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Waiting at doctor's surgeries

Discussion in 'Diabetes Soapbox - Have Your Say' started by helensaramay, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. helensaramay

    helensaramay Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I need to vent ....

    I have just overheard someone complaining they had to wait for 30 minutes at the end of the day at the doctors surgery.
    Whilst this is not great, I wish people would stop and consider why the appointments are running late. It's very unlikely to be because the doctor decided to have a long lunch-break; it's probably because one or more of the previous patients had something seriously wrong with them which took longer than the designated standard 10 minutes per appointment.
    And as a result, it is not just the future patients who need to wait longer, it is the staff at the surgery: the doctor, the receptionists, the nurses, ... who have to work later and will be delayed getting back to their families.
    Some people need to stop and think beyond just themselves and realise why things are not running perfectly, spare a thought for the others affected and be grateful they have a doctor's surgery to visit.

    Sure, it would be lovely if the surgery could have contacted future patients in advance and told them they were running late but, not only is this far less important than dealing with whatever emergency caused the delay but how realistic is it? The doctors will want to try to catch up the time (I wonder if they took their designated break times) and when did the delay happen? And what if the next patients failed to turn up? The doctor's would have to wait for you.

    And, if you don't like waiting, perhaps you could consider getting an appointment earlier in the day when there has been less time for emergencies. Not convenient for you? Shame - the world does not revolved around one person!

    Sorry for the rant. I appreciate the opportunity.
     
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  2. therower

    therower Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @helensaramay . Well said you. Totally agree.
    Have a good day.:):):):)
     
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  3. Chook

    Chook Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I agree, too. I have got many problems with my surgery but the reception staff do keep a white board at the front of the waiting area up to date with the expected waiting times for each doctor which is helpful.
     
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    #3 Chook, Oct 27, 2017 at 10:01 AM
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  4. Rachox

    Rachox Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    My GP is brilliant, not with his time keeping, far from it! Appt times are 10mins, but he never rushes you and often goes well over the 10mins if that’s what’s needed at the time. I always go prepared for a long wait. We have a touchscreen check in system and it flashes up a ‘we are running late by x mins’ message if there is a delay. I always make sure I have time for a delay when I attend and console myself in the fact that I have overrun an appt on occasions and don’t begrudge anyone else the time they need too.
     
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  5. Squire Fulwood

    Squire Fulwood Type 2 · Expert

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    I agree with the sentiments expressed by the OP but it has provoked some memories and since I am old they are from a long time ago. They will serve to describe how it used to be. I stress this does not happen these days.

    I had an 11 o'clock appointment at the hospital and the waiting room was pretty full but no-one seemed to be called. By 12 o'clock chatting had broken out and we discovered that every single person in the room had an 11 o'clock appointment. It seemed that the technique was to get his daily patients tucked up in the waiting room until he arrived (12 o'clock) when he saw them throughout the rest of the day.

    The local doctor's surgery was a quieter place years ago and I was the only person in the waiting room but I couldn't get the attention of the receptionist. She had a gift of not seeing you and if you knocked she picked up the phone.

    The dispensary had one lady in it and you could hear her on the phone but she was out of sight round the corner. She was obviously the person who taught the receptionist. Being the only patient did not mean a quick visit.

    Contrast that with recent events. I had an appointment at the surgery for an ECG and another at the hospital for an X-ray. I was out of the house for a total of two hours and the surgery and hospital are 10 miles apart.
     
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  6. Sue81

    Sue81 Type 2 · Active Member

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    I had an appointment on Monday middle of the surgery and it was a 45 minute delay. Was it a bit annoying Yes but I expect it and I’d rather the doctor was prepared to go through what was necessary than cut it short for me so I need to give the same leeway for everyone else.
    That being said I do prefer a first thing in the morning appointment so there is less chance of a delay
     
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  7. Chook

    Chook Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I used to quite like the old first come / first served system when you knew there would be a delay but you also knew you'd see a doctor eventually.
     
  8. lovinglife

    lovinglife Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Whilst I agree totally with what you say for some of us having to wait too long past an appointment can be more than just inconvenient- I for instance have to get a carer to sit with my son - I book a 2 hour slot at £14 an hour, it takes me 25minutes to get to my surgery so if my appointment wait goes over 1/2 hr I have to leave without seeing the doc and with travel expenses £30 plus out of pocket with having to try it all over again another day!
     
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  9. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    If the surgery was a business (hang on, it is) then there would be mechanisms to keep the queue to a manageable length.

    Most supermarkets, for example, open an extra checkout if the queue is above a certain length.

    What this says to me is that our GPs are currently over stretched and there is no slack in the system. If there was some slack, they could keep one appointment every hour free to allow for over-runs and emergencies and keep the waiting down to a minimum. They could even see early arrivals early if they were ahead of the queue. They could offer some same-day and nearly always next day appointments instead of a minimum of 3 days wait.

    We are left in the position that we have to be grateful to have an appointment at all and be prepared to put up with a service we wouldn't tolerate from any business where we could take our custom elsewhere.
    [I note that dentistry is far worse.]

    I am not blaming the GPs - I know that it is enormously hard to recruit and retain GPs - but the system needs some serious upgrading, which means both funding and improved working conditions.

    The Government at the moment seems more focused on cutting funding and pushing privatisation than ensuring that we have a fully functioning health service.
     
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  10. Bluetit1802

    Bluetit1802 Type 2 · Oracle

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    I imagine much of the problem lies with the Practice Manager and his team, and how good they are at managing.
    I have only had one long delay in the waiting room, and that was because the GP I was seeing had been called away to attend an emergency. Like @Rachox our waiting room has a touch screen check in, which tells us of any delays and how long. The receptionists will also tell us, if we ask, how many patients are in front of us in the queue.

    I just don't see it as a problem, not for me anyway.
     
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  11. helensaramay

    helensaramay Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    That's a very interesting analogy.
    As with many analogies, it works on most levels and then some annoying person (like me, sorry) spots a hole in the analogy.
    I am not disagreeing that service should be better.
    However, a supermarket does not open extra checkouts for customer service: it opens extra checkout to take more money.
    Unless the health business model is GP surgeries are paid for the total length of time they spend with patients rather than the number of patients they see, there is no financial incentive for them to open another "GP checkout".

    I agree with the idea of empty appointments to allow for emergencies: I think many surgeries have this. I suspect they have some way of modelling the average number of emergencies per day compared with the average number of no-shows.
    I am sure it is not a simple model and it probably varies in different areas.
     
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  12. Rachox

    Rachox Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    What I find shocking is the number of no shows! There’s always a poster up in our waiting room telling us the total number of appts wasted. They have tried to address this by having a number to text if you need to cancel but the numbers are still high!
     
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  13. zand

    zand Type 2 · Expert

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    There was a post somewhere about this (sorry can't remember the thread). Some surgeries count a double appointment as 2 separate appointments, but the patient is only checked in for the first slot and the 2nd slot isn't checked in and therefore comes up as a 'no-show'. I've also been sent hospital appointments that I have received after the date I was supposed to be there due to a back log in sending out letters. So my point is some 'no-shows' aren't no shows at all but just bad admin.

    Edit: Here is the thread I mentioned - post 135

    http://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/thr...thing-good-to-say-about-our-nhs.125792/page-7
     
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    #13 zand, Oct 27, 2017 at 3:20 PM
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  14. Rachox

    Rachox Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Oh yes I read that, I’m sure that will apply to a small proportion, not that I’ve ever been offered a double appt at my surgery!
     
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  15. Grateful

    Grateful Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I once spent seven hours in a windowless cell at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, wearing nothing but one of those weird hospital gowns and chilled by air-conditioning. At the end of it, the surgeon (who was pre-evaluating me the day before surgery) waltzed in, said hello, and waltzed out again about one minute later.

    I hadn't even remembered to bring a book!
     
  16. Bluetit1802

    Bluetit1802 Type 2 · Oracle

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    I once spent several hours dressed similarly to yourself in a waiting area where all the others were dressed normally. I had been pre-assessed for minor surgery (not a general anaesthetic) to have a port-a-cath inserted under the skin above my heart and tubes threaded along my jugular vein. Terrified wasn't a strong enough word. A harassed nurse came to tell me that the hospital had run out of port-a-caths! They had dispatched someone on a motorbike to another hospital 30 miles away to get one. Someone's head was rolling down the corridors for not ordering in a supply. My husband turned up to take me home before I'd even reached the operating room.
     
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  17. leahkian

    leahkian · Well-Known Member

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    My doctors have on the day appointments released at 8 30 each morning so you can if quick enough get one. There is a big sign telling people how many hours were lost with no shows and also a sign saying that a 10 min appointment is for 1 problem only which i told my GP that i would have to book a whole afternoon to get through them all. The people who run the practice are never off the phone asking if i needed all the medication i am on and would i change some off then, i just tell them yes i need all the medication and i will not change any and if they have any problems to get in touch with the hospital. A couple of years back i knew i had keytones and went to my GP and the lady at reception who has been there for years asked what was wrong and i told her i need to see a GP now. I was took in and my GP got on to my local hospital who refused to take me as i was under the care at Newcastle and they said it would be 2 hours before they could see me. So the GP got back on the phone to my local hospital and told them that in 20 years he had been my doctor i had never asked to be seen asap, the hospital said i had to go to ward 3. when i arrived they told me that there was no bed and sent me to A&E i was sitting there being sick and told i would be called soon a hour went by and i was still there. Then a old diabetic nurse saw me and asked what was a matter so i told her and she said wait a minute and returned with a doctor who took me to critical care my key tone reading was 7 as i was getting treatment i could here the doctor blasting triage and the reception staff after 14 hour i was allowed back home, The next day i phone my GP and thanked them and took the DNS a big box of chocolates. I then phoned my doctor at Newcastle who told me next time to phone him and he also blasted the staff at Durham and Newcastle which i find hard to believe as he is such a nice man.
     
  18. Kentoldlady1

    Kentoldlady1 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I recently took my mum ( who has dementia) to the gp. We were there for about an hour after the appt time and the receptionist was telling everyone that the gp had to deal with an emergency. Then an old lady stood up and said the wait was because the locum gp didnt know how to deal with the computer system and couldn't order a much needed test for her granddaughter. And her daughter had refused to leave the surgery because she had been in the day before and told to come back that morning. Felt sorry for the receptionist.

    We also (again with mum) went to a fracture clinic. Again an hour wait and the notice said clinic was delayed. Nurse said the doctor was held up in surgery. Nobody really minds that. Except when the doctor arrived we could all her telling her colleagues that the vet was able to fit them in and she thought her cat would be ok.

    Really dont mind having to wait. But really do mind being lied to.
     
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  19. Rachox

    Rachox Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Well the doctor was held up ‘in surgery’, the vetinary surgery! ;):joyful:
     
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  20. Jo_the_boat

    Jo_the_boat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Our surgery has walk-in appointments in the morning starting at 08.30 - first come, first served, and booked appointments in the afternoon. This seems to work well.
    I was once in with the doc for 2 hours one morning with an emotional blow-up issue while the subsequent queue lengthened and lengthened. He was absolutely brilliant with me so even if I have to wait nowadays I understand why and am patient (unintentional double entendre there).
     
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