Gransnet forums


Hung on 28 mins to book an appointment

(54 Posts)
Ginny42 Tue 23-Apr-19 17:07:17

I received a letter from the surgery to attend for a repeat of a kidney function blood test with the practice nurse. Online booking is for doctors' appointments only.

I tried at various times during the day to be told I was number 4 in the queue but I decided to hang on this last time. I was number 5 in the queue at the start and it took 28 minutes for them to answer. Apart from the cost, it made me very cross although I knew it wasn't the girl's fault so I didn't complain to her. AIBU to think that is normal/unacceptable?

janeainsworth Tue 23-Apr-19 17:12:16

No, you’re not unreasonable.
Email the practice manager & ask why you can’t book online to see the practice nurse.
You can book blood tests online at the practice I go to.

KatyK Tue 23-Apr-19 17:13:22

I rang GP practice this morning and they answered straight away.

Urmstongran Tue 23-Apr-19 17:29:30

That must have been SO annoying Ginny42 I think it’s wrong to have a ‘queue’ system. It should just be an engaged tone (no cost to you) until a member of staff is available to take your call. I’d complain to the practice manager.

Callistemon Tue 23-Apr-19 18:28:29

Ours take an age to answer too, and play an irritating piece of music (the same over and over) all through the waiting time.

I think trying to phone for an appointment on a Monday morning or just after a Bank Holiday is impossible - unless it is an emergency I would choose a different time to phone.

CanadianGran Tue 23-Apr-19 19:12:57

That is a long time to wait. I will put my phone on speaker if I am on hold, so I can carry on with other things without the phone at my ear.

annodomini Tue 23-Apr-19 19:40:32

I know that more than one line is open at peak times (8am - 9am) in our GP practice and there are usually two on the reception desk as well. It's, generally speaking, a well run practice.

callgirl1 Tue 23-Apr-19 21:20:38

Our practice was in the same building as another. Last summer the 2 practices merged under a new name. Now when we ring up, we first of all get a recording of one of the doctors, then another one of a different man telling us what to do in an emergency, followed by a female recording giving a list of services and what buttons to press, then when we press the required button, more often than not yet another recording telling us that they are very busy, would we like to hold or call back later? I always hold, but it can take around 10 minutes before speaking to someone, and that`s on top of the time taken by all the recordings. Very frustrating. Under the old system we rang and got through to a receptionist straightaway.

jenpax Tue 23-Apr-19 21:44:17

My doctors also has two recordings before you can even contemplate speaking to a person, the first is the “you will be asked what you are calling about” spiel lasting a couple of minutes then on to another going on about flu jabs! After you listen to these you often get the engaged tone and have to start all over again?

Telly Tue 23-Apr-19 22:02:05

Ours is very poor too, always engaged. Tried to book a GP appointment online, earliest one is two weeks away.

callgirl1 Tue 23-Apr-19 23:01:28

We can only book on the day. We are advised to call when they open at 8.30 am. It takes about 40 minutes before it stops being engaged, then they usually say all appointments are gone. We are offered "sit and wait", but it`s horrible sitting there for ages, an hour and a half one time, just waiting to be called.

Ginny42 Tue 23-Apr-19 23:08:11

We are asked not to call between 8.00 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. as that is for emergencies only. I started dialling shortly after 10.30 and at intervals throughout the day.

Chewbacca Tue 23-Apr-19 23:18:13

I was contacted by my GP practice and was told I needed to see a GP for meds review. Made the appointment there and then for 3 weeks later (first one available). 2 days before the appointment, I received a phone call saying that the GP would be on holiday and I was to rebook. First appointment is in 24 days time. In the meantime, I needed a repeat prescription for the meds the GP wants to review, so popped in to speak to the receptionist just before the Easter weekend. Was assured someone would call me to advise. Heard nothing so went again today. No trace of my request. Maybe tomorrow....

M0nica Wed 24-Apr-19 07:35:29

I went into surgery to book a GP appointment in early April and was told April was fully booked. The only alternative was the duty doctor scheme which works much as callgirl described - but without the sit and wait option.

My minor problem is not urgent enough to need to be seen on the day, but I would rather not wait a month to be seen. For the time being I am hoping the problem will resolve itself without medical intervention. I could try my local pharmacist, DD swears by the pharmacist as quicker and better than doctor for most minor problems.

Urmstongran Wed 24-Apr-19 07:57:32

Our surgery is good for getting an appointment. If it’s urgent you do get seen the same day. If not urgent, it’s usually within a week. For which we are grateful as we hear some horror stories!

Annoyingly though when you ring up you wait for the receptionist whilst music is played and a recording keeps interrupting to let you know that the line is busy but ‘please hold as your call is important to us’. Which sounds daft - as though they are hoping to sell you something instead of just providing a service!

Redtop1 Wed 24-Apr-19 10:11:16

I dread having to make an appointment at our surgery, it doesn’t seem to matter what time of day you call they are always busy with up to 10 in the queue, occasionally you get a recorded message after you have waited a while 5-10 minutes to press a number and you can keep your position in the queue and they will call you back. The last couple of times I have gone with this option and waited for them to call me which has taken another 40 minutes (so that is a total so far of approx 50 minutes trying to make an appointment) . They call back you answer and a prerecorded message says that you are now number 3 in the queue, so I put the phone on speak and wait another 43 minutes to get to speak to a person!!! Then you are told the earliest appointment is in 3 weeks.

The worst thing is that the appointment is with the nurse, you can’t do an online booking for this and it is for a blood test that the surgery requested as a note on your repeat prescription and note they will not issue an further medication until you have the blood test. This is for Blood pressure tablets that I have been taking for 30+ years ad you shouldn’t stop taking the medication without consulting your GP!

So it takes over an hour and a half - crazy, worst thing of all my DH tells me after I rant about this that he needs one as well and yes his took a similar amount of time to book.

Just as well I am retired, don’t know how I would have coped with this if I was working. No wonder the NHS rank most of the surgeries in our area as needs improving, they all all run by one company.

Saggi Wed 24-Apr-19 10:21:20

We cannot even get same day appointment at our surgery.... and as for booking appointments.. I tend to walk or bike to surgery as it’s only 1 mile ,and stand in q to book. It’s usually quicker than waiting on phone.

SillyNanny321 Wed 24-Apr-19 10:29:15

Our surgery worked fine until it was taken into a 'Hub' with 3 practices that were failing badly.
Never an answer until you have waited at least 30-40 minutes. This is denied by the person running the Hub!
We have had local meetings to no avail. I am sure that this is a way to kill us locals off & make way for all the 'Incomers' flocking to our town & the villages surrounding!

M0nica Wed 24-Apr-19 10:31:39

I have just downloaded an email from my surgery with details of the new system from 29 April. Seemingly agreed with the patient group.

It will now be impossible to pre-book a GP consultation You first have to book a telephone consultation with the GP of your choice. To do this you will first have to explain your problem to the receptionist (!!!!!), who will decide how urgent your case is so that the GP can prioritise their phone calls.The GP will then ring you and decide after triaging you whether they need to see you or not.

So next time (and I hope there will not be one) when I am in excruciating pain from an abcess in the anal area, I will not be able get DH to drive me to the surgery 8.30, to find myself being rushed straight though to the duty doctor, who immediately books me into the surgical admissions ward at our local hospital in case it is the symptom of an anal fistula. DH drives me there immediately and I am admitted by 9.30.

Next time, I first spend the morning trying to get through the doctor (or rather DH does because I am in such pain.) I then spend the afternoon waiting around for a phone call because neither Receptionist nor GP prioritise anything as minor as an abcess.By the time I am rung the appointment will no doubt have to be for the next day - and they call that an improved service hmm

Craftycat Wed 24-Apr-19 10:35:24

Until recently if I needed to see a doctor I would go to the surgery for about 7.45 as they open at 8 & see someone there & then.
Now they have started online booking so I can book when it suits me. Much better although the fact you can just turn up is good if it is an emergency.
We are so lucky to have a wonderful little local hospital that has a call in centre attached & you can just turn up anytime between 8.30 - 19.30 & see a doctor or practice nurse. They are just wonderful.
It is just a pity they can only see people over 16 but some years ago when my DiL was a first Mum was worried about baby so we took him there & they did see him & reassure her all was quite normal (which I knew but I also knew she would have to hear it from a doctor!)

JanaNana Wed 24-Apr-19 10:54:21

Our surgery changed its telephone number and changed to a new system a few months ago. So now when you ring up there is an automated message asking you to press a certain number for whatever type of appointment you require. Once you have pressed the required number you are then in a queue telling you what number you are. It's quite frustrating really. Our surgery is about a 20 minute walk away, so now I tend to walk round to it and speak to someone at reception. It still means when given the appointment, we have to go to anyone of the 4 surgery's we are now linked up with and it's rare to be given an appointment at our own surgery where we are registered at, even to see a nurse.

Legs55 Wed 24-Apr-19 10:56:14

Getting through on the phone to my GP Surgery is very much down to luck, I can book phone calls/Practice Nurse/Blood Tests on-line. Only time I had an emergency I was actually at the Surgery visiting Podiatrist who advised me to go & see Pharmacist (next door) who took one look & sent me straight back for an urgent appointment, I had to sit & wait for about 10 mins but saw my own GP & came away with a Prescription.

Rather than ring for an appointment I often go into the Surgery if I'm in Town shopping, don't usually have much of a wait to see the Receptionist as the Surgery uses automated check-in. My gripe is that they close for an hour for Lunch when there's lots of clerical staffconfused

Teddy123 Wed 24-Apr-19 10:59:33

Alternatively change your landline provider so that calls of 59 mins are free.

Free or not, I get sooooo annoyed hanging on my bugbear being TalkTalk and the local Council Tax office. With my GP I no longer phone but pop round to the surgery instead!

Telly Wed 24-Apr-19 11:14:06

Outrageous that any should have to explain their problem to some one who is not medically trained. A mole can be cancer, a sore finger sepsis, etc. They should not have that responsibility.

Aepgirl Wed 24-Apr-19 11:22:42

It is totally unacceptable to have to wait that long. I discovered by chance that my surgery is closed every Thursday afternoon, even though it’s really hard to get an appointment within 2 weeks.