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Getting a doctor's appointment

From Raz T

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I don't go to the doctor's very often, and I've just tried by phone to make an appointment at any one of the three medical centres in the Hebden Bridge Group Practice. There is nothing available for 2 weeks, unless it's an emergency. This seems to me to be an outrageous length of time to wait, in discomfort or pain, albeit not at death's door. The receptionist put the long wait down to enthusiastic use of the online booking system. Am I being hopelessly naive here - is 2 weeks generally considered an okay length of time to wait now? And what about patients without access to a computer...

From Andrew Hall

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Raz, I couldn't agree more.

Some years ago, I had an irregular heart beat, and I was concerned enough to book an appointment. I was told, as you were, that it would be some days before I could be seen. At the eventual appointment, I was told by the Doctor, in no uncertain terms, that I should have insisted on being seen immediately I developed my symptoms. In other words, it was an emergency.

But how is a layman supposed to self-diagnose and know when an ailment is an emergency or something less important? My sister is a GP and her surgery can on occasion be filled with people who have minor colds and chills but who have convinced the receptionists that they're breathing their last gasp. On the other hand there are the stoics who are of the opinion that 'it'll be reet', when in fact they're seriously ill. The former group will witter on and complain and get their appointment, the latter will humbly accept what's given to them.

So how do you get an appointment? Well it seems the only way is to make a fuss and convince the surgery that, whatever your condition, you're at death's door. It's a wholly unacceptable situation where those who shout loudest get all the attention, but sadly that's the health service we appear to have.

From Jan Scott Nelson

Thursday, 9 June 2011

I agree that it is outrageous to have to wait so long to see a doctor.
I've found the online service to be very useful - and, using it, I have rarely had to wait more than a few days.

Also, on a couple of occasions recently I have just turned up at the surgery and either been seen straight away (irregular heartbeat) or been able to make an appointment for later that day. But I am fortunate to live very close to the Valley Rd surgery and so it is easy to get there. Not so for most people.

On the website it says 'Urgent cases will always be seen on the same day'.

From Sutti H

Thursday, 9 June 2011

It seems to be the norm, whereever you live in the country.

Do you think it's the Government's new way to stop people going on the sick? Leave it long enough and you will be off the records and in the chapel of rest.

Sounds like the late 1980's doesn't it?

From Anne H

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Last time I rang up to make an appointment - believe it or not for an irregular heartbeat! - I was quite rightly 'triaged', which is how it's supposed to work. You tell the receptionist that you'd like an appointment asap and she gets the duty doctor to ring you back and then he or she decides how urgent it is. That way, it's a fair assessment based on your symptoms and not on your ability to kick up a fuss. The doctor will then book you in for the same day or for the next non-urgent appointment (which will be longer if you want to see a specific doctor, go to a specific surgery, or at a particular time).

Alternatively, they might give you an advice call, write a repeat prescription or make an appointment to see a nurse or other professional. This is designed to save the same-day appointments for people who really need them. I suspect there's another kind of triage that the receptionist carries out to save the duty doctor's time. If she asks if it's urgent and you say no, then you'll be given a non-urgent appointment - 2 weeks in this case. If in doubt, say you're not sure if it's urgent, you'd like the doctor to decide.

A few appointments each day are kept free for online booking so you might stand a better chance of getting one earlier online than by telephone, but it could also happen the other way especially if you want a specific doctor or time of day. As far as I can gather, the delay for non-urgent appointments is no worse than at other surgeries and is better than some.

I'm more concerned about why so many people in Hebden Bridge have irregular heartbeats!

From Susan VB

Friday, 10 June 2011

I have never posted on here before but after reading this thread I felt I had to speak up for the doctors.

I have only praise for the HB Group practice.

A few weeks ago I had a sudden onset worrying set of symptoms. I phoned the surgery at 8.30am, had a call back from a doctor at 8.40 who mad me an appointment at 11 am. After seeing the doctor I needed an urgent blood test and was told they may not be able to do it at the surgery and I may have to go to the hospital. After 5 minutes wait my blood was taken at the surgery and I had been referred to a specialist.

Other times when I have phoned for something fairly minor I have had to wait for an appointment and sometimes have recovered before seeing the doctor so probably didn't need to anyway. I am always shocked to hear the number of people who make appointments and don't bother turning up, wasting valuable time and stopping somebody else from having the appointment.

Years ago you just sat and waited, sometimes for the best part of half a day. Who wants to go back to that.

From Paul Clarke

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Having endured the awful chaos of an inner city Manchester GP surgery for years I have to say our health centre is brilliant in comparison.

I have learnt that if I want a non urgent appointment then it's best to book early. Not a great hardship.

On the odd occasion I felt the need for a more urgent appointment I have found the system where the doctor phones you back to be more than adequate.

I think this yet another example of so HB whinging and we should think oursleves very lucky we have decent services in one place.

I can tell you it certainly isn't the same in areas where there is much greater social need.

From Christine Pogue

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

I had to go and see my mother's doctor in Leeds a couple of weeks ago. I got to see him on the same day which is good the fact I sat there with number 15 and number 3 was in when I got there after a 2 and a half hour wait I was seen. I hear people moaning at Hebden Bridge Surgery after waiting 15mins after there appointment time. I generally speak to the duty doctor and if he feels I need to be seen that day I have always got an appointment. Other times I have been given a prescription if that was deemed necessary. On the whole I think we get quite a good service from our practices.