British Lung Foundation
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Does anyone else have such problems getting a doctors appointment?

My Doctor has this policy that if you are not an emergency you can wait for 2 weeks or more. If you feel you can't wait you MUST ring between 8.30 and 9 in the morning to get an emergency appointment. Of course everyone is told the same so you cannot get through and if you are lucky enough to get through all the appointments for that day are gone by 8.45 and they wont give you one for the next day. No wonder the local walk in centre is packed and A & E closes from time to time it is soo busy. Is this the same everywhere or just here in Liverpool?

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22 Replies

same at my doctors reception, but he is a good doc and has told me to tell reception that I have c.o.p.d,this seems to work ,because they will find space to put me In that day ,or he will phone me and we can talk over the phone.

Hi Whit

I tell them I have Bronchiectasis (Whats that? they say) but it does not help. I have got an appointment today, but with a locum the last time I saw a locum she could not even read a spirometry report and addmited that she new nothing about COPD!!

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Yes I have this problem, to see my own doctor I have to book about 6 weeks ahead, I could see another doctor much quicker though.

In the past when I have wanted / needed to see a doctor quickly and I kept getting the 'no one is available' and after 10 mins of explaining I did go to the walk in clinic and fortunately was seen within 30 mins got the meds I needed from the pharmacy close by and could then go home to bed.

Best time for walk in clinics, is the earlier the better (soon after 8am) although I was extremely lucky when I got in within 30 mins, it was around 12.40pm on a week day.

I'm south.

The same system operates at my surgery. If I think I need to be seen quicker then I insist on a GP home visit. It is amazing how quickly they can then find an emergency appointment. ;)

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mine is the same system, however they do have a gp now who who rings patients up....... the gp take it in turns then if you need to come in they say so, or they will write you a scrip they are very helpful, but the so called new system is very frustrating indeed, so if I cant get to chat on phone, re times up, I will chat to receptionist and books me in for a call back from gp, that part works well.PS: I also have walked in and said to them I need to see a doc, they take one look at me and say, take a seat please, so you never know until you try, thing is when yur not well you dont have the energy to fight, thats enough or il be on a rant lol. Joan x


at my doctors you have similar system only if you ring up they put you in for a triage doctor they will call you back within two hours which to me is pointless because i don't see how in gods name they can diagnose you over a phone so they surely have to see you. also the doctors are so stretched my doctors has 4000 people on there books the walk in centure is useless because they close at 5 30pm my g.p. closes at 6pm and now there is talk of doctors opening seven days a week surely this will cause a lot of wrong diagnose,s and people will die from this. it really worries me at times so much makes my depression worse. i fear for the kids growing up in today's world. surely we should have priority for people such as with us progressive illness and children and the very elderly should be given first priority. because you can get someone with hardly anything wrong such as the common cold and they have taken the appointment someone else needed. sorry rant over


Hi Pt Liverpool, I am fortunate I live in e relatively small village in Wales where I can get a Doctors appointment on that day. However the downside is I have to stand outside the surgery irrespective of the weather with oxygen in toe at 0730 in the morning and wait until the surgery opens at 0800 to get the first appointment for that day.Why do I go down at thattime is you cannot get through on the phone and if you do there will be no appointments left and told to come down to the surgery the following day. Berwick x


My surgery had a duty doctor who is available all day - like a walk in clinic. You can pre-book appointments with your own GP up to 2 weeks in advance but they always hold back a substantial number of appointments for each GP, each day which are opened up at 8am so you can usually get to see your own GP on the day if you ring early enough (and can get through). If you can't get to see your GP or you feel you don't want to take up an appointment they are also happy to ring you to discuss what is troubling you. Ah yes the NHS - rubbish isn't it?

That said I have family in Scotland and they struggle with getting any sort of apppointment. Not sure if its anything to do with free prescriptions making people more inclined to see a doctor than just popping to the pharmacist...

I beg to differ Without the NHS a lot of us wouldn't be here today!


Here,here,well said KOTC. Berwick

I wasn't dissing the NHS - I was making reference to what some people think of it. I think its marvellous.

Think the system is similar all over ptliverpool, if I want to pre book have to wait two weeks, if it's urgent its a nurse or duty doctor or if I see any doctor can usually get appointment within 48 hrs. Afraid for me its an hour or more journey to A&E or thirty minutes to the nearest walk-in unless I pay £17 for a taxi to speed the journey up.

I have certainly opened up a can of worms here I think. On a brighter note the locum I saw was very good, gave me antibiotics and a new inhaler and I feel a bit better already. So it's not all bad. :)

glad you were seen PT. We have a similar system here in SW London. I just kep on ringing from 8am and eventually get through. When they say "is it an emergency2 I always say yes. No conversation needed. When I get there it only takes 2 minutes to listen to my chest, write a script if necessary and out of there. They always prioritise lung patients, children, heart.

Hope antiBs get working very soon & you start to feel better. P

My Health Centre in N Notts operates an Urgent Care for 3 hours morning and afternoon week days only...just walk in and register with the receptionist to see a doctor or nurse practioner if your need is urgent.

It is a godsend and works well, but sometimes have to wait quite a time depending how busy it is.

This sounds more like it! like it was years ago. I wouldn't mind waiting as long as you know you are going to be seen.

My GP surgery seems to work on a similar system. But, I can ring and ask for a telephone consultation and because the nurse practitioner I ask for know about all my problems she will ring me up either later that day, or the next day. And they want to put more pressure on the GP system!!

Lots of variations. My surgery - if you want a particular GP you have to take an advance appointment. If you want to be seen that day and there are no appointments with any GP - you can have a call back. I always take this as the GP on phone will almost always tell me to come down. I do have a favourite GP who is a resp specialist but she only works part-time. If I am feeling very poorly I am grateful to see anyone, and actually the more GP's who 'know' me and my condition, the better. GP's retire and move on so it's good to educate up the youngsters!

Well i have a fantastic surgery,,the receptionists are great,,docs are great oh so is the nurse,,considering its a busy centre they work it spot on,,flu jabs last week was hilarious,,they try to get as many patients as they can,,have 2 lines and we where in and out so fast,,was like being back at school,, cannot praise them enough,,

We have the same system. I booked an appointment and the first one was three weeks ahead. I have had to go in between so don't really need the other one.I will have to cancel. We have a duty Dr you can see if you see if it is urgent.

I don't mind seeing a locum if as you say it is urgent, but what I do object to is this 15 minute window that you have to ring to get that appointment. If they have all gone for that day by the time you get through you have to ring again the next morning and so it goes on until you give up and go to a walk in centre.

I just realized this is a British site. I am in the US. My average wait for my Pulmonologist is 3-4 months. Of course, I can see an assistant in 1-2 months. I had been waiting for an appointment for months, and became deathly ill 2 days before the appointment. My roommate called them to let them know what was going on, and the girl at reception said that if I didn't show up it would be another 4 months. I was too sick to drive, so she took me. I went in my robe. The girl at the counter gave me a snippy "I'll be with you in a minute". I thought 'fine' and laid down on the floor. I waited for almost two hours. In the Doctor's defense, he was livid that she had made me come in. He said he could have called me.

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