon to arrange an appointment for 2 weeks time ,at the earliest. I am in a lot of pain but unfortunately my only other option is to present at A&E, which I refuse to do as I believe that only urgent and life threatening cases should do so. Therefore my only option is to put up with the pain ,and hope it isn't anything sinister.
01/02/16 Milo
5
new wife 2014

new wife 2014

My doctors is hard to get an appointment too. You have to call at 8am so i use my mobile and the land line as i know there are two phones at the reception. Took me 13 mins to get through once.
Anyway, I don't usually need to see a doctor, probably a couple times a year? But on the occasion I did urgently need one, traces of blood in urine following cystitis, they were booked up and even telling the receptionist how much discomfort i was in there was nothing she could find. so I went to the walk in center only to be seen within 30 minutes of arriving. Gave a sample and the doctor tested it there and then. AND the doctor who saw me even gave the antibiotics for free from a locked cupboard in his room. So it saved me money :)
When I have gone into the doctors to collect my mums perscription I cant help but notice how empty the waiting room is. I often feel like asking the receptionist how can you ever tell me its booked up when no ones even here??
Gauranteed, if we had to pay to see a doctor they will have appointments free all the time because all the ones who go for the slightest things (my neighbour said she was going to go once over a cold) will think twice and stop clogging the appointments.
14/09/14 new wife 2014
2
Biscuits

Biscuits

In my area - Jewville in the south east of England - you have to ring for a doctor's appointment at 8 o'clock in the morning and be ready to go that day. You have to be fit to get an appointment. Most of them are already gone by the time you get through. If you're ill you won't have the energy to fight to get one!
16/05/14 Biscuits
2
The NHS is Bust

The NHS is Bust

The NHS Hospital Out-Patients Clinic appointment system has completely broken down. I am a cancer patient. The medical consultants reviewing my case have told me that I must report to the clinic for a check up every three months. That check up is essential. If I were to get a relapse it might be life threatening. Any such relapse must be identified as soon as possible. I made an appointment last time I was at the clinic. However, due to certain family matters I cannot attend on that particular day. I phoned the appointments system call centre to get it changed for a week later. Five times I got the message "Too many people have called, please try later." Eventually, after a huge amount of persistence, I got through.

Once through the call centre operator completely disregarded my request and totally ignored my medical condition. I was actually giving the clinic I attend over 6 weeks notice that I needed to change my appointment for a week later. All the appointment centre operator could offer me was an appointment 6 weeks beyond the one I had booked. I told them that I must have a much earlier appointment: to no avail.

I wrote in using email, outlining the above case, saying I must have a much, much earlier appointment. An automatic email told me I would get a response within 48 hours [a feeble response time]. It is now 4 days later and no response at all.

The sytem has completely collapsed, even thought the operator told me during this hole saga that they have now got a new system in place.
16/05/14 The NHS is Bust
2
BS

BS

Doctor appointments....I phoned on the 20th April for an appointment with the doctor I have always gone to for years, but was told she had no appointments and I should phone the following Tuesday, which I did, but was told that the first appointment was the 26th of May, but I could not book it there and then, as it had not been 'confirmed' and I should phone back on the Friday which I did and guess what....could I phone back in the afternoon as it still had not been confirmed that they could start booking appointments...What is going on? I think I will have to try and get an emergency appointment, but won't hold my breath...
03/05/14 BS
1
Vote Ukip

Vote Ukip

Bubbly bet, "What on earth is going on?". Too many sick people in the UK. Could it be caused by immigration into this country?
02/05/14 Vote Ukip
1
Bubbly bet

Bubbly bet

I originally phoned for an appointment on the 20th April, but was told to phone back on the following Tuesday as the doctor I wished to see had no appointments...I did this only to be told that the first appointment was the 26th May, but I could not book it there and now as it had to be 'confirmed' that they could start booking appointments, so was told to phone back on the Friday, which I did, but guess what.....was told to phone back in the afternoon as it was too early to book as it still had not been confirmed...What on earth is going on?
02/05/14 Bubbly bet
1
hypertension

hypertension

I've been trying to get an appointment for that last 3 months to discuss an already dx hypertension. No advance bookings nor on the day ever available beyond 3pm and there open till 6:30pm.

Maybe my Bp 170/105 isnt a priority?
04/04/14 hypertension
1
Barry

Barry

Appointment within 2 weeks. I wish we lived in that surgeries catchment area.
Here the New Norm is between 6 to 8 weeks, this has happened only in the last few months, however if it is urgent one can if you are more than lucky get a appointment within 1 day, or are told by the receptionists to go directly to A&E.
05/02/14 Barry
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