To complain about this doctors surgery

(45 Posts)
frogspoon Sun 06-Oct-13 15:50:04

My local GP has an 8am-8pm walk in service 7 days a week, including Saturdays and Sundays.

This morning, I went to the GP this morning to get an urgent appointment. As it is a walk-in centre at the weekends, I was prepared to wait an hour or two (average wait is 1- 1 1/2 hours).

However when I arrived at 10:30, even though there were only 3 people waiting in the surgery (so about 30 empty seats) the receptionist told me that the doctor was "fully booked for the whole morning's surgery", and that I would need to come back at 1:00 to register (after the doctor's lunch break). They would not let me make an appointment for the afternoon in advance.

I came back at 12:50, expecting to be able to register and be able to see a doctor. When I arrived, the same receptionist told me that the doctor had only just gone on her lunch break, therefore would not be seeing patients until 2:00.

I asked the receptionist how, if at 10:30 only 3 patients were waiting to see the GP, how she had managed to take 2 1/2 hours to see them, unless she spent almost an hour on each patient. The receptionist then told me that a number of people who had come at 9:30 had been told to come back at 11:30, and be registered then.

So I am now very angry because the receptionist lied to me in telling me that the doctors list was full, and they were not accepting patients until 1:00, when actually they registered several at 11:30, and that they told me I should come back at 1:00 when actually I would still have to wait an hour before the doctor was accepting patients. I would rather they were honest with me at the start, and I would have gone somewhere else.

In the end I gave up, went to an Urgent Care Centre at the local hospital and was seen and treated within 45 minutes.

AIBU to complain, firstly because the receptionist lied to me, and probably to several other patients as well (I saw some very disgruntled people walking out of the surgery as I was walking in) and secondly because they are extremely inefficient. Sending patients away and telling them to come back later has not eased the demand at all, if anything it made it worse, because in the afternoon there was both the patients who had been told to come back later, and any new patients who had come in the afternoon.

If they haven't got room though, they haven't got room. She knew she had x amount of people coming in at 11:30 if she had told you this you would have wanted to come back then too and potentially take their place.

I think it's silly that people are allowed to leave and then come back they should all just sit in the waiting room, like you were wanting to do, but I don't think it warrants a complaint. I'm sure they have their reasons for doing it.

They're obviously really busy and the poor receptionist probably has to deal with 90% of the patients being rude to her and stressed out doctors all day.

Mynewmoniker Sun 06-Oct-13 16:14:43

I was seen and treated in 45minutes Dare I ask if it was life threatening?

CoffeeTea103 Sun 06-Oct-13 16:15:38

Yabu, I've went in once at 8am at the local walk in and the queue before me was already long. Going in at 10:30 you should have expected to only be seen in the afternoon.

It isn't convenient to people to sit there for 2 hours if they can go do something else.

The receptionists can only give you appointments according to the doctor in a walk in. Unfortunately this is how the walk in works. Not the receptionists fault. Next time for an urgent appointment at a walk in go in earlier.

ilovesooty Sun 06-Oct-13 16:16:13

She might also have been called out to an emergency home visit before you returned. You have no way of knowing what medical demands she was facing that day.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 06-Oct-13 16:19:16

I thought a walk in centre was just that, you walk in and wait for your turn.

ilovesooty Sun 06-Oct-13 16:22:00

Our open surgery is 2-4 and you sit and wait. No going out and coming back. If it takes two hours or more you wait. People start registering much earlier than 2 so the waiting room is pretty full by then.

silverten Sun 06-Oct-13 16:25:03

I'm really not seeing why the OP couldn't have been allowed to do the paperwork, and told to return in the afternoon but to be prepared for a wait, though.

It's not like she expected to waltz in and be seen immediately, she was prepared to wait on the basis of whatever the situation in the surgery was, just not to wait on whatever the receptionist felt like telling her applied at that moment in time.

Turniptwirl Sun 06-Oct-13 16:26:26

Yabu, the receptionist knew how many people she expected to come back at 11.30 and that was obviously enough to fill all the appointments available between then and lunchtime. I actually think its s pretty good system to not have to sit there for hours, it's the last thing I feel like doing when I'm ill, id much rather come back later and have a shorter wait, meaning I can go home and nap or feel sorry for myself in the meantime

bigbrick Sun 06-Oct-13 16:27:29

This doesn't sound right for a walk in centre - where people wait for an appointment

nennypops Sun 06-Oct-13 16:30:27

Isn't the issue that they don't seem to have enough medical staff available to meet demand? Sounds as if they could do with at least one more doctor and/or nurse.

silverten Sun 06-Oct-13 16:33:16

Ooooh, I get it Turniptwirl. I'll shut up.

frogspoon Sun 06-Oct-13 16:55:30

I thought a walk in centre was just that, you walk in and wait for your turn.

The problem wasn't that I wasn't prepared to wait my turn, the problem was that I couldn't even REGISTER to wait my turn.

I wouldn't have minded if they had been honest and said "Sorry, we're really short staffed, the wait is 4 hours"

But instead they said "Come back at 1.00, and register then" which I did in good faith, only to find out that they had changed their mind and wouldn't register me until 2.00

Dare I ask if it was life threatening?

Of course it was not life threatening, if it was, I would have gone to A&E. However it was an urgent medical condition which needed medical treatment that day.

I just think the system was very inefficient. There was clearly nobody waiting, because they just kept telling everyone to go home and come back later.

A ticketing system would solve the problem as the number on your ticket would tell the receptionist what time you arrived and how long you had waited.

EnlightenedOwl Sun 06-Oct-13 16:59:16

Please complain. the system is ridiculous and receptionists need significant retraining - their role requires evaluation. They seem to think their role is to block access to the system for some reason.

totallydone Sun 06-Oct-13 17:02:31

Complain complain compalin. I work in a GP surgery and this is just so stupid.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 06-Oct-13 17:05:08

I didn't mean it that way, sorry if I came across that way.

Hope you start to feel better soon.

frogspoon Sun 06-Oct-13 17:48:32

That's ok.

Thanks, I've got a prescription now, so hopefully problem will start to clear up soon.

It's definitely a stupid system but I don't think you should blame the poor receptionist. Our bosses are horrible winkgrin can't do anything right!

kali110 Sun 06-Oct-13 18:01:10

I have a walk in center by me but people who are registered can make actual app. The people you saw may have been walkins and the doc also had people booked in to see. Those with apps get priority. Some people may have been registered maybe they looked sicker or maybe they were registered but not guaranteed to see a doc that day.
Yabu to complain before you actually have the facts.

frogspoon Sun 06-Oct-13 18:06:37

I'm not sure who to blame.

The receptionist did tell me incorrect information, but I don't know if that is because her boss told her to say that, or that it was her own decision.

She didn't even apologise when I came back at the time she told me to. If she had been nice and said she was sorry that I had been told the incorrect time, again I would probably not be so cross. But she just looked a bit bored and apathetic.

I can understand that if you are feeling poorly, it is more comfortable to wait at home for a doctors appointment, than in the surgery. But when you are feeling ill, you really don't want to make the journey to the doctors surgery 3 times, because every time you go, you are told to come back later.

kali110 Sun 06-Oct-13 18:10:16

I would have just waited. Maybe she had people cancel apps when you left, so registered them then.

frogspoon Sun 06-Oct-13 18:10:55

I have a walk in center by me but people who are registered can make actual app.

I am a patient of the surgery, so I am registered with them.

However there is a separate registration for walk-ins, existing patients don't get priority and everyone needs to register.

The people you saw may have been walkins and the doc also had people booked in to see. Those with apps get priority.

I would have been happy to make an appointment, but I wasn't allowed to (I mentioned this in my OP)

Some people may have been registered maybe they looked sicker or maybe they were registered but not guaranteed to see a doc that day.

The receptionist didn't even ask what the medical problem was before telling me to go away, so she had no idea how well or sick I was. A receptionist has no medical qualifications, so is not the person to make a judgement on how sick someone looks without at least asking them what the problem is.

frogspoon Sun 06-Oct-13 18:14:01

I would have just waited. Maybe she had people cancel apps when you left, so registered them then.

I was told I would have to wait 2 1/2 hours (from 10:30-1:00), just to register.

In reality I would have waited 3 1/2 hours (from 10:30-2:00) to register, followed by actually waiting to see the doctor, I'm not sure how long this wait would be.

Compare that to 45 minutes at the urgent care centre (plus a half hour round journey) and this was clearly the more efficient option.

Dobbiesmum Sun 06-Oct-13 18:45:06

I think I say this on every GP thread...
the receptionist follows procedure set down by the practice manager or senior partner.
They do not make rules up unless they are deeply stupid.
If the receptionist is given certain times to register a certain number of patients then it would appear that the 11.30 registration slot was already full by the time you got to the surgery, so you got told to come back at the net time slot. The fact that the GP went to get some dinner is pretty bad timing but they may not have had chance to eat before that due to paperwork and patients.
The system sounds very inefficient and in need of rejigging. Either that or they need to stop advertising it as a walk in surgery, because it isn't.

Said much better than me Dobbie!

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