Would you like an appointment…really?!


This is an issue I know a lot of people face.
I know this because every time I mention it on Twitter I get a response!

I am not a great NHS user, in my adult life I have been to the GP for:
– the pill
– chicken pox
– a throat infection I had been suffering from for over 3 months
– painful lumpy legs

I don’t think this is a bad record, but since having my baby I have had to go to the GP a lot, when he was very little he had of course the usual vaccinations and check ups, but also was poorly a few times, needed 2 emergency GP appointments and I needed 2 appointments (one an emergency) due to an urgent referral from my midwife.

Overall though i don’t think we are unreasonable in the access to a Dr that we demand. however it seems my GP’s receptionist** disagrees…

I knew we would have issues…

When I first went to register I took 2 of the documents required on their online registration form, passports and driving licence. I even went in during the 2 hour window they set aside for new registrations. Apparently the online form that I had printed and completed was our of date (much huff puff from the receptionist) and I needed to bring a council tax bill.

I was happy* to fill in the forms again but not so happy about trooping all the way home to print off a council tax bill given I had sent off our driving licences to have our addresses changed and online this had been listed as sufficient.

Long story short, I return with council tax bill.

Our GP sends texts when you have an appointment, unfortunately despite being filled in correctly on TWO sets of forms and my having been in twice to ask them to amend their records it took 18 months to get this right.

Some months later my husband had not received 3 referral letters from the hospital, and we discover from calling the hospital that they have been sent to the wrong address (WFT) so I call our GP and establish that they have the wrong address…

…I was approaching the end of my tether…fortunately since having a baby my tether has lengthened…

I had a long conversation with the receptionist who requested I brought in our ID and confirmation of address so we could amend it. I took the opportunity to advise LOUDLY that I had already done this, we hadn’t moved, I screamed am a lawyer with more than a passing knowledge of data protection and unless they sorted this out IMMEDIATELY there would be trouble and under no circumstances would I be bringing back in our paperwork and I suggested they check their records. 20 minutes later is was rectified and I was politely grateful.

When Jem was 10 days old he had to see the out of hours GP due to breathing issues, we were referred to A&E but as he vastly improved we opted to go to the GP the next day. Naturally I am a terrible mother so hadn’t yet registered him at the GP. Queue furious argument by irate and┬áhormonal mother with GP receptionist both on the phone and in person when I went for emergency appointment the next morning. I explained their obligation to treat my son even if he wasn’t registered but ultimately if not for the fact that I had already registered his birth and was able to provide a birth certificate I think we would have come to fisticuffs.

Yesterday I rang to book my son’s 12 month vaccinations, I called at 3.30 thinking this would be a “quiet time”. At first the receptionist was outraged that I wanted to book in for vaccinations and asked when they were due:

Me: when he is 1, it’s his booster and MMR
GP: well when are they due
Me: I thought at 1 year old
GP: When is that
Me: (confused as they have his date of birth) well he’s already 1
GP: So are they due today or tomorrow
Me: I don’t understand
GP: How urgent is it
Me: (not understanding that clearly they should be done immediately upon turning 1…) I don’t know, I thought after his first birthday
GP: When was he 1
Me: 3 weeks ago
GP: Tut tut then it’s an emergency, come in at 8.45 tomorrow
Me: Ok…
GP: You mustn’t be late, it’s the second appointment
Me: Ok…
GP: rants for 3 minutes about the importance of being on time***

Anyway when I got there 5 minutes early today the 8.30 appointment still hadn’t been seen and wasn’t seen until 8.50, they were only 20 minutes late for our appointment so I won’t complain but really I do object to being spoken to like a child when I consider myself a fairly reasonable patient.

* I wasn’t really happy, but it makes me sound more reasonable…
** there are actually 4 receptionists, 1 is marginally ruder but fractionably more capable than the others, she’s my favourite, one must compromise
*** I’ve never been seen at the GP less than 15 minutes after my appointment time and for one set of jabs I had to wait with grumpy baby nearly an hour after our appointment time…I’ve never been late…