"GP Appointments"

About: Lanarkshire Community Services

(as the patient),

The process for making an appointment to see a GP at Wellwynd Airdrie is highly unsatisfactory.

To see a GP the patient must wait for a call back from a GP. The GP will book the patient in for an appointment (what do the receptionists do? ) if they deem this necessary - in other words they conduct an over the phone consultation without seeing the patient. I had previous experience of this where I was rushed to tell the GP my symptoms over the phone and his response was to send me an antibiotic to the pharmacy for me to collect. Despite that there is an awareness on not prescribing anti-biotics like smarties, and as someone who would rather not take them if they are not needed, I was surprised that I was being given a prescription without being seen by my GP and especially since I was having breathing difficulties. I insisted that I did not want to take antibiotics without being seen first by a GP. Picking up a tone of annoyance at my persistence from the GP, I was given an appointment for the following day with the GP had spoken to on the phone.

Upon seeing the GP he said that my condition was not something I needed an antibiotic for! Hooray, victory for me for not taking antiobiotics I quite clearly did not need but would have otherwise been prescribed over the phone - I was most upset that had I not persisted I would have been misdiagnosed and pumped my body full of antibiotics that would only do me more harm than good. I left the matter there.

Yet again however, I presented to my GP surgery in practice to make an appointment with my GP. Besides requiring a prescription for what I was assuming was an infection I also wanted to discuss any possible long term treatment option for the recurring issue that I was presenting with. I was told by the receptionists (who do not make appointments) that I would have to wait for a call back from the GP who would give me a consultation over the phone. Here we go again I thought. I explained that after my experience last time, regardless of the GPs diagnosis over the phone I would be insisting on an appointment in any case. I was told this was the process unless I divulged, in earshot of the extremely busy waiting room and to all in sundry what it was I wanted to speak to the GP about, apparently then the receptionist could go and ask the GP if I could have an appointment. I advised that I was not willing to discuss my intimate medical issue with a) a receptionist and b) the general public within earshot.

I expect the NHS to provide a service to me that respects my confidentiality and dignity, not one where I am expected to air my medical dirty washing in public. This practice of asking patients to do this is, by itself, enough to deter a patient from presenting at surgery with a medical issue for fear of being embarrassed in front of a room full of other patients. In my opinion, the process of patients telling receptionists their medical problems for them to make a judgement call on whether the patient gets an appointment with a GP must cease.

I accepted the call back from the GP (incidentally how much are these call-back phone consultations costing the practice/NHS? Telephone charges aside, I do not support that the best use of my GPs time is to call patients and give telephone consultations, and furthermore that these could quite possibly result (as would have been my experience above) misdiagnoses over the phone). Once again I would argue that this practice must cease. This is not the service I want to receive from a GP.

The extremely short phone consultation with the GP was also highly unsatisfactory. I was again rushed, did not feel the GP was listening to me and once again picked up a distinct tone of disgust when I asked if I could have an appointment to discuss my medical issue and treatment. To be made to feel that my request to see a GP is a burden is unsatisfactory. The whole processes of not being able to see a GP without either divulging your personal symptoms or accepting a possible mis-diagnosis over the telephone is unacceptable and not the service I want to receive or indeed want anyone else to receive from this or any other GP practice.

It might be fine that I am persistent enough to demand a fit and proper service from my GP and request an appointment but for other more vulnerable or less assertive I fear that misdiagnoses, deterrence from presenting at your GP for treatment and general trust in this area of care giving of the NHS is likely.

I am an extremely unhappy service user of this GP practice and feel that since acquiring the previous Millstream GP practice in Airdrie and Caldercruix, this GP practice is out of its depth and it is, I assure you from my own experience, negatively felt.

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Response from Laura Jack, Patient Affairs Manager, Primary Care Division, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Laura Jack

Dear AirdriePatient,

Thank you for getting in touch.

I’m sorry that you are not happy with the current arrangements at the Wellwynd Practice. I appreciate that a telephone consultation might not be right for everyone and it is of course your right to request an appointment to see your doctor which you duly did. I was pleased to read of your awareness around the use of antibiotics.

Please be assured that confidentiality is an issue that is taken very seriously by the NHS and we realise there are times and environments when extra care and consideration should be taken.

I’m not able to answer your points more directly than this at present as GP Practices don’t currently use Patient Opinion so they are unable to respond directly to you in this forum. I can tell you that NHS Lanarkshire is one of only two Health boards in Scotland currently working to introduce Patient Opinion into GP Practices.

I have shared your feedback directly with the Practice Manager and the Medical Director for Primary Care Services.

If you’d like to get in touch with the Practice Manager directly please contact 01236 772 306

Best wishes


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