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GPs and opening times, whats going on

(191 Posts)
earnshaw Fri 09-Apr-21 16:16:21

we have been with our local GPs for many years, quite a small practise ,they have , most of the time, been excellent but since the pandemic started, like other practises i suppose, have changed, not for the better, trying to get in is like trying to get into fort knox, we have to ring first, then, if we are lucky, we get a phone appointment sometime, maybe next week, then the doctor, whoever he might be, will decide whether he needs to see you or not ,if he does then you have to make an appointment for whenever, this is not new , with our practise there has always been phone appointments if the problem is treatable without seeing the patient but surely, at this stage , we should be able to see our GP at their surgery , it worries me that this will be the future, not happy

BlueSapphire Fri 09-Apr-21 16:40:59

Exactly the same with my surgery, earnshaw. I do miss being able to book a face to face appointment on line with a doctor I trust and at a time convenient to me. Phone appointments are just not the same. It's pot luck which GP you get with a phone appointment. We have to ring at either 8am or 2pm and then wait in a queue to be triaged and then someone might decide that a doctor will phone. The other day I rang at exactly 2pm, and yet was no 39 in the queue!

BlueBelle Fri 09-Apr-21 16:59:01

No mines been good there is an email option which you can address to your own doctor they answer you with either an email, a call, or a video call
I ve used it twice in the last 13 months and both times I got an email back very quickly telling me to expect a phone call the next morning, a prescription was phoned through to my nearest pharmacy all done within 12 hours (however it was not a new problem ) but it saved me two bus trips and as our buses have been cut considerably, probably a cold wait for them So I m more than happy
I don’t think it’s ideal for everything but for something fairly routine or easily identifiable (my grandson recently had strep throat after telling the GP he had a high temp, sore throat and sore glands, and then spoke to him on the phone the doctor said I can tell by talking to you what you have he could also have done a video call to look at the throat if necessary)
Its worked so far for us and if it frees up the GP and makes the wait less for more complex matters it seems a win win to me

janeainsworth Fri 09-Apr-21 17:05:41

I’ve just rung my practice to request a routine blood test which I have every 6 months.

8.50am on Monday 10th May. 😠😩

Oldbat1 Fri 09-Apr-21 17:16:31

My husband has stage 4 bowel cancer and hasn’t seen a gp for many many years. He is currently on fortnightly chemo and nurses administer that at our local hospital with the Oncologist phoning every few weeks. We can’t just make appointments with our GP practice we are requested to use the e-consult service or to ring asking for a call back. Most of the time this is suffice. However I just wonder how many things the GPs miss by not actually having a face to face with their patients. Progress???

bikergran Fri 09-Apr-21 17:58:16

So do we know how long these none existent surgeries are going to carry on like this. I would have thought they would eventually get back to how they were but not really sure now.

My dad is 85 with PD if he needed to see anyone he could go and que up at the surgery from around 8.00am and would be seen by a Nurse or GP if needed.

EllanVannin Fri 09-Apr-21 18:04:42

I think it's a disgusting state of affairs as it's the same here. Not that I personally need a GP but I've heard it from others who do and are not happy with phone consultations rather than face to face appointments.

I feel so sorry for you Oldbat with a sick husband. If you're not happy about something phone your local hospital and ask them for advice----telling them that you can't get an appointment with your GP. Shame him/her, they get paid enough !

maddyone Fri 09-Apr-21 18:08:08

Can’t see any problem with it. If the doctor needs to do a physical examination he/she will ask you to go into the surgery. If not, they will prescribe over the phone and send the script to your pharmacy for you to pick up. What on earth is wrong with that?
It’s safe, it’s convenient. What’s not to like?

maddyone Fri 09-Apr-21 18:13:28

Incidentally I received excellent treatment from my GP after I was discharged from hospital after I had Covid. I only spoke to her on the phone, she could clearly hear how ill I was (I had a hospital acquired infection which I acquired whilst in hospital with Covid) and she prescribed several drugs to help, said she would call back a few days later to see how I was, which she did.

I’ve noted that GP bashing is the new favourite hobby of some. Perhaps you could consider that eighty plus GPs died of Covid over the last year.

BlueBelle Fri 09-Apr-21 18:15:41

I agree maddy it’s worked fine for us perhaps some surgeries aren’t so on the ball
I don’t think it will change back I think most routine things will be encouraged to do online leaving room for people with more complex needs to get seen more quickly

2020convert Fri 09-Apr-21 18:36:02

Report your concerns to your local Healthwatch which is an independent public health watchdog. If you can’t find your local one, there is Healthwatch England. Alternatively contact your CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group)

Elusivebutterfly Fri 09-Apr-21 19:00:04

I think the phone consultations are useful for a lot of things but hopefully we will be able to see a GP a bit more often soon.
The idea of the e-consult is good but the form is very long and complicated and I am sure it could be better designed.

Elusivebutterfly Fri 09-Apr-21 19:01:29

I think the phone consultations are useful in most cases and hopefully we will be able to see a GP a bit more easily if needed soon.
The idea of the e-consult is good but the form is very long and complicated and I am sure it could be designed better.

suziewoozie Fri 09-Apr-21 19:11:11

Can’t praise ours highly enough. Use the online system they set up last year. If about a medical problem, respond very quickly ( even over weekend) and choice of online exchange, video, in person appt. it’s actually been better than pre covid as saved from going in unless necessary.

growstuff Sat 10-Apr-21 06:59:52

Mine has been appalling. No online system and even if you manage to get through the triage system, you wait days for a phone call, which can come at any time of day, which could be embarrassing if you're working. I've had to sit next to the phone for two days because they don't try again if you don't answer first time. The receptionists are rude and the GPs sound as though they're doing you a favour. They expect you to take photos, which is impossible if you have a mole on your back and nobody to take the photo - there are plenty of people without phones anyway. Phone consultations aren't the way to go for people with mental health conditions.

Phone appointments are probably fine for retired people and those who know what's wrong, but I only ever consult a GP when I don't know what's wrong and I can't buy something over the counter.

There's no point complaining because they don't do anything. I've tried.

NanKate Sat 10-Apr-21 08:10:59

I managed to speak to the receptionist and get 2 phone consultations only by pretending I didn’t have a mobile or access to the Internet. I asked her if the Rapid Access Clinic was still working and she said yes, but I was not offered this even though I had had bad stomach pains for over 3 weeks.

We gave up in the end and went private and I will be having a colonoscopy on Wednesday.

I call our Surgery the Marie Celeste 🙁

H1954 Sat 10-Apr-21 08:35:33

Our surgery has been brilliant. Yes, there's long queues when anyone phones them for whatever reason, that's nothing new and happened before the pandemic hit us.

It should be understood that when a patient has physically attended the surgery, everything they have been in contact with needs to be sanitised and the staff need to change their PPE. All this takes time so avoiding face to face appointments makes complete sense, avoid the contact and lessen the risk of cross contamination.

Naturally, blood tests require face to face appointments as do injections etc.

What we must accept is that these GP's, Practice Nurses, HCA's, Receptionist have a right to work in a safe environment as possible and deserve to be treated with respect.

I volunteer at a Vaccination Hub where we are required to encourage the public to practice social distancing, sanitise their hands and wear a face covering etc................it has truly been an eye opener as to how stupid, rude and damned inconsiderate people can be.

Jaxjacky Sat 10-Apr-21 08:41:06

I’ve used our online consultation twice in the last year, two phone calls back and subsequently two face to face appointments with one fast track referral, so I have no complaints. One call back was at 7pm and I know of people who’ve had prescriptions authorised at 10pm, they are working hard alongside managing the vaccinations. You can still ring if no internet access.

grannysyb Sat 10-Apr-21 08:42:51

Ours has been reasonably OK, but there was one time when the queueing system was so overloaded that I was getting the engaged tone! When I finally got through I burst into tears when she said that there weren't any appointments, she took pity on me and gave me one for the next day I hope that they go back to face to face appointments, there is no substitute for actually seeing people.

nanna8 Sat 10-Apr-21 08:46:59

We have to pay so we can usually get appointments but not the same day unless it is urgent. Most hospital emergency depts are free but not all of them. It is a sort of hybrid system somewhere between the UK and the USA. I wish we had the NHS here.

Gannygangan Sat 10-Apr-21 08:56:49

maddyone

Can’t see any problem with it. If the doctor needs to do a physical examination he/she will ask you to go into the surgery. If not, they will prescribe over the phone and send the script to your pharmacy for you to pick up. What on earth is wrong with that?
It’s safe, it’s convenient. What’s not to like?

But maddyone, it isn't safe.

We all know that cancer cases are not being picked up. Anecdotally, I know a woman who has cancer that was only picked up when she went to A&E in despair. She struggled for months to get a real appointment with the GP but was fobbed off as menopausal and got prescribed an anti-depressant.

This is happening everywhere.

The trouble is GPs do not ask you to go for a face to face appointment in many places. They can't just have a phone call and decide if someone needs to be seen or not. It's ridiculous.

I've been trying to get one for months.

Also, if it's so easy why do we have GPs and surgeries? Surely we could just employ doctors to answer phones and save the NHS a fortune.

It's awful and many people are suffering

growstuff Sat 10-Apr-21 09:04:32

H1954 I do accept all that, but there's no excuse for rudeness.

Do you honestly think people would insist on a face-to-face appointment if one weren't necessary? In my case, it certainly was necessary and I was made to feel guilty for insisting on it. I came off the phone in tears of frustration.

I am not somebody who rings up the GP for a minor sniffle or to make an enquiry which I can resolve elsewhere. I have done everything I can - and more - to ensure I don't become infected with Covid and I expect a professional service. I really can't afford to pay for private consultations.

growstuff Sat 10-Apr-21 09:07:11

Jaxjacky

I’ve used our online consultation twice in the last year, two phone calls back and subsequently two face to face appointments with one fast track referral, so I have no complaints. One call back was at 7pm and I know of people who’ve had prescriptions authorised at 10pm, they are working hard alongside managing the vaccinations. You can still ring if no internet access.

But there's no point in ringing when the queues are so long. The only time anybody can ring is at 8am, which is useless for people on the way to work or trying to get children off to school.

maddyone Sat 10-Apr-21 09:13:33

Some of the comments on here show just how entitled some people are. People don’t get a same day appointment even if they are going private and paying, nor do most people get a same day appointment in countries where the patient pays. Note Nanna8’s comment. I believe she lives in Australia. The totally free (at the point of care) service has lead to an outrageous sense of entitlement. There are insufficient GPs in this country. That’s why it’s difficult at some surgeries to get an appointment. The government doesn’t fund the NHS well enough to give you all an on demand service and so there is rationing. You have to wait for appointments for GP or hospital consultant. Nonetheless we do have an excellent NHS as shown by how it has dealt with the Covid situation.

suziewoozie Sat 10-Apr-21 09:17:32

There is absolutely no excuse for the appalling service suffered by grow and others, none whatsoever. Firstly the online system that many surgeries have should be mandatory. That then leaves the phone lines free for those unable to access or use the internet. The service I’ve had all year is excellent but absolutely possible for every surgery and there are no excuses.