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Gp Waiting Times

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Hymie | 22:10 Sat 17th Feb 2024 | News
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The Daily Mail has an article today on GP waiting times; of interest to me was that 11.7% waited two to four weeks for a GP appointment.


Surely the GP surgeries reporting such long waits could adopt the system in place at my GP’s surgery, in that they will not make an appointment more than two weeks out.


When you ring to make an appointment and there are none available within the next two weeks – they will ask you to call back in a week or so, to see if an appointment time is then available.



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So all that's happening at your GP's surgery then, Hymie, is that real waiting times are being disguised. 

i.e. the real waiting time is from when a patient first tries to get an appointment until when they actually get one. Your GP's surgery might well be able to submit data that shows that  their patients never wait longer than two weeks for an appointment but they've not actually cut the real waiting times at all.  

Further, their way of doing things could actually be extending waiting times for some patients.  e.g. if they were prepared to book patients in with more than two weeks to wait, a caller might then be given an appointment in two and a half weeks time.  However if that patient is simply told to call back next week, the slot which could have been made available to them might well have gone by then, thus extending their real waiting time yet again.

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Advising the surgery that you have previously called to make an appointment does not get you any special treatment; so the wait can go on and on.

You might never get an appointment, die or recover from whatever ails you before getting an appointment – but you won’t appear on the surgery’s waiting times.

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Anyone auditing my GP surgery’s reported waiting times should smell a rat – in that no one waits more than two weeks.

I am quite amazed that some guys here wait SO long to see their GP.

I have been with my local surgery here for 24 years.I have always been able to get an appointment on the next day,or the one after,if they are busy.

I should say though,looking at figures on the Internet;that our surgery has one of the lowest GP to Patient ratios in the country, and they always like you to see your actual doctor,not just one of the 6.

It's probably because we are very rural,that there are so few patients.

I hope that my new GP Surgery(when I move soon) will be as good?

The closure of a major GPs' surgery 4 miles from here has added a lot of extra pressure to our own surgery but a limited number of  'same day' appointments are always available to those who call in when the phone lines open each morning.

Six very rural doctors confirms suspicions that they're all hiding and taking money under false pretences due to a good union and a crap government.

I wonder if dentists work the same way.

two surgeries merged here a few years back and the good doctors from the one I went to left. The head of the merged practice put me in danger with an ill-thought-out prescription, but he's now left as well, I'm relieved to say.  The ones that are left will usually try to squeeze you in that day if it sounds urgent. Three of them are good, one is a bossyboots.

Been with the same surgery for 30 odd years tho' the docs have changed. I try not to go too often (!) but I've always managed to get a same day appt by ringing up as soon as the phone line opens. Not sure if they give appts for subsequent days - if full I guess they would just say "ring again tomorrow". 

It would help ease waiting times if the idiots wanting to see a doctor because they have a sore throat or a bit of a cold were fined for wasting the doctor's time.

My wife phoned last week to get an appointment or phone call from our GP as she is having balance problems.  She was told that they would send a referral to our pharmacy and they would call her.  They did call and said if she was still having this problem next week to call them and then they would see her in the pharmacy.  Can't even get a phone call these days from ours.  By the way last time she asked the chemist for advice he told her she had tonsillitis when it was something different that needed antibiotics to help get rid of it.

“….they will ask you to call back in a week or so, to see if an appointment time is then available.”

In the hope that you’ll be either dead or better, presumably.

I’m afraid you’ve started me off (it doesn’t take much where the NHS is concerned).

Mrs NJ had reason to need the services of a GP just after Christmas. Since then, she has undertaken three “eConsult” online triages. Each time the problem failed to improve she was required to undergo the same “triage” process for precisely the same condition. There is no other way to open the door to the GPs’ services (not that opening the door does much good). She has provided three urine samples. She has been given three (different) prescription drugs. She has never seen or even spoken on the phone to a doctor. Each time information was relayed to her by one of the surgery’s (large) clerical team. She was finally given a face-to-face appointment three weeks after the last prescription failed to secure any improvement. Ten days before that appointment was due to take place it was cancelled due to “sickness” in the surgery. Quite how they knew so many people would be sick in ten days’ time is difficult to understand but I suppose that’s one of the wonders of modern medicine. The soonest a new appointment could be provided was another three weeks later.

She gave up with the service that is costing taxpayers more than £180bn each year (and the particular branch of it which received £170 last year just for having her name on their books). Instead she booked an appointment with a private GP, which was for the following day. Appointment kept, 20 minute consultation, referral to hospital for tests.

To give you some idea of why these problems exist, our GP surgery calls itself a “health centre”. Quite how it gets away with that I don’t know as the last thing it seems concerned about is its patients’ health. But I can understand why it is not entitled “GP surgery”. There are always at least fifteen cars in the (staff only) car park. This is unsurprising because it has 31 staff. So who are all these people?

It has a “Reception Team” of eight people: a Reception Manager, a Reception Supervisor and six Receptionists/Administrators.

Next comes the “Practice Team” of a further nine  people: a Practice Manager, a Practice Operations Manager, a Scanner (me neither), two Secretary/Care Co-ordinators, two Clinical Coders (don’t ask), a Practice Medicines Co-ordinator and a Medical Records Administrator.

Then comes the Nursing Team of five: 3 nurses, a Senior Healthcare Assistant and a Healthcare Assistant.

There is also a Practice Pharmacist (though there is no pharmacy).

There are two people listed under “Other Clinicians”: an "ANP" (???) and a “Physicians Associate”.

And I nearly forgot – there are six doctors – four partners and two salaried GPs. Only one of these works full time. Looking at the availability of the others I doubt they amount to two full time equivalents between the five.

So, here we have 25 people supporting (or perhaps “surrounding” may be better) the equivalent of three full time doctors. Seventeen of them are administrators who play no part in actually healing the sick. The cost of all this must be phenomenal. Salaries (plus employer's NI, pension contributions etc.) probably approach £1m. Yet for all that cost Mrs NJ could not secure a five minute slot with one of the charlatans masquerading as a medical practitioner in the last six weeks.

No doubt one of the seventeen scribes is employed as a “target waiting time manipulator” and will devise practices such as described here so that the practice’s performance figures look wonderful. The envy of the world? My sides would split with laughter if I was confident I could get them stitched up again, but I can’t rely on that from my “health centre” so I’ll have to stuff a handkerchief in my mouth..  

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