"Making appointments"

About: Bourtreehill Medical Practice

(as the patient),

For over a week now I have called daily in an attempt to make an appointment to see a doctor.

Although I am in pain, I don't regard it as an urgent matter, therefore I don't need to be seen within 24/48 hours.

My issue is that it is impossible to get appointments outwith this timescale, and calling at 8: 30 every morning just to see if there are any available appointments is ridiculous as I can only attend an appointment on certain days of the week due to being at college. What could be improved? Offer appointments outwith 48 hours.

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Response from Practice Manager, Bourtreehill Medical Practice

Thank you for your comment, and particularly for using “Patient Opinion” to send it to us – the system is working!

As you can see we are making this topic open to all as it is at the very heart of our daily business. We entirely understand the frustration when a busy lifestyle places limitations on your ability to get to see us.

We checked our system, not only on the basis of your comment, but as we do on a routine basis, to monitor how we are doing for pre-bookable GP appointments outside 48 hours, and we did find appointments from just over a week hence as part of our normal rolling programme of rota management.

The dilemma is striking the right balance of dealing with the current extremely high levels of demand on GPs everywhere in Ayrshire, including patients demanding to be seen straight away or the next working day, and those like you who kindly try to recognise their need, work with us and plan accordingly.

We can only ask that all patients do as you do, so that we are confident we are meeting the need appropriately. However, if a patient is in pain there is a judgement to be made as to the priority, and this must be made about any appointment that we are able to offer. We know it is difficult to get through to us in the early part of the working day; we will continue to review access on a regular basis, and we keep in mind every way we have to communicate with patients as part of that.

We very much hope that you now have an appointment, and thank you once again for letting us know about this.

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Update posted by Keeper13 (the patient)

Thanks for the quick response.

I do now have an appointment, but it wasn't easy to get.

Each time I called I asked for an appointment whenever one was available, even if it meant waiting a week or two.

On several occasions I was informed by whoever answered the phone that this wasn't possible, which leads me to think that the reception staff are either unaware that advance booking appointments is still possible or, hopefully not, that they simply don't want to look for available appointment times.

Whilst I appreciate that there are a variety of pressures due to targets, patient demand, etc., there is definitely room for improvement.