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Why So Hard To Get To See A Gp?

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Fubsy | 15:44 Tue 17th Oct 2017 | Body & Soul
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Recently it has been so hard to get an appointment to see a GP at our surgery. You can get a telephone call from a doctor on the day you ring but you cannot make an appointment to see a doctor to discuss a routine, non urgent matter. The rules are that you ring on the day and a doctor calls you and if they deem it necessary to see you they will ask you to come to the surgery later that day. So it's almost as if everyone is assessed on an emergency basis. Sometimes you want to make an appointment about something that isn't an emergency but the ability to make a routine appointment is no longer available at our surgery. We've attended this surgery for many years and this is a big change.

Is this the way that things are nowadays? Are most GP surgeries run this way?

Another thing is that my hubby had an appointment with the pharmacist at the surgery to discuss the medication he was taking. He came home full of the good news that he no longer had to take Warfarin so we were happy about that. However, his cholesterol is high and the pharmacist has given him a statin to take and when I asked why this couldn't be managed through diet and lifestyle change hubby couldn't explain. I would have thought a change in diet would have been discussed but hubby says not. He is hard of hearing and wears hearing aids in both ears so it's possible explanations were given but that he didn't hear or grasp fully.

Having looked up the name of the medication the statin he's been given is classed as a high intensity statin. I'm feeling worried that he's taking this medication without having discussed anything with a doctor and we don't know the full reasons why he's taking it.

I've told hubby we'll talk to a doctor to get the information as I'm reluctant for him to just blindly take the pills especially if the condition can be managed through a lifestyle change rather than medication. Hubby was OK about taking the pills but that's a whole 'nother issue! It's only now that I've raised concerns that he's read the leaflet inside the box of pills. The leaflet states that Atorvastatin may not be suitable if you have an under-active thyroid - which hubby has and takes medication for.

Am I right to feel concerned about this? I'm seriously considering changing to another GP surgery but I'm wondering if I'll encounter this kind of thing at any GP surgery nowadays. Any input gratefully received, thank you!



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If you can't book a non urgent appointment online, I would suggest you ring the reception in the afternoon, discuss your concerns and ask for a future appointment. I would do the same for your husband. If he is happy for you to discuss his issues, he rings and then says he wishes you to talk to them. You explained this very clearly in your post, do the same with reception.
You got that off your chest.
GP's services have been abused over the years....this is now payback time.
Influx of "foreign nationals " hasn't helped....more strain on GP's.
Gp.s have outgrown their own importance and have a strong UNION ...BMA. They do less work for more money........who wouldn't.
This is State Medicine and is with the UK for the foreseeable future, so get used to it.

"The leaflet states that Atorvastatin may not be suitable if you have an under-active thyroid - which hubby has and takes medication for. "

Ignore that.

You get what you pay for.
I phoned my GP for a non emergency appointment and got one within 2 weeks which suited me just fine. The receptionist did ask if I wanted a call back from the doctor but I declined as I didn't need one.

Why don't you take the next available one?
I can't comment on how many hours GP's work but our surgery is open late twice a week and is also open on Saturdays.
At my surgery if it's not 'urgent', the Dr. will call you back and discuss your symptoms over the 'phone and will then decide whether or not to give you an appointment.
Same system here re appointments. There used to be a waiting room full of people (coughing and spluttering usually when they could have just gone to the chemist) Now, the waiting room is empty because the time wasters have been filtered out by the call from the GP. Our practice used to have a noticeboard with all of the previous month's no-shows and it was a ridiculous amount - something like 90 - 100 so something had to be done. The only inconvenience to me is having to wait during the 4 hour window that is given for the GPs call.
I'm amazed that Fubsy's post doesn't mention booking appointments online. That probably the most commonly used method of getting an appointment at our local surgery, where you can also get 'same day' appointments simply by phoning after 0830 (or by just turning up at the surgery):

At least Fubsy's post refers to making use of pharmacists, who must make up the most under-utilised part of the health system. They know far more about medications than GPs do but many people never think to ask them for advice.
One of the current GP problems is targets laid set for patients to be seen (includes on the phone, ridiculous) on the same day. This is one of many daft ideas, they change all the time, that has meant more patients being triaged by GPs and Practice Nurses. They now want receptionists to be trained to triage. Now that's a disaster waiting to happen.

" They know far more about medications than GPs do but many people never think to ask them for advice."

I disagree. They use the very same reference books as the GP's....the very same. Go into the back of a pharmacists and see the number of drugs, as they have to cater for the differing whims of the GP; can't be done.
A GP will know the indications, side effects dosage etc of about 20 drugs which is not a difficult task and that was the advice that i was given. Pharmacy consultations are a cop out except for the common or garden situations.
not all gp surgeries are the same, but you may find that all in a certain area work in a similar way. At mine you can make a routine appt via the internet
It's good to get what you pay for. UK citizens pay a lot into the NHS so presumably can expect a lot in return.
If all else fails Fubsy, I would ask around local friends and neighbours if their surgery differs to yours with regard to making appoinments. We are all free to move to another surgery. Just remembered, NHS Choices website lists all surgeries and carries patient reviews.
Chris, I asked a local chemist for some multivits with potassium, and ended up with completely the wrong thing becaused she'd confused K for potassium with vitamin K. I've yet to have a doctor that ditzy (though one Bulgarian locum muddled up the words "arm" and "leg"; which could have ended badly).
Here is part of the problem, which some of you on here will disagree, but facts are facts.

The Office for National Statistics said an unprecedented 284,000 EU citizens arrived in the UK in the year to June 2016, which covers a period up to and just after the referendum.

The inflow of EU citizens has hit a historic high, while long-term migration to the UK has remained around record levels at a third of a million.
The NHS is no longer fit for purpose. I don't know of a single country that has a perfect health system, but surely we could look at starting again with a mix of insurance and subsidy. France and Australia, while not perfect health systems could be worth looking at to see if it could work here.
I'm in the lucky position of having a small village surgery. You can get an appointment within about an hour of calling.

At my old surgery they used to have a sign up saying how many appointments were missed in the previous month and how many hours it amounted to. THAT is part of the problem.
When certain EU citizens walk into a GP surgery, they know their rights and will express them vocally, unfortunately, they have little understanding of their responsibilities.
Medication reviews done in Surgery by Pharmacists can be very good, but also unsettling if a patient is removed from a medication without full and clearly understood and heard explanation - the last one I had (which was very straightforward) was 25 minutes. With the best will in the world most GPs couldn't possibly spare that time as a single appointment.

When they change the booking system, yes you can up sticks and move or try to work with it.

Take the callback option then tell the Doctor you really need to see them or phone early and say yes, it is urgent.

It isn't easy when they alter what we are used to.
If you want to speak to a doctor at my surgery you can either request a call back on line ( which i have never done yet , so i don't know how quickly they contact you ) OR call a number and speak to a type of call centre .
They then advise you of the name of the doctor who will call you and and between what time frame you will receive the call .

The crucial thing is that if you don't start dialling as soon as the centre open their phone lines , it's very unlikely that any call backs will be available for that day because everybody and their dog , will also on the phone lines , trying to book call backs .

When the doctor calls you he/she will decide whether of not to give you a face to face appointment
My family and I book online through 'Patient Online Services' if appointment needed, appointments released throughout day and daughter booked one for 8:00am this morning last night at about 10.00pm....last appointment left and with one of the Senior Doctor partners at the practice too.

If we're not sure whether we need to bother a Doctor, either pop in and see our local chemist, or call practice and ask for a telephone consultation, whenever Doctor can call, and he/she decides if you need to go in, or prescribed something over the phone.

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