GP surgery are useless

Okay I know they are busy places and have lots of patients but I am one of those patients for my sins. They are a surgery whereby you cannot book an advance appointment. You have to book it at 8:30am for the same day. This means that all the appointments are booked up before 9am. It also means you might be lucky and get your appointment that day or call every day for a week and not get one.

There are no exceptions even if you have tried all week and are running out of medication that you will not be prescribed without a GP appointment first. It doesn't matter. That is their policy and that is all they will offer.

I should really be able to book an appointment in sufficient time to see a GP and request the prescriptions I need before I run out, but I can't and the receptionists are so rude and dismissive it beggars belief.

17 Replies

  • Very true! My GP practice is the same, I do not know how many incoming telephone lines they have, the phone line is constantly engaged in the morning.

    I have had similar problems. The other day I hade foot pain and the problems I went to get an appointment? In the end I saw a trainee GP as a short list and wait in the GP practice for a very long time..

    He had his say and sent me for an X-ray. As I could not put up with the pain I had to request for gout medication over the phone, before the end of the day I got my medication and felt better after 3 days. Call centre staff, what do they know about human health? even medically qualified are getting it wrong.

    If you know a medication works for you ask for that medication to be put in a repeat prescription list and keep at least one supply so that you do not end up with out any medication! I always get my summer medication well in advance.

  • I'm so sorry to read this our gap's rank in the UK's top 10 and also have same day appointments but they are for emergencies and no the receptionist does not question anyone.

    If you want to see the same gp we have to make an appointment in advance and it might be a 2 week wait but I think if I'm ill, its doesn't matter who I see.

    Actually I think you surely should be on repeat 'scripts and no need to see a gp except for a review. I get thyroxine for 3 months, Riveroxaban for 2 and only the Lefulodomide monthly as its restricted but I just ring and pick it up at the pharmacy. Never any problems at all. Even though they are very busy our receptionists are actually very nice and we also have a patients group to air any issues that might arise with the GP's direct. It is a rural practice but has around 6000 patients served by 6 doctors several nurses and we are never rushed no triage system where the gp rings people but they do ring with test results and have opened on Saturdays for the last few years.

    So not all are the same here in the very busy South East we get excellent service and our dr's introduce themselves by their first name too so it makes for a lovely friendly practice. We are so lucky when I read a post likes yours I wonder why ???

  • If it's just repeat prescriptions you need, do they not do a telephone consultation? Our practice does and it is a handy way of getting another appt, as if the dr you speak to on the phone deems it necessary they will make the spot to see them at the surgery.

  • Our Surgery has the same appointments system as yours & yes it can be annoying if all that morning's appointments are booked when you eventually get through. Some afternoon appointment slots generally remain available though so it's rare if you're not seen the same day you ring. We do have the option of waiting to see one of the GP's (no guarantee it will be the one you're assigned to) from 11am at the end of morning surgery before rounds. We can also book phone consultations with both the GP's & nurses which is handy if you don't want to sit amongst people coughing & sputtering in the waiting area. Have you ever asked if you could advance book an early doors appointment? Ours hold a few back each morning for patients who have to get kiddies to school or find it difficult to get time off work.

    Do you not have electronic prescribing? It's much easier particularly if you allocate a chemist to collect your meds from. It's not the norm in this day & age that you have to use an appointment to get your rescripts. I know it's stating the obvious but it's little wonder it's difficult to get an on the day appointment if everyone has to do the same. They are aware that you're receiving regular treatment aren't they? They should because to supply your meds they'll have signed a shared care agreement but if it's been missed it would makes sense, unless you've had previous repeats prescribed by your GP & still needed to see a GP to sign them off. We have to see a GP for repeats for certain meds, tramadol & other controlled meds but otherwise it's only necessary for yearly med reviews.

    Rude reception staff there's no excuse for, they wouldn't last long in our Practice but from experience it's usually either one who influence the rest or bad Practice Management. I've sent staff on courses in the past but nowadays at ours training & such is organised in-house.

    Each Surgery has to have a Complaints & Compliment box, you could use that to raise your concerns if you wish. The Practice Manager should contact whoever makes a complaint to discuss any issues. If you've tried that is there not another Practice in your area you could register with? Ask around, that's often the best way to choose, word of mouth still works!

  • I live in the SE and our surgery is similar to that of medway-lady - I can always get a same day appointment, sometimes with the doctor I actually want to see, sometimes with someone else. It can be difficult to get through on the phone at times - I could get the call back arrangement but my phone won't do that.

    Last time I was feeling really ill I got my other half to go to the surgery for me to skip the phone queue and he came back with a 9.00am appointment for me. Just as well I had got dressed.

    We can order repeat prescriptIons either from the pharmacy who makes our prescriptions up or by computer from the surgery, I just fill in what l need for next time when I collect my prescription and I have my meds reviewed every year.

    We can also book appointments well in advance online. ours is a fairly small practice with five doctors, two nurse practitioners, two phlebotomists and other health visitors etc. and everyone from the receptionists to the doctors themselves is very caring and efficient. I too, feel very lucky.

  • My Gp saved my life last year my "flu" was Pulmonary Embolisms and a DVT to boot. I got pushed back on couch ordered to lay there, while she made a phone call. Ambulance arrived and off to A&E on the ward after injection in less than 4 hours. Great GP's and also most have a sense of humour which to me is vital when feeling ill. Sad not all are the same though.

  • Thanks for your replies. I can usually get my repeat prescriptions but to get my methotrexate is a nightmare. I have to time it just right. I can't order it too early because they won't let me have it. So I have a week to get an appointment to get a prescription and if I can't get that appointment then I run out.

    I have suggested that they let me have a phone consultation once every four weeks booked in advance so I don't continually have the same problem but they only book appointments on the day. For ongoing conditions this is ridiculous.

    I managed to get my Tramadol. I put my foot down and said

    "look, I am having a flare up, none of my drugs are working and both this surgery and the rheumatology department keep sending me round in circles so I have to wait another month to have the steriods injections in my knees which were supposed to be done six months ago. All I have to help me cope is my Tramadol. I am not allowed to take any other pain medication because I am taking Neproxen. Rather than have me go through the weekend in agony followed by calling up at 8:30 every morning to be told there are no appointments, a better solution would be for the GP who gave me the last prescription to write me another one. Today. My partner will collect it at 5:30. Thankyou."

    At 5:25 the surgery called me to say my prescription was ready for collection.


  • Well done you :) Hope you have a good ( and pain free) weekend :)

  • Like medway lady and fruitandnutcase I also live in the SE and my Drs surgery is very good with a very similar set up to both previous posts. I was thinking how about you having an appointment with the practice manager and voicing your concerns, it may help further prescription issues.

  • I am afraid the above do not work in most surgeries and it does not work in my GP practice! I wanted to book an appointment in person after my blood collection to see a nurse. I was told by the manager I have to wait for results!! I said if I make my appointment now I can use it or cancel it if not required. I was given a lecture, my response was pro-active. any way, the person who answers the phone or the person at the reception desk or GP all needs more training on how to handle human requirements.

  • How odd. If your mtx is prescribed by the rheumy, as mine is, it's on repeat prescription. So I get a months supply.wonder why you have to keep going back and requesting it?

  • It's strange isn't it. have you tried speaking to your pharmacist to see if he/she can do anything about the timing of your next script - although that would probably only work if you ordered your next month's script through them. Either that or arrange to meet your surgery manager and see if you can get it sorted out. Tell them no one else that you know has the problems you are having getting their methotrexate.

    You could always say you were going away when your next script was due and needed it earlier - either that or have had your handbag / pills stolen and need a replacement.

    I take blood pressure pills, I get one month at a time. I visited my brother in Scotland when my mother was very ill, stayed much longer than planned ran out of pills and went to his GP who wrote me out a script for three months worth of pills! I was astounded but that was how it worked up there. Unfortunately down south it is one month at a time - even if I don't have pinksugarmouse's problems.

  • I have nothing but praise for our GPs but I'm in Scotland and we have a different system. It may not be possible but have you any chance of changing your GP?

    I hope things improve for you

  • I live in Scotland and don't have to see a GP for repeat prescriptions. My local Boots pharmacy re orders my repeat meds every 2 months including methotrexate. Anything additional to these needs a GP prescription which can be done via an appt or phone call appt if it is something I have had before and don't need to be medically examined. It saves the surgery and me a lot of time. I am surprised this doesn't happen all over the uk. The GPs seem to place a lot of trust in the pharmacist, practice nurse who takes my bloods bi monthly and myself.

    This can have a down side though, I have just completed a PIP application form and although I have been registered at this surgery for 8 years none of the gps knows me well enough to know how this disease affects my daily living in order to fill in their form!

  • My old practice was like this, I changed GP's and the new one is great and it was a really easy process, do you have any other surgeries close to you?

  • My surgery works like this phone at 8.30 it is usually engaged by the time it gets answered no appointments.The nurse told me that there are loads of people waiting for the surgery opening in the morning so they get the appointments that is fine if you live close but i have to get a taxi there and back and may get an appointment for later another taxi it is not cheap for me to change doctors is further away.I do get repeat prescriptions so dont need to see them for that.I have been with them for 13 years and none of them know how RD is a struggle because you just have to take any doctor you can get i am in Scotland seems a lot of doctors are working like this i think it is an awful system but they seem to think it works

  • I am indeed blessed, at my surgery I can order my repeat meds online, I can view my blood test results online as well as book an appointment with the doctor of my choosing on line and I can email a question to my doctor which is guaranteed to be answered within 24 hours.

    I can of course ring and do all of that, if I can get through, and to get an appointment for the same day the same system of ringing at 8.30 still aplplies, but we can book in advance as well but as all of the GPs are part time you sometimes have to wait to see your own GP, but you will always be seen the same day as there are always same day emergency appointments available.

    I am delighted with the treatment from my surgery, it is the best I have ever encountered so not all surgeries are the same, perhaps see what else is on offer locally? Maybe contact the practice manager, receptionists are not the people to complain to but if you speak to the practice manager you can often get a result. If that doesn't work the put a complaint in writing, verbal complaints will nearly always be ignored but a letter has to be replied to stating good reasons for their actions.

    I sit on a patient liaison group - find out if one operates at your surgery - if so contact the chair and ask them to bring your complaint Up at the next meeting. If there isn't one - ask why there isn't one?

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