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Hebden Bridge Group Practice

From Vivien Aspey

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Amid all the nationally publicised pressures on GPs, why is there nothing on here that's current about the marvellous job our local surgeries are doing? I'm sure  they could do with a shot in the arm.

From Andy M

Saturday, 22 July 2017

'A  shot in the arm' ..very good! 

From Dave R

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Why indeed? 

Average wait for an appointment is 3-4 weeks. For a same day it has to be urgent, defined by a triage inquisitorial assessment by the gatekeepers; at any stage you could be assessed by a health care assistant, a pharmacist or a nurse instead of your preference - a GP (any GP). 

So, no I don't think our surgery is performing differently than the National average. I should imagine they are not the worst but not the best either. 

I do know most constraints are as a result of political decisions, but I am not  really up for giving them a round of applause for doing their job! 

From Paul D

Sunday, 23 July 2017

I have to agree, it's patchy. With children they are really very good, there is always an appointment even if it means going down at the end or taking a phone call beforehand.

But for adults, this could be just males, it's truly awful. I was offered either 28 days for an appointment or call 111. I left it. Then by leaving it I really did need to get medical help and I phoned and they just said no, phone 111, who sent me immediately to Mytholmroyd and from there to hospital.

So, it cost the NHS literally thousands more to turn men like me away, knowing we won't make a fuss. I avoid the place. The receptionists often ask you what your 'problem' is and in a line behind you and the waiting room everyone pretends not to listen. Men are generally patronised in my experience, we are never supposed to get sick, if we do we're not real men. If we say we need help we get to wait a month - unless our backsides are bleeding like a cancerous Labrador and then we get referred to 111. Who send us to hospital.

It's great for kids. For men like me - just close the damned place. It's awful.

From Tony Badall

Sunday, 23 July 2017

As a sufferer of a chronic debilitating illness, support received from the Group Practce over the last few years has been exemplary. I can't thank them enough.

From Ruth F

Monday, 24 July 2017

It takes me several weeks to get an appointment with the GP I regard as "my" GP, and if I have to do book on the day I'm not allowed to request to be seen by a female despite being a "vulnerable adult".  Also you have to tell the receptionist why you want the book on the day slot, and sometimes you just don't want more people knowing than absolutely necessary.  It can be hard enough to talk to the GP never mind someone who isn't a medic and can't actually do anything.

Also, possibly not the GP practice's fault, but I've needed referrals to see eg dietitian and other specialists in HB due to disabilities that make travel for appointments fairly impossible, and been unable to see anyone because no one actually comes to HB now.

Eg. you can see a dietitian at Todmorden health centre on a Monday morning (no other time) if you can get there, but not in HB at all.

When I do get to see "my" GP she's excellent, but I wouldn't give the general organisation of the group practice many stars.

Another thing I have struggled with is trainee GPs whose English isn't up to par.  I am very quiet spoken and often unable to correct a doctor who misinterprets me, so mistakes have happened. This may not be strictly a HB group practice issue, but it has certainly happened there several times.

From John Rhodes

Monday, 24 July 2017

Three and a half weeks for a telephone conversation with a GP is unacceptable. But it isn't just Hebden Bridge; it's almost three weeks in Norwich as I know from family experience. Tory cuts (mainly) and poor management (partly) are really beginning to bite. Problem as ever is that most people don't notice if they're not a patient or know some who is. Roll on the next election and in the meantime we have to carry on campaigning.

From Jenny B

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

A shot in the arm? Do you mean a round of applause or A pat on the back!

I hardly think that the original poster can have expected an unbiased response unless perhaps they currently have no need of the surgery.

I find the appointment process fine if its not urgent, but as the majority of us cannot predict when we or our children may become ill, that is a bit of a problem.

I agree it is a National problem, but in a small town such as ours should it be so hard to see a GP?

I recently had a routine blood test, booked online for a convenient time for me pre-work at 7.30.

I attended at 7.25 to give me time to check in. The surgery was closed. A receptionist finally strolled over to let the small queue of patients in from the rain at 7.37. I sat in the waiting room observing the nurse drinking her tea and chatting to the receptionist until 7.45. I was called in at 7.48,  no doubt encouraged by my loud sighs and glances at my watch. So my appointment was 28 minutes late. No apology was offered and no comment made on my wait. When I politely suggested that it seemed unfair my time was no less important than the staff at the centre and that I would be now late for work, the response was that 'appointment times cannot be guaranteed'. 

Shot in the arm, more like a kick up the a**e from me!

From Ruth F

Friday, 4 August 2017

I have just been discussing the issue of having to tell the receptionist what it's about if you want a book on the day appointment with a GP, with people who have similar disabling conditions to mine.

One person pointed out that confidentiality is not just an issue of whether your information will be spread around town or not, but of as few people knowing as necessary.  A right to - and need for- privacy.

And also this practice puts the receptionist into the role of medical triage, which is not what receptionists are trained for - they're not doctors or nurses.

Hebden Bridge is a small town and I just don't want to keep bumping into people who are not my GP but who have access to highly confidential up to date information on me.

There is a lot wrong with this new set up at HB group practice.

From Jenny B

Saturday, 5 August 2017

I have some symptoms with  my health that are not critical, but I would like to see a GP face to face to discuss them without going via the gatekeepers on reception.  Looking online today, the soonest I can see a GP in HB is 06/09/17! 

Given that my symptoms are of concern to me, do I wait until they become 'urgent' enough for a same day appointment or hospital treatment? 

A month to see a GP is surely not acceptable. 

From Andrew B

Monday, 7 August 2017

I think our local practice does a very good job, staff have been responsive and helpful whenever I have needed advice.

If people would like more appointment slots or faster appointments the question they have to ask themselves is how much more am I prepared to pay in tax to get that? If they are not taxed on earnings the question then is how much more VAT am I happy to pay? Or what kind of reduction in government spending would I be happy with in order to make this money available?

From Tim M

Monday, 7 August 2017

I couldn't disagree more! In our experience, yes to book an appointment with a named GP to discuss something of concern, bit not urgent you might wait a few weeks (but there are earlier appointments, just not necessarily with who you want, perhaps because they are part time, for example).

For more urgent need then as a family we've never not been 'seen' straight away. This might not be face to face with a GP, but maybe more appropriate - for example a nurse, or GP telephone consult. The triage system works well - and receptionists are trained! It's not the same role it was in the 50s. There are issues with the local NHS in our opinion, for example, as l being split over two towns, but Hebden Bridge group practice is brilliant.

From Jenny B

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The earliest appointment with any GP - not just my preferred one is 7th September. 

I wish to see a GP not a nurse or a health care worker. Just as at times you need to see a dentist, not the hygienist.

I agree if it was urgent I would get an appointment, but not all things medical and  that we see a GP about are urgent, I wouldn't take an emergency appointment unless it was. 

My point was do I have to wait until it becomes urgent? So, is a month a reasonable time to wait and see any GP? 

I do think that if there was not such a long wait for a routine appointment, there would be less demand on the urgent service. 

Oh and I think I pay rather a lot of tax already, pay more to see a GP is a bit like suggesting I join BUPA. 

From Tim M

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

There may well be no routine appointment before 7th September, but if you needed to see someone urgently you could, that's the point! There's also NHS111 and A&E. Sure, I have read about how overstretched some surgeries are (and GPs workload!) but I think criticising HB GP is unfair! There is a finite amount of resource and it has to be allocated - they do this really well.

From Dave R

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Tim, Just what are the receptionists trained as? Are they doubling up as reception staff after spending a busy night on A&E; paramedics having a bit of down-time; Nurses trying to increase their meagre income? 

Or are they actually fully trained reception staff as you would expect?

If they are the former, are we are in real danger of undermining the role of the  medical professionals.

If the latter, then they are not actually qualified to give medical advice or discuss your medical condition with you, which is cause for concern.
Therefore, why should I be happy to discuss personal medical issues with the Reception staff?

I would love to be able to have a chat with a real GP some time so I am happy to wait a month to do that. This doesnt mean that I find it reasonable to have to wait so long though. 

From Chris P

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Yesterday evening I was called to assist a friend in his 70s, living on his own. His symptoms appeared potentially life-threatening and I called 111. We were promised that a doctor would call back within the hour. In spite of three further calls to 111, it was gone midnight before a doctor phoned my friend, 4 hours after our original call. We were desperate for medical advice during this period.

In the cold light of morning, now that my friend has recovered a little and spoken to his GP, I am left angry that the system is failing people so badly.

I don’t blame nurses or doctors who do a magnificent job. But something is very wrong with how our healthcare is organised. I myself would like an appointment with a GP but that would mean waiting weeks.

If these things are happening in Hebden Bridge with its articulate population, how much worse might it be in neighbouring towns. No wonder, the death rate is so much higher in the north than the south.

From Mike Prior

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

With regard to Chris' previous message, I was the elderly man involved and it was indeed a frightening experience. I agree that a 4-hour wait for medical advice was much too long. However, it should be noted that night-calls are no longer a responsibility of the local practice having been out-sourced by government policy to 111. When I phoned at 9.15 this morning, I had a callback by a doctor within 15 minutes who prescribed medicine after diagnosing the problem. 

In the past 5 years I have twice been immediately called in to the surgery after describing symptoms over the phone and have received excellent care. A friend of mine was actually given immediate care after a receptionist noted that she looked rather faint in the waiting room.

It is clear that getting routine appointments takes too long and that GP resources are stretched along with other sectors of the NHS. But I do feel that the system of prioritisation in Hebden is as good as can be arranged. That shouldn't stop us complaining though.

From Tim M

Thursday, 10 August 2017

I've never had to discuss my symptoms with the receptionist, merely give a one or two word description - easy enough, exactly as one has to do at A&E. The receptionists aren't called on to make clinical decisions. I think this is misunderstood by people. The duty doctor (usually calls back in about 15 minutes) does this. Again, reception staff are trained - just as 999 call handlers are able to prioritise. Of course, the system doesn't suit everyone, but personally I prefer a telephone consultation to making the trek to the surgery if it's not needed (I'm thinking particularly of the time I bumped my head tying my shoelace...)

From Sara McD

Friday, 11 August 2017

Personally, I think the system fails patients who don't have a voice that can be heard, or lack the confidence enough to be firm, when asking to see an actual GP and not be fobbed off with an alternative, when what they need is a GP.

My 90 year old housebound very frail mum, had been quite ill for a few days recently. Her carer rang the surgery to ask that a GP visit mum as she seemed very unwell. She was told mum would be called back by a GP to ascertain if she 'needed a visit'.

A GP rang and after speaking briefly to mum advised that she should drink plenty and rest and if her symptoms didn't improve she should call 111 the next day (it being a Friday). When I arrived at mum's, she was grey in colour and visibly struggling to breathe. Speaking to her over the phone it was not easy to hear this struggle in her speech. 

I rang and requested that a GP visit, and was again told that we would have to go through the triage service of a call back.

The GP called,and  after speaking to me, rather tetchily I thought, agreed that she would come out, but said that it would be after surgery in several hours time as they were very busy. 

The first thing mum said to the GP  was 'I am very sorry to bother you doctor, as I know you are very busy'. 

Mum was diagnosed with pneumonia. Despite antibiotics being prescribed she needed to go into hospital during the night, where she remained for 4 weeks. 

There is far too much responsibility on vulnerable patients to self-diagnose; self-medicate and ascertain if they have deteriorated enough to ring 111 or 999.

I do understand that this is a National problem but if we all accept it as 'normal', then the lives of us and our loved ones, are going to be at risk. 

Instead of saying 'don't blame the Practice' perhaps we should be asking the Practice what they are doing to prevent this system failure.