Gransnet forums


GP Appointments

(74 Posts)
JustGrandma Thu 15-Nov-18 23:58:28

I mentioned this as an answer on another thread but I thought it may make an interesting discussion in its own right.

I've recently had to make a GP appointment. I hardly ever go to my GP, I'm terrible at waiting until things are really bad before I seek help, and for minor illnesses I just buy over the counter stuff and assume my immune system will sort it out (which it always has done so far), so I had no idea that I was unable to book a routine appointment at my surgery any longer. Instead, I had to fill in an online form. I then got a phone call within 24 hours saying the GP would like to see me and an appointment was then made for me. I was told that I could of course have made an appointment for an urgent problem (and that this would be triaged to assess whether it was actually urgent), but that routine appointments were no longer a thing you could book yourself.

I'm not sure what I think of this system - I guess it weeds out time wasters and the worried well, and allows doctors to maybe phone them to reassure rather than use up slots, but it seemed odd that I couldn't make an appointment. Is this the way GPs all operate now? What do people think of it? I was able to easily get my problem across on the online form but I worry about the very elderly. I wonder if this is contributing to the queues in Emergency Departments.

mcem Fri 16-Nov-18 00:06:43

Today I had a letter from the gp surgery asking me to make an appointment in one month to have bloods taken by the practice nurse. Phoned there and then and was given a choice of appointment times.
No problem at all.
When I attend that appointment I 'll make another with the gp for a few days later so that we can discuss the results.
That's normal procedure here.

gmelon Fri 16-Nov-18 00:30:09

Our practice has the on call GP ring you back same day either lunchtime or pm.
If deemed necessary an appointment is made there and then by the GP.
I really like this system. I have MS. It saves me having the hassle of going to the surgery. Even if i didnt have MS I'd still be pleased with it.
Often when I've been offered an appointment by the GP I say no because I can't be bothered with going up there.

BlueBelle Fri 16-Nov-18 04:50:16

We can still make routine appointments (as far as I know I don’t use them very often) but if you want a same day appointment you see a paramedic who decides if you need further treatment with a doctor or not

morethan2 Fri 16-Nov-18 06:02:46

We have two options, 1, you can just turn up and wait in a queue. 2, you can make an appointment and maybe wait two weeks, longer or shorter depending on how many want to see the doctor. However we have massive housbulding going on with no new g.p surgeries. So I wouldn’t be surprised if our wonderful doctors have to introduce somthing similar in the future. I agree that for those who for one reason or another can’t do it on line it may be a problem. I’m not sure I’d be happy to input my private sensitive medical information online or talk about it in a full waiting room. Do you live in a big city JustGrandma ? I hope whatever was the problem that you’ve now fully recovered.

Grannyknot Fri 16-Nov-18 06:47:08

I can make a GP appointment by telephone (easy to get through if I pick the right time of day, and never try to call on a Monday morning); or I can log in to the practice website and choose a doctor and a day and time of my preference, for all appointments.

Greyduster Fri 16-Nov-18 07:19:05

What if you don’t have the facility to fill in an online form? I know several elderly people who won’t have anything to do with the internet. It sounds rather a circuitous way of doing things, but as morethan has said, with the increase in new patient pressure, GPs have to find new ways of making the best of their time. We can still make telephone appointments and don’t usually have to wait too long.

NfkDumpling Fri 16-Nov-18 07:34:42

It can be difficult to see a doctor at our practice without seeing a nurse practitioner first, but the receptionists are very good and will bypass if necessary. There’s usually a couple of weeks to wait unless it’s urgent.

They also do telephone consultations with the doctor which are great. Dead on time, and a decision made on the spot with a prescription waiting at the chemist or surgery within the day.

Willynilly Fri 16-Nov-18 08:49:42

It's almost impossible at my practice. If you ring first thing you might just be lucky enough to see a nurse practitioner at some point but otherwise, no chance. Even online appointments are very rarely available. It's a huge problem. I recently needed a referral for hospital tests and ended up writing to my GP to tell him what I needed and why. Fortunately he responded and I'm now booked for those tests, but goodness only knows how I will get the results.
I can fully understand, although I don't condone, why people use A&E around here.

M0nica Fri 16-Nov-18 08:55:59

justgrandma, in your situation I would change my GP's practice.

What happens to those who are not online, not just the elderly but the learning disabled living in the community and others?

What about those who are not good at assembling their thoughts and might leave off information that might trigger an appointment?

At my surgery, you do wait weeks for routine appointments, but like you I rarely go to the doctor and most of my appointments, when they occur, are acute appointments and I have never been triaged for any of them.

Willynilly Fri 16-Nov-18 09:02:36

Monica I've had that said to me too (that I should change practice), but there are only two practices in my town, both inadequate according to recent quality reports. In some areas the health provisions are poor or very poor with little chance of improvement in the near future and changing practices won't help at all.

Pittcity Fri 16-Nov-18 09:07:13

My routine blood test result appointments are done over the phone. The nurse takes the blood and the GP rings me a couple of days later to adjust meds and talk over symptoms. No appointment needed as they are like hens teeth here.

FlexibleFriend Fri 16-Nov-18 11:52:04

We have a similar system although it changes regularly but all it means is you say it's urgent when it's not. Otherwise you'd never get an appointment. Routine appointments if available are for 6 weeks ahead. Otherwise you phone or go online at 8am and grab an on the day or 24 hour appointment. Generally it works for me, I have to see my GP quite a lot and it's never trivial and I always manage to see my own GP.

Teacheranne Fri 16-Nov-18 12:58:35

I have a choice of methods of seeing a GP. I can phone or visit to book an appointment for no further ahead than two weeks. But these slots are often all gone so I prefer to book online at 8.15am when they put up new slots two weeks ahead. These tend to be with random GPs, often locums. Or if really unwell, I can always get a short appointment the same day.

The issue is booking appointments with the same GP, I have ongoing health problems and it does get frustrating having to explain to a different person each time. However, recently a doctor I liked gave me her secretary's phone number to book appointments with her - but then the doctor left the surgery!

My practice is a large teaching one so often has GPs in training for a few months at a time, some of these are lovely and keen to help but then they go and leave just when you get to know them!

I book all my repeat prescriptions online, they are then sent directly to a chemist and I collect them a couple of days later - brilliant service.

NfkDumpling Fri 16-Nov-18 14:02:43

Apparently we can book appointments and repeat prescriptions on line, but have never bothered as the surgery is only forty yards away. (One reason for buying the house!)

JustGrandma Fri 16-Nov-18 20:55:53

Wow, really interesting answers and a big range of differences. Thanks for all the responses.

Yes I do live in a densely populated city morethan2, and I've chatted to a couple of local friends today who said that their GPs are also changing to this system. I completely agree with the brilliance of online prescriptions - I started using a postal one a few months ago and it's just made it all so easy - but again - would the very elderly have the computer savvy to take advantage of this?

Thanks for your good wishes morethan2 - it's nothing serious or urgent, just mechanical! #falling to bits ............. grin!!!!

JustGrandma Fri 16-Nov-18 20:59:54

Also - rather than be called in for a medication review this year I was phoned by a pharmacist who is now attached to my GP practice, and my review was done by him over the phone.

NanaandGrampy Fri 16-Nov-18 21:30:30

I can’t speak too highly of our GPS. I can make an apt online for today , tomorrow or the next 14 days , selecting which doctor or practice nurse I want to see.

Or I can ring up and so far have not been refused a same day apt.

A year ago , at the practice where I previously lived I could try and ring but generally I had to wait 2 weeks for an apt , it would have been a miracle to get a same day apt, and I never saw the same doctor twice !

Blinko Fri 16-Nov-18 21:42:01

Like many others on here, same day appointments with our surgery are difficult to impossible. The surgery is joining forces with a group of surgeries in the locality to manage the appointments system, reviews and prescriptions. They are aiming to be accessible at least by phone, and in person if deemed necessary, seven days a week eventually. There is a linked pharmacy and we get our regular meds automatically online.

A couple of years ago after a cruise, I fell ill and from the internet thought I probably had e coli. They saw me right away after a telecon with one of the GPs. Excellent service, I thought. I was well again within the week.

I think all surgeries are seeking ways to modernise. The days when we could just turn up, or indeed expect a home visit are long gone.

Esspee Sat 17-Nov-18 09:03:23

I'm in Scotland (don't know if that is relevant) but if we need to see a doctor i.e. urgently, then we are often asked to come right away or at worst the next day. If it is non urgent e.g. prescription up for review, then it can be for the next week. If however you wish to see your specific doctor it could be three weeks hence.
I am extremely satisfied with the NHS in my area.

Chewbacca Sat 17-Nov-18 09:12:58

No same day GP appointments in my area, unless you're at deaths door and possibly not even then. All appointments, whether for GP, blood tests, healthcare clinics or health practioners, are a 3 to 4 week wait, no exceptions. Even follow up checks, on discharge from hospital, are the same.

Gma29 Sat 17-Nov-18 09:26:25

Our surgery has a great system. Just turn up in the morning and wait, or, book an appointment either online, by phone, or in person. Booked appointments can be 3 weeks away, but sometimes less. The surgery also dispenses any prescription.

It would be impossible to change practice- there isn’t another!

annemac101 Sat 17-Nov-18 09:26:28

If I need to see a dr I have to phone surgery and ask for a callback. The Dr will phone within two hours I then have to tell him or her what my problem is and will ge given an appointment if needed ,if not a prescription. The appointment will be with that dr we have no choice over what dr we see. Sometimes I find it difficult to explain myself on the phone,I really think we need eye to eye contact when we're worried about something. I used to be a GP receptionist and I know how many people come to see the GP week after week just like a routine, most were elderly of mental health patients I often wonder what happens to the within this new regime.

EllanVannin Sat 17-Nov-18 09:31:29

Same here Chewbacca. I have an annual blood test for CKD and an impaired glucose tolerance but it had been forgotten about until I rang to remind them. Hopeless !

maryhoffman37 Sat 17-Nov-18 09:38:59

We just make doctor appointments over the phone, as in the past.