"GP appointment problems"

About: Warrington PCT

(as the patient),

I know that the department of health has set standards for the speed of access to GP services but this does not seem to work. My GP surgery insists on you only being able to have an appointment that day. In my experience, if you don't get through within half an hour of the surgery opening either all the appointments are taken or you have to have an appointment during the day when it isn't convenient due to work commitments. Can't urgent appointments e.g., parents with children etc, be given priority earlier in the day and some appointments be set aside later in the day for less urgent matters? Also, why can't patients be asked when they can attend, so that scarcer appointments, after working hours, are not given to people who don't need them (e.g., retired people)?

I was once offered an appointment on a Saturday, after having to protractedly explain the nature of my appointment to a receptionist. When I attended with my husband (as I explained to them I would because the matter was pregnancy-related), they remonstrated with me for not booking a double appointment! Some customer care training mightn't go amiss for reception staff. I resent taking the brunt, when they had not communicated with each other, as I had supplied all the information to them beforehand.

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Response from Val Harper, PALS Co-ordinator, NHS Warrington

As Commissioners of GP services in Warrington we are sorry to hear of the problems you describe. If you would like to contact our PALS Co-ordinator on 0800 389 6973 or by email with further details we would be happy to look into this for you. We are planning to open a new surgery, based in the town centre, which will be open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm 7 days/week. Patients from across the town will be able to walk in the centre to access services (even if they are already registered elsewhere) or to register with the practice list. Once this facility opens in the summer it may provide a more convenient solution should your own GP practice be unable to accommodate you. In the long term we are planning to extend this type of surgery with branches at various locations across the town which should make it easier for patients to access services.
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