"Follow up tests after visiting the gp- why so difficult?!"

About: Hull Teaching PCT

(as the patient),

I recently had an appointment with my GP, which I was able to arrange during an evening surgery, which suited me extremely well as I work during the day, each week day. The outcome of the consultation included some blood tests, which the GP asked me to arrange with the receptionist. On enquiring, the receptionist informed me that the nurse was on holiday and I would have to arrange them through the main reception of the health centre. Again, this was not an issue, everyone is entitled to their annual leave time.

I tried to book an appointment, which would have been in a weeks time anyway, but the service is only offered between 9 and 11.30am on week days, i.e. when I am at work. After enquiring when my practice nurse would be returning from annual leave, i was again offered morning appointments because 'the van collects at lunch time'.

As a full time working professional, who is not able to take time off when I like, how am I supposed to have these tests completed so that I can receive the medical care I may require? What is the point of offering services to suit working individuals, i.e. evening surgery etc., if the follow-on treatment or investigations cannot also be provided at this time?

I am more annoyed with this situation as I recently filled in a survey which asked my opinions about service provision, which I thought at the time was good, although I have never had to access follow up investigations, and at this rate will not get them completed.

From being in this situation, I would like to suggest that more thought is given to the provision of services such as phlebotomy, and that they should be offered at alternative times to the usual 9 to 5.

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Response from Engagement Section Assistant, NHS Hull

Dear Annoyed HU7 Thank you for posting your comments about your experiences at your local GP surgery and Health Centre – as you have indicated a postcode in your username, we are making an assumption that you live in the North of the City. We are pleased that your GP surgery was able to accommodate you with an appointment at hours more convenient to you as a working person, and since you posted this comment we have introduced more extended opening hours. The diagnostic test services you mention are provided by other NHS Trusts and as you say, they are not as flexible as the initial appointments system. This is an issue we are looking into as part of our longer term planning, as we too acknowledge the need to have a whole spectrum of services available at times which suit our residents. Your points around service flexibility were also reiterated by other Hull residents when we carried out our ‘We’re All Ears’ listening exercise recently. NHS Hull is the organisation responsible for deciding how money is spent on local health services [also known as commissioning], ensuring those services are of high quality and meet local needs. We value all feedback and if you would like to discuss this matter further with us, please do not hesitate to contact our Patient Advice & Liaison Service on 01482 335409 or by email. If you would like to become more involved in decisions about local healthcare, all local health Trusts are recruiting ‘members’. By becoming a member you can receive advice on keeping yourself and your family healthy, find out more about your local NHS and help us improve local services. You don’t need any special skills or experience to become a member, you just need an interest in local health services. There is no commitment, you can choose to get involved as much or as little as you like. For more information on membership, please either by email or telephone 01482 675165.
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