Cityvisitor blog

The science of seeing a GP

Trying to get a GP appointment is more and more complicated every time I try. My local surgery changes its policy on a regular basis, meaning I have to keep relearning the rules, tips and cheats involved if I want to see a doctor.

The latest system had me completely flummoxed. I needed to make an appointment a particular Friday. It was not an emergency, but for personal reasons, it needed to be on this day.

I rang up on the Monday, only to be told the new system required me to wait until Thursday to ring up. Why the Thursday, I asked, before being told I needed to book what had been newly named as a ‘24-hour appointment’.

The story continues: Thursday came and I dialled the number of my surgery at exactly opening time. I got the answering machine, saying the surgery was not yet open. After several repeats of this, I finally got through…only to find it was engaged!

The story continues further: Several more attempts at getting through got me past the engaged phase and into a queue. When I finally got through to a receptionist it was about six minutes past opening time and I was told all the 24-hour appointments were now full and I would not be able to book an appointment for the Friday.

I won’t name and shame the surgery involved as I am sure they are just trying to come up with a fair system that also allows them to meet all their targets. I am also sure they are not the only surgery with ludicrous booking rules.

The NHS says GP surgeries are responsible for setting their own booking policies. This clearly isn’t working and something surely needs to be done to make the system easier to use and uniform across the country. Otherwise, more people are going to end up needing to see the GP for stress…

 

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