"Lack of service at practice"

About: Greater Manchester

(as a staff member posting for a patient/service user),

I have been ill since June last year and have undergone a range of tests to find out what is wrong with me. One of the tests I had to do was to monitor my blood pressure for a week. ( My GP had asked me to do this following a request by the hospital). I started monitoring my blood pressure at the beginning of the week (Monday) and continued to monitor it during the week. It was very high each time. On the Friday the Greenbank Medical Practice Receptionist phoned me up to say the GP was very concerned as my results were high and I needed to be prescribed medication, however they did not have any free appointments so suggested I phoned the GP Practice at 8. 00am Monday morning of the following week, and if I could not get an appointment to phone again Tuesday morning.

I was quite upset by this as this meant I had the whole weekend before I could make an appointment and even then I might not get one, yet the Practice had contacted me and told me the GP was concerned about my blood pressure and I needed medication so I was anxious about this and what it meant. I told my friend who was at my house at the time about it. Unbeknownst to me she then phoned the GP Practice and told them that if I was taken ill over the weekend she would hold them responsible. A few minutes later after she had made this call (I found out later) the Practice Receptionist phoned me up to tell me that they had had a cancellation and they now had an appointment at 2. 50pm and could I get there. I went along to the appointment there was no one in the waiting room. I got seen at 3. 00pm and prescribed medication for my high blood pressure by the GP.

In another instance I received a letter from the Practice Nurse requesting I make an appointment for some tests including blood and asthma. I phoned at 10. 30 on the Monday morning and was told they had an appointment at 11. 00 that morning and could I get there. I explained that it takes me a while to get ready due to my current health problems and that I could not get there in half an hour. I was told that there were no other appointments. I left it and phoned the next morning first thing to be told they had no other appointments for three weeks and that they worked on a two week diary. It took three weeks to see a Practice Nurse.

Both times I had been contacted by the Practice - I had not contacted the Practice myself and both times I struggled to get an appointment. I feel upset and let down by the current practice and feel that the receptionists are ruling the surgery. If my friend had not been there to contact the GP Practice back on my behalf with regards medication for my high blood pressure I do not know when I would have got an appointment and would have had the whole weekend worrying.

Healthwatch Oldham posting at the request of this patient

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