Gransnet forums


Hung on 28 mins to book an appointment

(55 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?

Sparklefizz Wed 24-Apr-19 11:27:35

I could try my local pharmacist, DD swears by the pharmacist as quicker and better than doctor for most minor problems.

.... and then the people who have taken in a prescription to the chemist have to wait ages for it because the pharmacist is being seeing all the people who can't get a GP appointment ! hmm

tigger Wed 24-Apr-19 11:30:52

It seems pretty clear to me that many Health Centres couldn't couldn't manage their way out of a paper bag. A receptionist can leave a very long queue to sort out something without getting someone to cover, I have waited 40 minutes for my call to be answered. It seems that they are either understaffed or badly managed.

Conni7 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:50:50

If I want to see the dentist or optician I ring up, someone answers straight away, and I make an appointment. Is it perhaps because I partially pay for these?!

If I ring the surgery I have to press buttons, and get a message that it would be better to book on-line. So I try this and the only available appointments are phlebotomy. So I try ringing again. When (if) I get through I am then told that all appointments are full and a new set of appointments will be issued in three days time. Don't ring before 10 am in three days, when of course everyone else is ringing. When I finally get through I'm told all appointments are booked and a new set will be "released" in three days time. I am going round in circles here and still don't have the appointment.

Barmeyoldbat Wed 24-Apr-19 11:59:15

Given up both trying for online or telephone appointments instead on the day I am down at the surgery clutching a hot water bottle and a cup of coffee waiting for the doors to open at 8.00 and be first in the queue. Works overtime but what a lot of trouble just to get the appointment. Going to take garden chair next time.

sarahellenwhitney Wed 24-Apr-19 12:07:35

On a recent telephone call to my local council concerning the new council tax charges the message was 'you are number 28 in the queue'
I decided it was quicker, and cheaper. to travel the three miles to their offices by car, buying a coffee on the way, than what the costs would have been on my phone bill.

MTDancer Wed 24-Apr-19 12:10:08

Sometimes when we ring we are in a queue then, before we get to the end of the queue, we are cut off!
We have complained but told there is nothing wrong with the system.
We can book GP apps. online but often there is none for over 4 weeks (like today)
Cannot book nurses online

sluttygran Wed 24-Apr-19 12:24:31

I’m amazed that some of you are able to get appointments at all. Our surgery has made it pretty much impossible to have a routine appointment, although they are very good about children’s emergencies.
We can have online consultations, and the GP will get back to you, which works quite well, but when they decide that you need to be seen, there is no chance of an appointment unless it becomes an emergency.
I have written to the practice manager, who agrees that it’s most unsatisfactory, but they are short of five GPs, and are coping with a huge list of predominantly elderly or very young patients, so they’re terribly overstretched.
I expect it will all be privatised and pay-per-visit before too long!

grandtanteJE65 Wed 24-Apr-19 12:24:55

Here it is not only the doctor's phone that works like that, but the vet, our insurance company, dentist, town council, municipal heating plant etc. where you wait for an age before the people ahead of you in the queue are attended to.

It is maddening, isn't it, especially as appointments could be book online - our optician does so, so so could others too.

yellowcanary Wed 24-Apr-19 12:53:21

A couple of months ago there was a mix-up with my prescription at the chemist so went round to the surgery (round the corner), couldn't sort it at the prescription desk so asked to see the doctor - emergencies only at that time, I was still coughing with not much of a voice so said I needed to see him/her about that as well (due to go into hospital two weeks later - was asked if it was emergency so said yes (annoyed by this time) receptionist said to go home and the doctor would call to make an appointment, bearing in mind this was about 5 pm and surgery shut at 6 pm I said I would wait because guaranteed I would have just got back home when they phoned so what was the point of that. Half hour later in an empty surgery finally got called, got my prescription and a check over - lungs and chest were almost clear so fine for hospital - and he was thankful I hadn't gone in when I was feeling very rough and had no voice as they wouldn't have done anything anyway ????? What is the point of a surgery if that is the case?

CardiffJaguar Wed 24-Apr-19 12:55:03

The problem of telephoning surgeries is one of national difficulty. My own surgery is exemplary which just goes to show that other surgeries could learn some thing from it. But every surgery has a different mix of patients with a lot of differences in needs. That should mean each surgery seeks the best solution for them and their patients.

Clearly that does not happen in far too many cases. I did read of an attempt to push out best practice but that is not possible due to the doctors' contracts. However the problem is recognised nationally so we must hope that somewhere somebody will provide an answer.

fluttERBY123 Wed 24-Apr-19 12:56:43

We can always get same day appt if we start call at 8 and queue for about 30 minutes. If non urgent we can book on line and choose gp.

Callistemon Wed 24-Apr-19 15:03:34

sluttygran we can usually get a same day or next morning appointment if it is an emergency - any other appointments are at least 4 weeks wait and longer than that if you want to see a specific GP.

Phoebes Wed 24-Apr-19 15:34:48

I’m feeling rather annoyed myself at the moment. I have been ill since before Christmas with a recurrent chest infection. I am asthmatic and 76 years old, so it is important that I get the right treatment. So far, I have managed to see a practice nurse twice, who gave me steroids and antibiotics, neither of which helped. I rang again last week asking to see a doctor and was given the name of a doctor I have seen before. When I turned up at the practice, I saw a nice young man, who was not the doctor I had been told I would see and whom I assumed was new to the practice.
He was very thorough and arranged for me to have a blood test and a chest x-ray, as he thought my breathing problems could be connected with my atrial fibrillation. I have had this problem for a long time and have also had two mini-strokes.
I later found out he was another nurse practitioner, not a doctor at all. I had the x-ray and the blood test and, as he had left a message that I should see a doctor for the results, I rang this morning to make an appointment, only to be told that I couldn’t have a doctor’s appointment until May 9th, and then with a doctor I have never heard of. I feel that as I have been ill for so long, I should have an appointment ASAP, especially as it could be heart-related. What do you think?

VIOLETTE Wed 24-Apr-19 16:37:49

Oh dear ...appointments ! I cannot find a doctor with a vacancy on the list …………….so soon when I move I am going to be without a doctor for my necessary prescriptions !

Callistemon Wed 24-Apr-19 16:48:25

I think you should phone again and insist on seeing someone before 9th May, Phobebes.

Happysexagenarian Wed 24-Apr-19 17:06:52

Phoebes I am in a similar situation to you. I have asthma and recurring chest infections which are exacerbated by repeated sinus infections. This has been troubling me for two years and seems to be impossible to cure. I take antibiotics and steroids about every 6-8 weeks. Our Doctor's appointments system works surprisingly well. The phone is answered quickly and I can usually get an appointment within 5 days, or even the same day if I call early and if my need is urgent enough. It occasionally means I have to travel to a practice in the next village but that's not a problem. Last year our medical practice introduced online appointment booking and an E-Consult system which I have used several times. It involves completing a lengthy list of questions about your condition and the medication or treatment you require (I keep medication containers to know the names and dosage etc), the form is then reviewed by a doctor at my practice who issues a prescription if necessary. He texts or phones me to tell me he has issued a prescription to the pharmacy for me to collect. I requested a prescription via E-Consult at 11.30am on Monday and collected it at 2pm when the pharmacy reopened after lunch. I know online medical interaction is not for everyone, but it can speed up some processes.

grannysyb Wed 24-Apr-19 17:53:57

When I was a GP receptionist I was NEVER allowed to give medic

grannysyb Wed 24-Apr-19 18:05:03

When I was a GP receptionist I was NEVER allowed to give medical advice, and I would not have been happy to do so. Thankfully I have a good practice and am able to get appointments reasonably quickly. If I was with one like some of the above I think I would be complaining to the practice manager. Part of the problem is that the government has not trained enough doctors, and more GPs are retiring earlier. Don't know what happened to previous post of mine!

Barmeyoldbat Wed 24-Apr-19 19:36:52

Well would you believe it. Woke up early feeling c..p, my backache that I had middle for the last few days was far worse. Did all the usual things throughout the day but it only got worse so I could hardly stand, then I started to get stomach pains. So at 5.45 I phoned the surgery to see if they were still ope and did they have a free appointment. Can you get here by 6 was the reply, yes said me and I arrived at 6.58. Saw the Dr straight away, did a wee test and it was a UTI. Got my prescription and here I am for the first time today pain free. I can't complain.

grannybuy Wed 24-Apr-19 20:12:34

I handed in a form which required a doctor's signature five weeks ago. I have gone in to surgery, and called but it's 'still with the doctor'. I called this morning and I said to the receptionist that maybe I should have 'wasted' an actual appointment to get it signed. I wouldn't do that, but it would have been done by now if I had. I know it's not urgent, or an illness, but five weeks, and counting, for a signature seems a long time.

annehinckley Wed 24-Apr-19 21:13:16

Brace yourselves, ladies. With the creeping privatization of the NHS things will only get worse.

Dinahmo Thu 25-Apr-19 00:01:07

I'm horrified to read some of the tales on this thread. It's absolutely appalling.

I've lived in rural France for the last 10 years where there is a shortage of GPs because they don't seem to want to live in the sticks. However, we have an excellent service here. I telephoned yesterday morning because I needed a repeat prescription and got an appointment the same day. Last Friday I went to the pharmacy to collect my meds only to find that my prescription had run out. I normally get one for 6 months but the intern had given me one for 3 months. The pharmacy gave them to me anyway and dealt with the paperwork when I went back with the new one.

Appointments are for 15 minutes and our GP doesn't rush.
The normal fee is 23 euros but I pay 7 euros 50 (perhaps because I'm over 70). The system is sort of privatised in that if we need an X-ray or other tests we have to make our own appointments (GP will recommend someone) and we have to pay for those test. Some of the costs are reimbursed via the top-up insurance. The NHS pays for our healthcare at the moment but how much longer that will go on for is uncertain because of Brexit.

Over the last few years we have used the health system here quite a lot and so we feel a bit like health tourists

I'm asthmatic and a bronchitis sufferer and my sympathies are with those ladies who have to wait for weeks for an appointment. After several bouts of bronchitis between the end of September and mid January I decided that
I really needed to try to prevent the infections. I've always taken vitamin C when I'm ill but I now take 2000mg every day plus Vitamin D3. Touch wood I haven't been ill since.

crazyH Thu 25-Apr-19 00:08:05

If you don't live too far from the Surgery, take a drive there, and make an appointment at the desk.

Ginny42 Thu 25-Apr-19 03:08:58

I thought of that crazyH but then the receptionist is then keeping someone hanging on the telephone whilst talking to me! It's a pretty grim picture overall isn't it? Thank goodness you got an emergency appointment Barmeyoldbat, UTI's are nasty and can have very distressing symptoms if not treated.

B9exchange Thu 25-Apr-19 09:14:55

I'm afraid it will indeed get worse, with 25% of doctors predicted to retire within the next four years, and medical schools not offering enough places to train replacements. Same with nurses, who now have to pay for their fees and spend their time in college, instead of getting paid to undergo training on the wards as we did. In our area we have large numbers of new houses going up with no extra GP surgeries and schools to cope with the residents.

The 'appless' Matt Hancock's focus seems to be on using technology to cure the NHS, instead of focusing on patient safety. He is introducing a new app for smart phones that will in theory allow you to order prescriptions, book appointments, and view your medical record from your phone, available to everyone come July.

Some hopes, surgeries don't have the appointments to make available online, they won't grant you access to your record, apart from medications and allergies, because they don't have the time to redact third party data, and it will only be useful for ordering prescriptions which a lot of surgeries let you do direct online anyway.

I tried to register for the app and it crashed on me.
You have to upload a picture of your passport or driving licence and then record and upload a video of yourself saying a number that they will give you. If the picture on your passport or driving licence doesn't exactly look like you in the video you can't register, and every time you try again, it takes you back to the beginning and you have to put all the information in again. If you dare to click to read the privacy notice when it appears, the same thing happens! After four attempts I gave up, I was getting nowhere.

Reported that to the NHS app support line two weeks ago and I am still waiting for a reply. (though when I mentioned this on Twitter someone from support tweeted me rapidly back and asked me to send him a direct Twitter message, making it look as though they were responsive. I am not putting my personal details on social media, what is the point of a support line if they are not going to use it!)

I can't see it will offer me anything that I don't already have now, I can order online prescriptions, there are no online appointments available, and through Patient Access only medications and allergies are viewable, and all the app does is route me through to Patient Access.

If you want to have a go, the link is here