How to get to see the doctor you want to see

“I can never get to see the doctor you want to see” is a complaint we hear from some of our patients.   Actually, it is a common complaint across nearly all GP practices in the UK.   This page will give you some tips on how to get to see the doctor you want to see.   Did you know that the main reason WHY you can’t get to see the doctor you want to see in a timely way is because of the number of appointments where patients simply don’t turn up!    Did you know that on average there are 400 appointments EVERY MONTH where patients simply don’t turn up and don’t even cancel.    If these patients would only ring us in advance to cancel, we could slot 400 other patients in every month!   400 waste appointments per month equates to 100 wasted appointments per week and nearly a whopping 5000 appointments per year!

In some situations, you have to accept seeing any available doctor

If you need an ‘on the day’ appointment either because something is an emergency or is urgent and WE manage to squeeze you in then it is only fair that you accept that you may not see the doctor of your choice.

  • The doctor you want to see might already have a full surgery and it would be unfair to cancel other patients who have booked their appointments in a timely manner.
  • It would also be unfair to squeeze you in with that doctor because the doctor would then end up running late and all his/her other patients would have to be kept waiting.
  • And if your issue is a true urgency or emergency, then it really should not matter which doctor you see.  A doctor is a doctor!  They can all handle emergencies and urgent things.

We hope you will agree that this is a reasonable and fair approach.

But, there is a way of seeing the doctor you want to see.

  • If you visit a doctor for problem that is ongoing, and you know you will need a follow up visit in say 2, 3 or 4 weeks time (or the doctor has asked you to do so), BOOK THE APPPOINTMENT WITH THAT DOCTOR AS SOON AS YOU LEAVE THE DOCTOR’S ROOM and BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE SURGERY.
  • We can usually and quite easily make an appointment for you up to 4 weeks in advance.
  • Do not book the appointment closer to the time you need it because that doctor will probably be all booked up with other patients by then.
  • The earlier you book your appointment, the more likely it is you will get an appointment with the doctor of your choice.

A couple of things to remember…

  1. One appointment is for one health problem. 
    Please remember that you only have 10 minutes for a consultation with the GP.  So please try not to bring in more than one main thing to talk about.  No doubt many of you have experienced long waits before seeing your GP.  Doctors usually run late because some patients bring in 2-3 complaints to discuss which then takes more than 10 minutes to sort out.   Please – if you need to see the doctor about 2-3 complaints – then book a double (20 minute) or even triple (30 minute) appointment.
  2. For a particular health problem, where possible, go back to the GP you have seen before about it.
    You can see which ever doctor you want to see in the practice.  You are not tied to any particular GP.  However, if you have started to see a GP about a particular health issue, then PLEASE GO BACK TO THAT GP if the same health issue continues to become a problem.
    If you don’t go back to the same doctor…

    • You will end up making an appointment with another GP who will not know about your problem and you may feel very little was resolved.
    • You will then have to waste time explaining it all over again from the beginning.   You might be wondering at this stage ‘Isn’t it all in my medical notes though?  Won’t the last doctor have made notes for this new doctor to read?’.  Yes the last doctor will have made notes in your medical records but do you think that the original doctor will have managed to capture everything you said in the little time they will have had to write in your notes?
    • For a new doctor, it can be difficult for them to pick up from where the other doctor left off
    • So – it’s just easier going back to the same doctor so that you don’t have to start from the beginning.
    • And most of the time, that original doctor will remember what you had said before.
    • The same doctor will know what they had done before and will then know what to do next.
    • So please – if you have a recurrent problem, see the same doctor.   If you have a new problem which you have not discussed with anyone yet, then by all means book in with any doctor (even if you are seeing another doctor regularly for something else).

Click here for more information on your named GP.