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  • FIRST POST
    • boots_babe
    • By boots_babe 31st May 17, 2:34 PM
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    boots_babe
    Parents unable to get doctor appointment after weeks of trying
    • #1
    • 31st May 17, 2:34 PM
    Parents unable to get doctor appointment after weeks of trying 31st May 17 at 2:34 PM
    Hi,

    My dad has developed an unknown problem, which means heís gone from walking normally and going out on long walks, to barely being able to walk for 2 or 3 minutes without starting to be in severe pain. This is made worse by the fact that my mum is in a wheelchair and my dad is her carer, so if he is immobile then so is she.

    Heís been trying to get a doctorís appointment for almost 3 weeks now, but canít. Their doctor has a ridiculous system whereby you cannot, under any circumstances, book any appointment in advance. You can only ever book on the day. So of course everyone calls at opening time, and the phones are constantly engaged. My parents have called every day for almost three weeks, redialling non-stop on 2 different phones concurrently, and still havenít got an appointment.

    I suggested going in person to the doctorís at opening time, to ask for an appointment, but that is apparently not allowed.

    I suggested going to their local walk-in centre, which my dad has done yesterday. But although they saw him, they said they couldnít help as he needed a referral letter, and that this has to come from his own GP.

    I suggested going to A&E, but their local A&E departments have closed so this isnít an option either.

    My dad is in such pain, plus of course the practical implications of not being able to walk and hence not look after either himself or my mum. It canít be right that he just canít do anything, what else should he be doing?

    Thanks.

Page 2
    • Tiger_greeneyes
    • By Tiger_greeneyes 1st Jun 17, 8:07 PM
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    Tiger_greeneyes
    All GPs have to do home visits - most will check the person is genuinely housebound before agreeing to the visit. Most surgeries have a duty doctor you can speak to (they will usually phone you back) and they will arrange an appointment if needed.

    Some areas of the country are really struggling at the moment for appointments, some are better off and have extended access via hubs offering weekend appointments etc.

    Phone consultations can be useful as you an usually do 2 of those in the space of the time it takes for an F2F appointment

    One option can be to phone 111 for advice - can sometimes help in getting appointments.
    Originally posted by Flugelhorn
    I'm just wondering why there is such a problem with getting appointments these days, are people getting sicker or are there fewer doctors or is it something else? There never used to be a problem. It's not even the holiday season yet - it's going to be awful once doctors are on holiday and children are off school.
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    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 1st Jun 17, 8:23 PM
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    Nicki
    There are fewer GPs per head of population. It is the school holiday period where I live - Whitsun half term.
    • kirtondm
    • By kirtondm 2nd Jun 17, 12:34 PM
    • 133 Posts
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    kirtondm
    ageing population
    more difficult to recruit GP's esp in country areas.
    More demand - The current generation of elderly have grown up with the NHS and will use it.
    • gettingtheresometime
    • By gettingtheresometime 2nd Jun 17, 1:26 PM
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    gettingtheresometime
    Also I would imagine there's a view that general practice is the poor relation of medicine - one below A&E consultants.


    Would worth contacting the practice manager directly, explaining the situation ? You never know, they may be able to work around the problem for him
    Last edited by gettingtheresometime; 02-06-2017 at 1:29 PM.
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    • ElusiveLucy
    • By ElusiveLucy 2nd Jun 17, 4:37 PM
    • 551 Posts
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    ElusiveLucy
    Ring the NHS helpline and then when they say you need a doctors appointment you ring your GP surgery and tell them the NHS helpline said you needed an appointment and they fit you in
    MF 03Sep2016
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 2nd Jun 17, 5:13 PM
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    FBaby
    Surely everyone registered with the surgery is in the same situation and if the phones are jammed and then there are no more appointments, the people must manage to get through. It is therefore hard to believe that for 21 days in a row, your mother has not managed to get through on time once.

    Without doubting that your mum knows what she's doing, I'm wondering whether she's been a bit selective when she told you she's been calling every day. Or maybe she gets up later and therefore calls 1/2 - 1 hour after opening hours and therefore always miss the chance.

    Either that, or if it is truly as bad as she claims, then it is more than time to call your local CCG and put a complaint in and this is way beyond acceptable.
    • boots_babe
    • By boots_babe 9th Jun 17, 7:51 PM
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    boots_babe
    Surely everyone registered with the surgery is in the same situation and if the phones are jammed and then there are no more appointments, the people must manage to get through. It is therefore hard to believe that for 21 days in a row, your mother has not managed to get through on time once.

    Without doubting that your mum knows what she's doing, I'm wondering whether she's been a bit selective when she told you she's been calling every day. Or maybe she gets up later and therefore calls 1/2 - 1 hour after opening hours and therefore always miss the chance.

    Either that, or if it is truly as bad as she claims, then it is more than time to call your local CCG and put a complaint in and this is way beyond acceptable.
    Originally posted by FBaby
    Sorry only just seen your reply. I know it sounds ridiculous, I questioned it quite hard with my parents too, as it sounds like a situation that shouldn't be possible.

    But it is. My mum has cited several friends that have had exactly the same issue, so my dad is far from the only person having this issue unfortunately. She really is calling on the dot of the opening time, in fact my mum and dad are both calling on separate phones concurrently - she has given me chapter and verse each time I speak on the phone to her, about exactly what she did, how many times she redialled, how long it took to get through, and that at that point there were no appointments left. Unbelievable :-(

    I've looked on the NHS site and their surgery gets an appalling review score (only 1 star out of 5 across all reviews).

    It's just made worse by the fact that my parents were forced to move to this practice (only a few months ago) when their existing one closed down. So they've not had much choice in the situation.

    I've looked myself at what other surgeries are in the area that they could move to. The nearest other option is quite a lot further away, but I've tried to encourage them to consider moving, as it would be better to be further but at least be able to be seen.

    But as they are very (very!) regular visitors to the GP they're not keen.

    We're just in the process of helping them to move up to be near to us (they're a few hours away currently) and the new area has lots of great GPs nearby, so hopefully this problem will go away in a few months for them when they move.
    Last edited by boots_babe; 09-06-2017 at 7:53 PM.

    • avogadro
    • By avogadro 10th Jun 17, 2:29 PM
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    avogadro
    I would be looking to change surgery, given your parents' experience and the bad reviews on the website.
    • suejb2
    • By suejb2 10th Jun 17, 4:40 PM
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    suejb2
    Doctors
    Do your parents have an out of hours emergency service in their area? I have BARDOC
    Life is like a bath, the longer you are in it the more wrinkly you become.
    • boots_babe
    • By boots_babe 10th Jun 17, 4:45 PM
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    boots_babe
    I didn't know what BARDOC was so have just googled it, it looks like a means of seeing an emergency GP?

    I don't think that would help, as my dad has already been to a walk-in centre and seen a GP there, but they said he needs a referral to a specialist, and that that can only be done by his own GP.

    • teddysmum
    • By teddysmum 10th Jun 17, 4:47 PM
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    teddysmum
    I would be looking to change surgery, given your parents' experience and the bad reviews on the website.
    Originally posted by avogadro


    There aren't many options available.


    Our practice used to be very good ,with an open surgery, on 5 mornings a week. However, because of staff loses (two doctors being replaced by a pharmacist and nurse practitioner ,who treat minor ailments ) and people abusing the walk in by using it to request repeat prescriptions and vaccinations (despite many warnings that this would lead to cancellation),the open surgery is no more and we have bookable appointments, including same day ones , but they are difficult to get.


    On top of this is the problem that the three practice owners are approaching 60 and retirement, so the practice will close. There are lots of small practices nearby, but they are probably full, like ours and don't have the specialist nurses (diabetes, COPD, women's problems etc). On talking to a patient of one, I gather that they seem to have little knowledge of diabetes , a future worry, as mine is well controlled, but is not guaranteed to stay that way.
    • boots_babe
    • By boots_babe 11th Jun 17, 4:11 PM
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    boots_babe
    For those saying surely this can't be the case, and maybe they aren't ringing as much as they tell me they are, this is the front cover of their local paper from this week :-(

    http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=935e052e-28ac-4560-9238-a88b7ec2edd0&pnum=0

    The sooner my parents get to move up near to us the better.

    • jack_pott
    • By jack_pott 11th Jun 17, 4:38 PM
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    jack_pott
    It's just made worse by the fact that my parents were forced to move to this practice (only a few months ago) when their existing one closed down.
    Originally posted by boots_babe
    If there are thousands of others who have transferred to the same practice, that would account for the difficulty getting appointments.

    When the last two GPs resigned from our surgery, it was taken into administration by the DoH and run on locums, even though there are three other practices in town. When they sold the building I thought they were planning to close it down, but Virgin Healthcare have built new premises now.
    • pmduk
    • By pmduk 11th Jun 17, 7:09 PM
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    pmduk
    My GP does phone consultations too, it's a great system. You get to be heard without taking up an appointment for something that doesn't warrant it, but if following the phone call you're deemed in need of an appointment, they'll book you one.
    Originally posted by boots_babe

    This is the way all appointments are made at my GP's. It's great as so many issues can be sorted out on the phone that it frees up appointments for those who need them.
    • teddysmum
    • By teddysmum 11th Jun 17, 8:37 PM
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    teddysmum
    This is the way all appointments are made at my GP's. It's great as so many issues can be sorted out on the phone that it frees up appointments for those who need them.
    Originally posted by pmduk
    It also means you don't have to go out if feeling unwell. It is horrible when unwell, having to sit in a fuggy waiting room with coughers, sneezers, noisy chatterers and naughty children (the sick ones are quiet).
    • shandyclover
    • By shandyclover 11th Jun 17, 10:52 PM
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    shandyclover
    For those saying surely this can't be the case, and maybe they aren't ringing as much as they tell me they are, this is the front cover of their local paper from this week :-(

    http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=935e052e-28ac-4560-9238-a88b7ec2edd0&pnum=0

    The sooner my parents get to move up near to us the better.
    Originally posted by boots_babe
    I have tried getting appointments in the same surgery - almost impossible! Last year my dad visited and got food poisoning from a meal out with friends, he has a heart condition and I could not get through to the gp from work. He managed to get himself down to the walk in centre and they had him wait 45 mins then the receptionist said they couldn't see him because despite being British he had just moved to Australia and not entitled to see the doctor (!). In the end I went to the pharmacy on the way home, desperate for advice, the pharmacist was alarmed, called the surgery themselves. I don't know if they have a special number but my dad was called by the doctor and we picked up a prescription for him 30 mins later! We have had a brush with menegitis last year and the only way I was able to get daughter seen was SHROPDOC, an out of hours emergency doctor. Maybe worth being seen that way then insisting a referral to their GP. As a matter of interest I have been with this surgery 6 years and never met 'my' gp.
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