Issues with GP surgery: On 30th March GPs were written... - NRAS


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Issues with GP surgery

kerryhannah profile image

On 30th March GPs were written to by the NHS to say that those who are immunosuppressed for various reasons including those on anti-TNF biologics are needing all adults in their households offered to be vaccinated too. These people are now classified as group 6.

I have flagged this up with my GP and they keep saying they have not received any guidance and have been truly awful in communicating with me and my husband. If they don’t come back to us tomorrow then I want to take things further with a complaint. Does anyone have any experience with this?

NHS guidance here for those interested:

53 Replies

Is it the GP or the receptionist you’ve been dealing with?As I had trouble getting the receptionist to understand at my surgery I wrote a letter to my GP with enclosed copies of information from British Society of Rheumatology and ARMA. That worked.

Perhaps you could try similar?

Multiple people including trying to get in touch with the practice manager who is the main GP. I emailed today with a copy of the NHS letter. I have bloods tomorrow so will see how far I get. It’s so frustrating that it’s such a struggle 😢

Your husband could be vaccinated as an unpaid carer. He can potentially book an appointment here:

Not sure if you have other adults in your household, but he could hopefully get done quickly this way.

kerryhannah profile image
kerryhannah in reply to LoneEra

We tried that but it won’t let him unless he goes through the GP which is so frustrating. Thank you though

vonniesims profile image
vonniesims in reply to LoneEra

Yes, booking on line works

It says he’s not eligible. I think because previously he clicked ‘not a career’ etc that he won’t let him do it again and choose that option 😢

marie66 profile image
marie66 in reply to kerryhannah

Just say it was filled in error and needs changed! It happens

Jo30 profile image
Jo30 in reply to kerryhannah

Call 119 and book through them instead of trying online you should be able to get sorted x

You tick the box that says you are a carer

Exactly the same here, frustrating isn’t it, mine appear clueless. I emailed a week ago after fruitless phone call & have yet to hear 🙄

He’s only 37 too so still a wait for his age bracket. We’re not even trying to queue jump, just have what the NHS are telling us to but GP seems to be blocking it all. Think I’m going to stand and wait today after my bloods and ensure someone speaks to me!

Clare-NRAS profile image
Clare-NRASNRAS in reply to kerryhannah

You could try flagging this issue you up to your local Healthwatch You can find contact details for your local one via this link Also you could contact your local MP or councillor to flag the issue.

Thank you

Kerensa21 profile image
Kerensa21 in reply to Clare-NRAS

Thank you Clare; just done this 👍

Yes! I have the same problem - have you seen the NHS letter addressed to all GP Surgeries dated 31st March 2021? I don't understand why they haven't acted upon it and invited my adult daughter to be vaccinated in group 6. I've asked 3 times and she's asked a GP too but they don't seem to know anything about it. Frustrating!

Who do we go to though if we still have no joy through the GPs?

BoneyC profile image
BoneyC in reply to kerryhannah

Probably need to go via the surgery's own complaints procedure, give them an opportunity to put things right first, but if no joy from that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) I would assume, but not sure.

Here's a message our vaccination clinic put up on social media 2 days ago - whilst I personally wouldn't put queries on social media, clearly there are lots of questions people need answers to but I think they're being quite rude:-

"Again a plea, do not use this forum for vaccination questions. I am one person doing two full time jobs. There are thousands of you, and I cannot respond to the avalanche of queries coming through to my phone daily. We are working through second vaccines. We get 1 weeks notice of vaccine delivery and then set up clinics, each with up to 1200 patients. Everyone will get a second vaccine, it does not help us or any of the surgeries to have to reply to hundreds of queries every day. If this continues then I will take this page down. Do not email, call or message the surgeries, they have more than enough to do, each surgery is dealing with a 30-40% increase in demand compared to last year, whilst losing staff capacity so that we can run the vaccination service. Please be patient, everyone will get their vaccine, we are working as hard as our bodies and minds can cope with."

kerryhannah profile image
kerryhannah in reply to BoneyC

I get this had it not all started over a year ago. Surely more recruitment should’ve started by now?! I’ll ask them today about complaints procedure and go from there- thank you.

BoneyC profile image
BoneyC in reply to kerryhannah

Just had a telephone conversation with Rheumatologist and asked him about the letter to all GP's and everyone else in NHS.

Oh he said, Rheumatologists didn't get asked or involved with anything like that, the Government is a complete mess, I should contact Public Health England!

What? That's from a Doctor. I'm going to write a very polite letter to GP Surgery Practice Manager requesting clarification about this topic and see what happens.

Phone the vaccine line I think it’s 119 and ask for the vaccines and the reason why

kerryhannah profile image
kerryhannah in reply to Cal48

Have done this. They say they can only book of elegible on their system and it’s the GP who needs to change it! 🤬

I actually phoned my GP surgery and said look, I am on immunosurpressants, my mum is coming home from hospital after a six week stay, and I am going yo have at least 10 carers a day coming into her. I was then offered my first jab.

Unfortunately I lost my mum last week, and after having to try and sort her estate, and organise a funeral with covid restrictions, I then phoned my surgery and explained that I was waiting for my second jab and had received no letter. I was then offered a date for the second Jab because both me and my husband had gone past the 8 week waiting period. I feel you sometimes have to be a little bit forceful and push the envelope. I was always fighting for my mum who, at the age of 86, and with all her health problems wasn't even on the vulnerable list! I demanded to speak to the manager of the surgery and asked is it because you know there is a DNR (Do Not RECUSITATE) in place? Oh no no was her response, I will personally make sure she is on it. Sometimes you have to be pushy.

kerryhannah profile image
kerryhannah in reply to madme1

Sorry to hear this. I’ll do one more day of pushing then go through the complaints procedure as I feel I am being assertive but still getting nowhere!

Sorry for your loss x

Thanks. I am thankful I was able to be with her at the time but it was so hard.

Anyone without CV19 symptoms can be vaccinated now....our local newspaper has a list of places to get it done ..maybe call your local council.....they will know where to go.

Where’s have you heard this? It’s 45+ I thought at the moment?

Ajay575 profile image
Ajay575 in reply to kerryhannah

She maybe thinking of testing ?,Otherwise that is very good news

Stand your ground today on your point as you said too many gp surgerys have failed ,Also if not already done so

Register your husband as your carer at your gps ,im sure unpaid carers get better access in england if registered at gps ,

Good luck today,

Update: I fought, cried, got frustrated etc... APPARENTLY he is being contacted to have it next week. I’ll believe it when I see it!

The crazy thing is that they are saying we don’t understand what the NHS are saying and we’re in the wrong yet they are still going to vaccinate him next week? Obviously we are in the right otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it but I figured I need to pick my battles!

They are in the wrong, not you! This is a copy of the text I received from my surgery on 1 April. Hope all goes well next week.

Copy of text
Kerensa21 profile image
Kerensa21 in reply to Prunes

Couldn’t agree more Prunes.Good to know someone’s GP’s on the ball as early as 1 April; we are currently waiting on a phone call back from mine, having had to be really pushy again. They seem utterly clueless. I have copies of both nhs letters, they couldn’t be clearer. The worrying thing is they could actually be putting people at risk with everything opening up now too.

119 is a waste of time too for this as adults in immune suppressed households are still not on their current list of recorded criteria & you can’t speak to an actual person.

Prunes profile image
Prunes in reply to Kerensa21

I have a very proactive GP surgery fortunately. Hope you get sorted soon.

BoneyC profile image
BoneyC in reply to Prunes

that's proof it does work in some areas, thanks.

Prunes profile image
Prunes in reply to BoneyC

Yes certainly working here although all three of my children have left home so couldn't take advantage of it!

Ha, just received appointment for my son at end of April: just a 2 line text appt, doesn’t even say for COVID vax, no apology for ignoring emails, phone calls etc. If you read the NHS letters to GPs, it says quite clearly they should make all staff aware of the necessity for this cohort, they clearly haven’t done this for their poor receptionists. Bizarrely my daughter who doesn’t live at home permanently got one at zero waste pharmacy a week ago 🤷‍♀️Oh well just glad to get one at last x

Just thought I would add my own recent experience on this in case it helps anyone else. Managed today to get an appointment with my Gp for COVID vaccination for my husband. Doctor told me that they had started searching for relevant patients who fell into this category to make contact with them but it is sometimes difficult to identify those on biologicals as most of us are prescribed those from our hospitals and therefore this may not be flagged on our medications page at GPs. So if you are in this category and haven’t heard anything yet about vaccinations for your household contacts, it might be worth making direct contact with your surgery to highlight that you are on biologicals.

Thank you. Unfortunately, this is the problem. They have all the information but are saying they have had no contact from NHS England regarding immunosuppressant and households being vaccinated! I have sent them the letter, but they are still being evasive. I am hoping they come through next week and offer him the vaccine like they have said.

Are the drugs you are taking not logged somewhere on your GP records? You would expect your rheum to keep your GP up to date with your treatment. I know I get a copy of the letter sent to my GP after I’ve seen the rheum with any decisions that have made regarding my treatment.

You really would think in this day and age with computers the GP surgeries could put in ‘biologicals’ or whatever they want to know and pull out a list of all patients receiving them.

Yes, the problem is they are denying that my husband needs the vaccine as they have not had any letter update. Now they’ve seen the letter I emailed them they are giving it to him next week (apparently).

Knip profile image
Knip in reply to Fruitandnutcase

My RA apartment always send a letter to my surgery keeping them updated with my treatment. It is a bit alarming that this isn't happening in all areas, because being immune suppressed can affect other treatments etc.

kerryhannah profile image
kerryhannah in reply to Knip

Yes mine do too but they are just ignoring the latest advice

Knip profile image
Knip in reply to kerryhannah

Hope you get some joy soon. It's unbelievable that such an important issue isn't being dealt with uniformly throughout.

... anyone had any success with their GP Surgeries on this topic? I hand delivered my polite letter to our practice manager last Thursday, but 8 days later still no reply. Not impressed. I have my 2nd jab appointment today, not at GP Surgery but at another practice within our CCG. I'm going to be asking again.

kerryhannah profile image
kerryhannah in reply to BoneyC

Unfortunately not! My husband is going to chase today as he should’ve had the jab to is week according to them. It’s all so frustrating!

BoneyC profile image
BoneyC in reply to kerryhannah

Isn't it just! I feel totally ignored by my GP Surgery. How can they ignore the NHS advice. I would have thought it would be relatively easy to go through the CEV patients and pick out any adults not already vaccinated, but apparently not.

Knip profile image
Knip in reply to kerryhannah

I went back on MTX on Monday and on Wednesday I had a txt from my GP saying to ring them if there was anyone over 16 in my household because they may be eligible for the vaccine. That, I thought was, or should be, standard practice.

We were very fortunate with our surgery. My husband contacted them and explained I was CEV and so he had heard he was entitled to a vaccine and they sent him a link to book it. So sorry to hear of the battles others are having with this. I hope things improve for you.

Whilst having my 2nd Covid vaccine yesterday I asked the nurse about this topic and she knew nothing, 'contact your surgery' she said!

Both my older children have now had their first jab because of this . GP identified my son themselves but needed a prod regarding my daughter . All sorted out swiftly really .

Like all this covid related stuff , it varies enormously 🤷‍♀️

Update: Daughter rang 119 yesterday and was told she is now eligible for a vaccine but because our GP Surgery have failed to flag this up on her notes, they are unable to book a jab.

Emailed the surgery this morning, reminding them I have not had a reply to my letter of 15th April with a request they update daughter's patient record to allow her to book.

I don't understand why the Government are spending money on adverts promoting the vaccine to young people when they can't book a jab even if they wanted to!

kerryhannah profile image
kerryhannah in reply to BoneyC

So frustrating isn’t it?! My husband spent 75 minutes on hold to the surgery on Monday and he’s finally been given an appointment for Friday. We have documented everything and will be sending off a complaint at the end of the week. It’s not the fact they are busy, I completely get that and don’t want to complain about that, it’s the fact they are blatantly disregarding the guidelines, even when we have sent them the letter from NHS England!

BoneyC profile image
BoneyC in reply to kerryhannah

Had a breakthrough yesterday afternoon ... Practice Manager telephoned and confirmed daughter is now eligible and she had updated her patient record. A Covid vaccination appointment was made there and then over the phone for next Friday, 7th May. Only took a month to get them to do it!

That's all good, but was not impressed when Practice Manager claimed she had not seen my letter of 15th April (attached copy to email). Told her I had hand delivered the A4 white envelope myself and posted it through the rather large gap in their front doors! Yes, building in need of renovation! There's no way somebody did not see it. She shrugged this off but surely this raises even more issues - the envelope could have contained time sensitive information which was not acted upon. I think she was lying to defend herself, but still not good.

Bring on the customer satisfaction survey!

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