Should i change doctors: Hi all, Just... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Should i change doctors


Hi all,

Just looking for some advice. My GP surgery is now a surgery with belongs to 6 other surgeries and the doctors work in each. Recently, i was thrown off patient access where you can book an appointment. I eventually got back on after getting in touch with the receptionist to find out there are no appointments free at all.

This has gone from one doctor who has retired to this farce. Are all surgeries like this? Do you think it is worth registering somewhere else. Where do i go if i need to see a doctor if there are no appointments at all? is this legal? Lucky for them i see the HF nurse soon but otherwise i am sunk....

23 Replies

There will be a daily allowance of ‘urgent’ appointments, whereby if you make contact first thing you should be able to be seen by someone, although not necessarily at your practice. To be honest, since moving to a practice with an online GP system (AskMyGP), most things have been resolved using messages, calls and photographs, with appointments only organised if a physical examination is necessary. The surgeries also say that it’s freed up a lot of doctor hours to actually see and treat more patients, so I would be inclined to stay with your practice and use this service if the group they’ve joined have one, or move to a practice with something similar. We can request a doctor by name to look at the messages, too, if they’re working that day, and can message out of hours to be picked up when the doctors start work. O got a reply to a prescription related request at 7:30am last week. If you can write a post on here then you’re more than technically savvy enough to do it.

One of the problems with general practice is an aging GP population and very few junior docs choosing to become GPs, which means many practices are merging to try and pool resources and better meet demand. It’s better for patients for a small practice to merge with several larger ones than close completely. I do understand the frustration of not being able to get a planned appointment though: at our last practice, in the end it became normal to not be able to book an appointment even weeks in advance. They didn’t operate any kind of online service, not even to order repeat scripts, so the only way to get seen was to phone every day at 8:30 in the hopes they’d be able to get you on the urgent list. I always felt guilty that my routine, non-urgent thing might take up a slot that could have a gone to someone feeling really ill, but it wasn’t my choice to do it that way.

Most GP practices seem to have disabled the appointment function in Patient Access. My GP has now gone back to their old system of ring up at 8.30 in the morning to secure any appointments for that day

Ours has done the same; no online booking but I can still do repeat prescriptions. I get a same day call back even if I ring them at 11am and have had two face to face appointments although one was with a nurse. Getting to speak to a named doctor though has only happened once.

I've managed to get my 6 monthly blood tests after a lot of phone calls back and fore - it's a case of turn up outside and telephone and nurse comes out to escort you inside, take bloods and escorted out via the fire exit - OK this time of year, won't look forward to standing outside in the winter and the rain! Can still do repeat meds in Patient Access. It's not ideal but it seems to work OK.

That's what ours do

As long as Covid 19 persists you'll find face to face doctor's appointments very difficult to come by. Changing your practise won't necessarily improve matters.

Having said that, the service provided by GP's is a bit of a post code lottery. There aren't enough GP's to go around, so those that do exist can pick and choose where they want to live. Some places are fortunate and can attract enough GP's for the system to function well, other post codes however are really struggling.

My advice is stick where you are ❤️

Doctors are human... from experience they vary a lot ... I would suggest going somewhere else... if you feel a doctor is not doing enough get someone else

Although this is not much help to you at the moment, maybe the current situation might just help to resolve the ridiculous number of people who pitch up at GP surgeries with minor ailments that they could easily have resolved themselves. Throughout my life I have been aware of quite e few people who trot off to the Doctors with the most everyday, basic problems with either themselves or their children, and are basically both wasting the GP's time and blocking up the system, the GP's themselves must despair sometimes. I believe the numbers of people turning up at A&E facilities have dropped dramatically during the last few months, which proves the point.

My GP surgery have disabled booking online appointment too, due to coronavirus. Now you have to phone up, get a telephone appointment and then the GP/Nurse decides if you have to come in. The doors are locked and you have to phone reception to say you have an appointment before they let you in.

I'd try to stay on with the current surgery and see how it might be made to work for you - you should be able to speak with the practice manager to get an idea of how the new systems are going to work and how you can access proper medical care.

However, if after giving it a go (including a talk with the practice manager) you feel you will be better cared for at a new surgery - check out alternative surgeries before cutting ties with your current surgery. Use your search engine and a search term that includes the name of the possible new surgery and the word 'reviews' or 'complaints'.

Too long a story to write here but before we moved house to a new town I was very seriously considering changing surgeries - until I researched the other two surgeries and discovered those were even worse for complaints and very bad reviews.

We moved house two years ago, I registered with the only surgery in our small town - and while it's not perfectly perfect it has been all the difference in finally getting proper medical care. Even now, during the pandemic, I can use the online system+telephone contact to resolve most issues and the two things I had to be seen in-person for were handled very nicely indeed - full PPE on staff, hand sanitiser, gloves and masks dispensers at the entry for patients with disposal bin at the exit for my used mask and gloves.

My surgery is like the building is there, i know doctors are in. But you can't seem to get to one. I am hard of hearing so the phone and accents is a no go. One thing after another and masks on top.

Have you tried emailing? You might ask someone to telephone the practice manager to alert her/him to 'incoming' email (my surgery doesn't always check their email once an hour during the day) and to make sure of the correct email details to use.

I email my cardiologist but it took going through his secretary (who suggested I make sure the GP surgery knew I'd be CC'ing) - it works SO well for me as my Essential Tremor makes speaking on the phone difficult sometimes.

If your problem is with the surgery in general, you could register with another practice (if they will accept you) or if your problem is with a specific doctor ask to see another one. In general terms you would probably be better staying where you are.

My GP is currently only doing telephone consultations and through this I have been referred and have had tests and scans at the appropriate hospitals. If you are not comfortable communicating with the surgery online telephone them as I do and make your appointments/ask your questions in a clear and concise manner via the receptionist(s)

If you are in doubt about your condition/ailment telephone 111 for advice.

I wonder what the receptionist meant when you were told there were no appointments. No appointments for today, this week/month or ever? I was advised by a friend of mine who works in a GP surgery to try and get to know the receptionist so you get a better understanding of how the appointments system works. It varies from surgery to surgery. As for changing surgeries I would do a lot of homework before you take this step to avoid going from the frying pan into the fire.

Brandibell in reply to dunestar

Duly noted.

I understand that Patient Access apps no longer allow patients to book appointments online due to Covid. My own practice of 11 GP’s don’t allow any face to face appointments. Telephone only until the doctor reluctantly agrees to see you. God knows what they do during the day but it’s not doctoring! The system needs a good shake up and bring them back into the NHS and not the current system of basically self employed and funded practices. The worst thing ever thought up by a government.

It's very mixed messages from the Health Service this has not ben thought through !! You can see the Radiologist or Technician for an X - Ray or an Echo, Face to Face but you can't see the Heart Failure Nurse or the GP !!!

Just to look at it in perspective you can go to the Supermarket and pay the operator face to face, now they will be seeing around 500 different people with what is now pretty routine protection Face Mask. Gel ,

So why won't the Doctor see you ??

Are we moving to Doctor Google because that's what it looks like.

I was told when your GP refers you to a Hospital Dept the Consultants now Triage the list and screen who they see !! Has the GP not already done that ??

I Honestly Feel this will lead to a Two Tier System NHS v Private why should I pay National Insurance and not get a Service available if I pay Privately ?? Dangerous days ahead for the Health Service .

Stay Well Stay Safe

Brandibell in reply to Prada47

Well said

Better the Devil you know as the saying goes.

I am in a similar situation. My local surgery has amalgamated with 2 others, all three of my Drs retired within 2 years of each other. Practice ran with locums some great others not and as Chappychap and Charlie G have said young Drs either don't want to be a GP or due to shortage they can pick and choose where to do it. An old coal and steel village in N. Wales is not the place.

Am fortunate in that I can drive to all 3 surgeries if necessary but some people have to get buses or taxis. The practice now has e -consult, which I have used twice. It's maddening in that it's multiple choice for a lot of the time but I did get phone calls back and had meds changed and have an appt with Nurse next Monday. I also had to send photo of a large mole and saw Dr next day. (It's a wart by the way).

I thought about changing only to find that all the other local surgeries are in the same boat, Drs retired and have had to join together. Stick with what you've got for now and be prepared to have their phone no on speed dial for early morning bookings.

Hi , I feel truly sorry for you, I tried to make an appointment to see my own GP regarding medication for myHeart Attack /Stroke on line, the nearest appointment I can get is in 2 weeks time and with a doctor who took me off one of my drugs to my own GP disgust, so I sympathise with you , but the old saying better the devil you know, point out to your GP how you feel, you may be surprised at his response.

Stay safe

Brandibell in reply to Carpbait

I will do if i ever get to see one.

I would change surgeries I.have done this when a doctor was.offendove it sounds as though.your surgery

Is becoming part of a chain. It is very personal the relationship with.ia doctor. Go with comfortable with


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