Wednesday, January 28, 2009

AyeRight’s no right (We knew that!)

A common gurn in Nairn is that of health care. Mention getting a GPs appointment to just about anyone, and you can expect a lengthy tale as to their latest experience, and here is mine… over a period I needed to see my doctor on a monthly basis, it made sense to see the same GP who would be familiar with my case. Working outwith Nairn I wanted if possible appointments at the beginning or the end of day, so that I wasn’t away from my work for too long.
Sadly my aim to see the same GP over a period of months at the beginning or end of day failed miserably.
Wrong time of month – ‘Next months appointments are not on the system yet, can you phone back tomorrow?’ If you remember, if you can get through on the phone to the surgery, and it’s convenient to phone from your work I was often met with ‘They’re still not on’ when I got through the next day, with the receptionist not really knowing when they would be – ‘can you phone again?’
To compound matters, doctors at Lodgehill clinic spend time at the local hospital, which takes them out of the surgery rota for a week at a time.
In the end I did get to see a GP every month (But not my one) and I didn’t always get end or start of day appointments meaning that sometimes I had to drive back to Nairn in the middle of the day.
My work requires me to do hours which are effectively 24/7 so I am aware what it is like not to have a 9-5 job – not always nice but a necessity. I suspect that a large majority of the working population of Nairn have Inverness or towns east as their place of work, traffic on the A96 confirms that so I suspect that I am not alone in having an issue seeing a GP?
The government has been trying to get GPs to offer
longer opening hours at their surgeries. This has certainly been met with some success in England. Is it too much to hope that the same scheme might be adopted in Nairn? Even if it is I fear the next problem is going to be getting GPs to work, as their salaries are sufficiently large for many older doctors to move to part time working. See you in the queue?
Photo: A common gurn in Nairn

3 comments:

Cynical Cyd said...

Indeed, as far as I am aware, as of this week you will be able to get appointments up to (I think) 7pm on a Wednesday (I think that’s the only late night).

However, what impact this will have on the current chaos of the appointment system at the surgery is unknown. From personal experience and from other people's tales it would seem that to get an appointment to see any doctor (not your own or named doctor) you'll have to wait in the region of 15 to 19 days. God help you if you are ill! I know there is an emergency duty doctor who you can see if it is an emergency but what constitutes an emergency? It’s not just appointments for doctors that seem to be in turmoil but for the nurses as well.

What’s gone wrong? Is it because there aren’t enough doctors, or too many are doing part time, or more people are sick? Is it because there are too many people not turning up for their appointments (let’s face it, if they have to wait 19+ days they’ve probably forgotten about it!). Does the surgery ring people up to remind them they have an appointment (if not, maybe they should, there seems to be enough people in reception). What happened to the 48 hour targets for appointments, was that abandoned? I had an appointment in the summer and when I asked the doctor why I would have had to wait 19 days he said it was because doctors were on holiday and visiting tourists wanted appointments. Fast forward to Nov/Dec where I had to wait 16 days for another appointment - wonder what the excuse would have been this time? Not too many tourists around at that time of the year!

Will things improve when they move to their brand new, shiny surgery up by the hospital? Somehow I think not. If you want to be sick, make sure you book well in advance.

dr-grigor said...

the doc is sitting here in absolute agony after developing a severe back pain, phoned my GP's to speak to the triage doctor, to be phoned back by a triage nurse, who i discovered later was diagnosing me question for question of the "NHS direct" self help website,which i could of quite easily done myself. it seems the case that even trying to speak with a doctor in an emergency these days is becoming just as hard as actually coming face to face with one !

Anonymous said...

Have any of the miserable nurnies who have nothing better to do than to be obsessed with going to the doctor actually thought about the fact that Nairn GP's do their own out of hours...that is, they provide 24 hour care unlike their Inverness counterparts. Now I suggest that for most of you its a case of too many fish suppers and lack of exercise, not to mention the gloomy outlook in life. Now let me see, what else can we think of complaining about........