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[Misc] GP wait times



jcdenton08

Enemy of the People
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Oct 17, 2008
10,289
Firstly, let me preface this by saying I am extremely grateful for the NHS. The staff on the front line work extremely hard under enormous pressure, understaffing and huge workloads. I couldn’t be more grateful for the care I received when hospitalised with COVID, and the staff at the RSCH were wonderful.

But I just wanted to share this, as a sign of how much things have changed under the Tory government and, particularly, post Brexit.

I just had to wait three weeks for a GP appointment. This involves phoning up exclusively between the hours of 9am - 1pm (Mon-Fri). The appointment I had was with a registrar. I haven’t been able to get an appointment with “my” assigned GP for years.
I then had to wait over an hour at the practice due to delays. I was told I needed blood tests - and told to phone back the next day between 9am and 1pm. The receptionist solely books guests in, in person.

I phoned and was given an appointment three weeks later to take blood.

When the result comes in (and not before), I had to make an appointment - the earliest being another three weeks time.

In total, 9 weeks to see a GP, get a blood test, then follow up appointment.

In the 90s and 00s - in the same surgery - you’d get an appointment generally the same day, sometimes next day if they were unusually busy. They’d send you to the nurse to do the blood taking there and then, and ask you to book a follow up appointment on the way out for 3-4 days time when the results come back.

Gone from 4 days to 9 weeks turnaround.
 

stewart12

Well-known member
Jan 16, 2019
1,443
it's become an absolute disgrace and seems to only be getting worse and worst

the whole mad gold rush in the morning and afternoon for an appointment is mental, how can this be the best process?! I imagine the reception staff are stressed beyond belief during those periods for a start

In my previous job I'd help (homeless) clients book GP appointments. Most were registered at Arch which is the specialist homeless GP in Brighton. I can't speak highly enough of them and getting an appointment was at least achievable (partly due to having less patients than most surgeries but also because it is exceptionally well run). When a client moved to another surgery it instantly became a nightmare. How can it be so difficult to get a GP appointment?!
 

Simster

"the man's an arse"
Jul 7, 2003
54,030
Surrey
My local GP is absolutely terrible. To get an appointment, you have to call at 8am sharp and even then you are likely to be as far back as 25th in the queue. And you can forget seeing your GP that week unless you're at risk of death.

I've given up. Luckily my local hospital is only 10 mins down the road and has an on call GP. I use that if I have to go at all.

Needless to say, it was all noticeably better before the Tories took charge.
 


JBizzle

Well-known member
Apr 18, 2010
5,757
Seaford
It is frightening. So many people will not even try to see a doctor now, and major problems are bound to go undiagnosed.

As you say, a direct consequence of Tory government, and particularly, Brexit.
I think you'll find that it's nothing to do with that, more to do with the amount of immigrants we have living on barges and in camps near Dover that stops people in Shropshire getting a GP appointment. :rolleyes:

On a serious note, I had an urgent referral for a blood test earlier this year which was quite an unnerving time. Given that it was urgent, care to guess how long it took before I actually got said blood test? 6 weeks.

Thankfully the test results were all fine, which is most important, and the results actually came back same day which is something about which I really can't complain
 

chickens

Intending to survive this time of asset strippers
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Oct 12, 2022
1,708
Yup, similar experience here, the last time I tried to get an appointment over the phone I made 53 call attempts before the line was even free enough to be able to pick up and put me in the queue.

I have now given up and if I need the doctor I go and stand in the surgery and request an appointment face to face. That has now actually become the most efficient process.

As for seeing a named GP, forget it.

As such you’re entirely dependent on the last doctor you saw being an efficient note taker, and often waste a lot of time repeating yourself if they’re not.

A shambles. This government has done nothing to incentivise new GPs coming through the system to replace and augment those retiring. Absolute negligence, and no quick fix short of increasing migration.

It takes seven or so years to pop a new GP out of the system from beginning an undergraduate degree. We’re f***ed for the foreseeable.
 

beorhthelm

A. Virgo, Football Genius
Jul 21, 2003
35,211
Never had a problem up here but maybe that is because we are registered with a rural practice with less patients maybe? What our surgery did do is stop the practice of many around here of booking appointments weeks in advance "just in case"
that's a factor, i've had night and day difference between city GP and pronvincial town. also the loss of drop in centres, so one less alternative to GP.

fun fact though, GP numbers are going up, quite a lot. why do so many have so many problems getting appointments? personally i think the system is fundementally flawed, as gatekeepers to NHS GP's get bogged down in trivia and referals that could be dealt with in better ways.
 


LamieRobertson

Not awoke
Feb 3, 2008
46,295
SHOREHAM BY SEA
Sometimes it’s not necessarily down to politics but systems …I’m in the middle of that right now

Last Thursday follow up appointment on an ear operation for a BSC on an ear at a clinic in Worthing
Whilst there I pointed out something close to an eye …Doctor said “yep that’s another BSC” …but I need to go back to the GP to get a referral back to her and a biopsy at the same clinic ..even though she’s the expert.
E consult last Friday to GP Surgery…answer Monday …from the new triage system ..we can’t do anything until the doctor who I saw last week writes to them …bllx!

So you end up going in (forget phoning) ..explaining above….apologies a doctor will ring you tomorrow (I don’t need to waste his time just do the referral) ….three days later nothing.

Just as an aside during the period where I had the earlier op and follow-ups …on one day I had five letters, all in separate envelopes) from the NHS one telling me my appointment due three weeks earlier was cancelled 🤦‍♂️
 

PILTDOWN MAN

Well-known member
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Sep 15, 2004
18,452
Hurst Green
It is frightening. So many people will not even try to see a doctor now, and major problems are bound to go undiagnosed.

As you say, a direct consequence of Tory government, and particularly, Brexit.
If you want it to be a political debate may I suggest you look at the contract changes Labour brought in 2004, that changed the surgeries forever. GP's got a huge pay rise for doing massively less.

My surgery, in a village, has four doctors and a paramedic. You can never see a doctor unless you throw a paddy, instead you can see the paramedic within hours. How one person can deal with the majority of people yet the doctors are never around. The surgery is always empty when I go there. Years ago the waiting rooms were full. I had a look at the patient numbers and currently there's less registered than 10 years ago.

COVID was a great excuse for the doctors to remain at home and only take telephone consultations, they appear to like it so much they continue to do it.

There needs to be a change in their contracts to again being the first port of call for the NHS once more. A & E has become that currently.
 

trueblue

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2003
10,264
Hove
Firstly, let me preface this by saying I am extremely grateful for the NHS. The staff on the front line work extremely hard under enormous pressure, understaffing and huge workloads. I couldn’t be more grateful for the care I received when hospitalised with COVID, and the staff at the RSCH were wonderful.

But I just wanted to share this, as a sign of how much things have changed under the Tory government and, particularly, post Brexit.

I just had to wait three weeks for a GP appointment. This involves phoning up exclusively between the hours of 9am - 1pm (Mon-Fri). The appointment I had was with a registrar. I haven’t been able to get an appointment with “my” assigned GP for years.
I then had to wait over an hour at the practice due to delays. I was told I needed blood tests - and told to phone back the next day between 9am and 1pm. The receptionist solely books guests in, in person.

I phoned and was given an appointment three weeks later to take blood.

When the result comes in (and not before), I had to make an appointment - the earliest being another three weeks time.

In total, 9 weeks to see a GP, get a blood test, then follow up appointment.

In the 90s and 00s - in the same surgery - you’d get an appointment generally the same day, sometimes next day if they were unusually busy. They’d send you to the nurse to do the blood taking there and then, and ask you to book a follow up appointment on the way out for 3-4 days time when the results come back.

Gone from 4 days to 9 weeks turnaround.
My GP is similar. Good when you get to see them but most referrals now drop into a black hole. I tell myself that if it’s something REALLY urgent, they’ll be on it - but just not sure any more. People I know with cancer have had good treatment & I think that’s generally the case once you’re in the system and have seen a specialist - but you also have to be on the ball and chase, chase, chase in my experience because they’re so busy.
 


TWOCHOICEStom

Well-known member
Sep 22, 2007
10,480
Brighton
Portslade have been excellent for me since I moved back last year.

Had a couple of minor reasons to call. When it was for my son, the nurse called me within an hour and asked if I could pop down within the next hour. It was nothing serious but they were fantastic.

The pharmacy is awful. But the people on reception, on the phones and the doctors have been brilliant.
 

B-right-on

Living the dream
Apr 23, 2015
6,144
Shoreham Beaaaach
My only recent Dr experience (in Feb) was the same as it's been for the last few years. Call in the morning, early and wait in a que, urgent and you get an appt that day. Mine wasn't so I got one a few days later, 2 or 3 from memory, certainly not much more.

Needed bloods, had to call Shoreham Southlands Hospital. Was told to come next morning, had blood taken by nurse. Got called in a week or so and appt made to get results with Dr.

All in all, probably 3 weeks from start to finish.
 
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amexer

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2011
6,116
They may seem under pressure butA big problem is hours worked by doctors. At our surgery although many doctors, most are now working 3 days a week I assume because still earn a good income from those hours. Not sure of employment laws now but think you have to agree to anybody that wants to go part time. Certainly I recently rang somebody senior, at a council I had been dealing with and was told they no longer worked Tuesday and Thursday. Has now created a situation nearly impossible to get hold of that person.
 


A mex eyecan

Well-known member
Nov 3, 2011
3,270
We can not make an appointment in advance, at all. You have to phone each day to get one same day. Sounds great in theory but the realty is that you are lucky to get through. When you do, you find that slots to see a GP are now all fully taken. I’ve been advised to make an on line ‘E Consult’ where you fill in some form giving details of what the issue is along with sending photograph. (That would be easy for some 80 or 90 year old). At some point in time ‘someone’ will look at it but can take up to 48 hours for reply.

All very well phoning on the day on the off chance of getting an appointment. What the heck are people to do regarding going to work? Not go to work in case they get one? Go to work and if they do get an appointment then leave work? Really convenient for both employee and employer.

Last time I tried e consult was greeted with a message on the lines of ‘we’re not taking any further message today, exceeded our allocation’.

So stage one of seeking medical help is a nightmare.

In April this year I was suffering chest pains and as I already have a heart issue went to A&E. Spent day on trolley having all sorts of tests done etc and eventually sent home. The cardiologist said she wanted me to have an urgent MRI scan. It wasn’t possible to have one there and then so was sent home to wait to be called in. Had a follow up appointment emailed to me for NOVEMBER to review findings of the MRI. No MRI appointment followed. I called a few times not only because I as concerned for my health but also not wanting to waste Cardiologists time having an appointment with me to review an MRI scan result that I still hadn’t had. Was offered the chance to cancel the appointment but incredibly was told they couldn’t make one for later! I have phoned the MRI booking department twice to try and get an appointment, even explaining cardiologist said it was urgent and was told ‘It’s us who makes the appointments not the consultants and they get booked when we can. You certainly won’t get one this year, we can’t even tell you if it will be early or late next year’

So fxxk knows what the issue is, I worry quite a bit about it but I just can’t stand the stress of trying to get it done, so I’ll just wait and hope for the best.


To make matters worse in August I was suspected of having had a stroke. Thankfully I hadn’t but had a CT scan etc etc and as they saw a ‘concern’ on the images they wanted to do an MRI scan, which they couldn’t do there and then but would get one the next day. I asked if I was to go home and come back and then told I had to stay in else if I came back they would have to start the whole procedure from scratch. So I took a bed that frankly could have been better used for someone else more urgent. Next day came and went and an MRI wasn't possible as they were fully booked. Next day the same thing, the next day the same thing. Finally got one and the ‘concern’ was confirmed but there was no consultant to personally explain to me what this concern was or is. I was discharged being told I needed to have a follow up MRI the next month so they can compare for any changes. That was done. I still have not managed to speak to any consultant so I don’t have a clue what it is they are worried about. When I’ve made phone calls to try and find out something I’m told that the comparison review can take between 12 and 16 weeks! I’m 10 weeks into this now so hopefully it won’t be too much longer. I hope on hope that there will turn out to be nothing too serious as it could well be too late if it is.

I know I won’t be alone with stories similar to mine. To be honest I’ve pretty well given up trying to do any more and as for ever bothering to speak to a GP about anything else that may ever occur I genuinely don’t think I would bother.

But anyhow, there’s nothing at all wrong with our NHS.
 

FamilyGuy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2003
2,363
Crawley
I’ve needed a lot of GP and NHS attention this year, and it’s ongoing.
My GP is great. I do have to join the 8:00 phone queue sometime but it always works.
If my GP tells me to get a blood test I book the practice nurse to do it or go to the hospital walk in (like I did yesterday) no long delays. I’m seeing my GP tomorrow.
I’ve needed / still need frequent appointments with NHS consultants and they’ve all been easily arranged. I have 4 lined up between now and mid January.
Maybe I’m just lucky but my experiences with the NHS and my GP especially since Feb 23 have been nothing but great. My wife and family and me are very grateful for everything they’ve done for me, they have quite literally saved my life and keep me on track.
 

Springal

Well-known member
Feb 12, 2005
23,636
GOSBTS
They may seem under pressure butA big problem is hours worked by doctors. At our surgery although many doctors, most are now working 3 days a week I assume because still earn a good income from those hours. Not sure of employment laws now but think you have to agree to anybody that wants to go part time. Certainly I recently rang somebody senior, at a council I had been dealing with and was told they no longer worked Tuesday and Thursday. Has now created a situation nearly impossible to get hold of that person.
Probably doing private work. A surgeon I had through BUPA was 3 days NHS, 2 days private
 


amexer

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2011
6,116
Reading through these it seems it is not political but down to the efficiency of the individual surgeries.
 

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