Why Can’t I Get an Appointment?
We appreciate that it can be frustrating at times when you call for an appointment only to be told that the doctor you would like to see is already full, or there are no appointments available. The average number of times a patient attends their GP on average has increased from three times a year to eight times per year. This rise has occurred over ten years and is driven by a several factors. We are always looking at ways to improve the service that we offer and we welcome any feedback that you provide.
One of the major problems that we encounter as a practice is DNA appointments (Did not attend). Below is a breakdown of missed appointments at the practice.
In September alone, we had 880 minutes of GP appointments where patients failed to attend without notifying the practice.
For the majority of patients, this doesn't happen, but unfortunately it has an obvious knock-on-effect for everyone trying to see their physician of choice, as many of these missed appointments will then be re-booked for a later date.
We have a zero tolerance policy for serial non-attendenders. After 3 missed appointment letters, we have the authority to remove permanently you as a patient from this surgery.
How you can help
- Please ensure that if you cannot attend your appointment to inform us as soon as possible so we can make this slot available to someone else. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you have been advised by a consultant or specialist that you need to be referred to another department at the hospital then they may tell you to come back to your GP. In many cases, you may not need an appointment as with the relevant paperwork your doctor can simply refer you off. When calling check with the receptionist who will be able to check with a secretary or GP if you will need to be seen.
- Many people call to request sick notes but are unaware of the rules surrounding this. For the first 7 days of your illness you are able to self certify, meaning that you can request a form from your employer to fill in. You do not need a sick note from your GP for these first 7 days. This link from the government website will provide further information: https://www.gov.uk/taking-sick-leave
- Be patient. We understand that patients are frustrated but our receptionists are here to offer what available appointments we have. If you call on the day for an urgent appointment, whilst we will look for a convenient appointment, it may be necessary for you to come during work or school hours.
What we are doing to help
- Triage Doctor service. If all appointments that we have available are gone, we offer a call back from our designated duty doctor. This triage system is for URGENT acute medical problems that need to be dealt with on the same day. If you are added to this list then please make sure that your phone line is free, as if the doctor cannot call you then they are unable to arrange an appointment if needed. It is frustrating for the GP to have many people on the urgent call back list who do not answer or are unavailable to take a call.
- More appointments. As we are a training practice with many of our doctors training to be GPs, we have to provide them with regular training and on the job assessments. As of July 1st, all of this training is now done during the allocated administration time of our Partner GPs, meaning no appointment time is lost for patients.
- We have recently employed a new doctor to the practice, Dr Mistry, who was with us as a trainee doctor.
- We now offer numerous online services, such as making appointments and ordering repeat prescriptions.