"Opening Hours Frustration and Smear Tests"

About: Redbridge PCT

(as the patient),

I am trying to make an appointment at my local GP's. Previously I know they are closed on a half day in the afternoons on Thursdays.

I tried calling several times between 10am-10:30am and get the out of hours answer machine. This is whilst I am at work. I then try to call again at 1.25pm when I next have a spare moment. Once again, I get the out of hours answerphone. The answerphone makes you aware that the service cannot be used to book appointments at your local GP's surgery, which is understandable and fine. However, they also state that you should call back when your surgery re-opens. How am I supposed to know when it is going to re-open? Each GP's surgery should have a website with the important information for that practice on it. I would suggest the following information:

Names and qualifications of GPs at the surgery

Telephone and address details

Opening hours of the surgery

Fees for Private Doctors certificates, or providing an ID letter in association with passport application

Details of hours when the Nurse is available and what treatments the nurse can provide such as immunisation for travel and smear tests.

The process for repeat prescriptions

Details of the various clinics run by the surgery.

On a separate subject, I would also like to state that while it is fantastic to have a practice nurse who can administer smear tests, I was disappointed that the nurse is available only on certain days between the hours of 10am-2pm. This is very impracticle for working women, particularly those, like me who work in the City. Our workplaces stipluate that "if you must" (as it if were out choice....!) take time off work for medical appointments we are to book them either as early or late in the day as possible. It is much prefered if you can book outside of working hours. We then have to make up the time we have had to miss from work in attending the appointment. So, if I had to leave work an hour early to get to an appointment, I will have to make up an hours work by coming in early or staying late. Therefore to have a Nurses appointment at 1pm is very impracticle and our company (I'm sure not the only company) stipulates that if your time required to attend an appointment adds up to over 2.5 hours of your working day, you must take it as holiday. People are reluctant to do this. Perhaps this is why there is a problem with the number of women having smear tests done, which I keep reading about in the papers.

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