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"Inability to book ANY online GP appointment"

About: The Lawson Practice

(as the patient),

I have begun having severe anxiety attacks recently and badly need to consult my GP about possible short-term medication. I have been a patient of that practice for over 25 years and allocated to a particular doctor for several years now.

The practice website advises that one can "pre-book a telephone call back from the GP 24 hours in advance using "Patient Online" services" but this is useless because there are never any appointments available when I go online. Alternatively, one is told to call the practice from 8am on the day that an appointment is needed but the appointments FAQs indicate that the practice can't cope with all the calls - and not everyone can afford to telephone if it means waiting in a long queue.

I have used the online system for repeat prescriptions and booking appointments for years but now find that, whatever time of day I go online to try to book one, there are never any appointments available to book. The website should tell patients at what time of day the next day's online appointments are made available, so that those using the online system - which the practice is actively encouraging us all to use - can have a chance to get an appointment.

The website's Appointments FAQs currently state that "It is still possible to come in and book an appointment at reception" but I've been told just the opposite, when I've tried to do this.

I would very much rather see my own GP but, although the FAQs also state that "Most doctors have regular weekly timetables. We will put these on the practice website...", I can't find any such timetables on the website.

At this rate, I'll end up so anxious that I have to use the emergency system to get to see any GP, let alone my own one. No-one wants that to happen, surely?

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Response from Deborah Colvin, GP, The Lawson Practice, The Lawson Practice 5 years ago
We have made a change
Deborah Colvin
GP, The Lawson Practice,
The Lawson Practice
Submitted on 11/03/2019 at 14:56
Published on Care Opinion at 17:05

Hello, this is Dr Colvin responding, one of the partners at the Lawson Practice.

Thank you for this useful feedback. I have had a very helpful meeting with you now. The practice discussed the concerns highlighted in your feedback at our meeting today.

You are quite right that we need to update our practice website with all the information you suggest and we are going to do that. Some of that we can do now and some we will have to do in April. This applies in particular to the weekly time tables of the doctors but we will do what we can for now.

Please rest assured that if you walk in to the practice and ask to book a telephone appointment, this will be done for you. There is no reason why you can't do this. Again, thank you for highlighting these issues.

D Colvin

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Update posted by sambawf55 (the patient)

I had found a way around the impasse by e-mailing the practice, using the e-address on the practice website, in much the same terms as recounted here.

Although the practice apparently only picks up incoming e-mails once a day, my message was picked up very fast by a practice manager who immediately promised to organise an appointment with Dr Colvin, whom I'd occasionally seen previously. In fact, she telephoned me that evening and arranged to see me for longer than usual the following afternoon (the meeting referred to in her response).

Just being assured that that was being done, and then having that appointment to look forward to, helped to allay my anxiety.

Response from Deborah Colvin, GP, The Lawson Practice, The Lawson Practice 5 years ago
Deborah Colvin
GP, The Lawson Practice,
The Lawson Practice
Submitted on 04/04/2019 at 16:09
Published on Care Opinion on 05/04/2019 at 09:36

Thanks for this further contribution. We have now introduced another on-line option that you can use via our website to send an email. The on-line system also allows you to find out about symptoms and check yourself whether you need a doctors appointment. It is new and we are just getting to grips with it. Apologies that the changes are not yet on the website regarding release of on-line appointments and telephone slots. Hopefully this will be sorted in the next few days.

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