What is the story of what is happening in my doctors surgery?
Luckily, my health is such that I do not often have to contact the doctors surgery but an ongoing pain in my hand which is gradually causing me extreme pain, meant I needed an injection from a doctor.
As a 1952 baby, the National Health Service has always been there. I was lucky in that the doctor calling at the house was a rare occurrence, thankfully. I remember well how my mother tried to tidy up before they came! Whilst we have grumbled in the past about not being able to be seen IMMEDIATELY, it has never been too long to wait.
However, my recent experience is making me question just what is happening in our surgeries. I do not have the answer but here’s the tale.
Making first contact
As with most things, the first contact is with the receptionist. They are the cadre of people (often women) who organise, prioritise and generally manage the world for their charges – the doctors. In the past, they have got some bad press as it has felt that it is they who make the decision of how urgent your need is & when you will be allowed to see anyone.
Now, I’m not sure that is the case.
My surgery, like many I know, asks you to call at 8.30 to ‘make an appointment. Well, it does seem a bit of an ask to get EVERYONE to call at the same time. There is going to be a queue & you will need to either hold or phone again. For those parents trying to get children off to school, this is a nightmare scenario.
Anyway, I dutifully phoned & asked for an appointment with the doctor who had previously given me an injection on my hand. I was told very politely to call again the next day as his appointments were not released until then.
WHAT?! This is certainly a new addition to the proceedings. Why do you have to wait for specific days to make an appointment for a specific doctor? Remember, this is just to make an appointment!
Doctors surgery by phone?
My appointment came the following week & was by phone. I had assumed because this doctor had treated me before & would have access to my records, he would quickly be able to arrange for me to pop into the surgery for an injection in my hand.
I had to explain all my symptoms, how long I had been in pain, what I had done about it.
Both my husband & I are keen to take the responsibility to keep ourselves healthy & so when we are feeling a bit under par will take a tablet, rest or whatever is needed. We also have a fabulous pharmacy near so if we are not sure, we will pop & ask for advice. So, we do not visit the doctors’ surgery often. Maybe that is why I was surprised that the doctor didn’t have my notes on the screen & could see that one of the things I have visited about was my hand.
That was not the case but eventually, he agreed that I probably did need an injection so I needed to make a double appointment. That meant phoning reception again!
Back to the start again
My call to reception did not have to be at 8.30 because I had permission from a doctor to make an appointment so I contacted the doctors surgery straight away. When I got through I felt confident that I was now on the final strait to getting my injection.
The receptionist once again took some details then seemed to disappear. My husband, who was sitting alongside asked if she was still there. My reply to him was that she was probably trying to find a double appointment. The receptionist came on the line & explained that she was trying to find a doctor, never mind a double appointment!
Finally, she gave me a time & date which I gratefully accepted, said my goodbyes & hung up.
‘So?’, asked my husband
‘It is in a month’s time’!
What is your experience of your local surgery? Do share below.