"GP appointment waiting time"

About: Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT

(as the patient),

I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the waiting times to see my GP in my local health centre. The last time I rang for an appointment, specifically with the GP I am registered with I was told that the next possible appointment was in 3 1/2 weeks time. I travel abroad often for work & had only 3 weeks before leaving, meaning yet again I could not see him.

I tried to see my GP in July 2010 about a suspect Melanoma when I had 3 weeks in the UK. I was told that there were no appointments available for almost 4 weeks. Because of this I did not get to see him until July 2011. He referred me to a consultant, the Melanoma was malignant, it was removed, tested & I then had a wide local excision. The last tests were negative so hopefully there is no more problem with this. Had I have been able to see him within 3 weeks a year earlier this could all have been done more quickly & probably more safely.

Recently my GP rang & left a telephone message, checking if I was now ok after the 2 operations. As I now also seem to have some knee problems I thought it would be a good idea to make an appointment, discusss the earlier operations & check about the knee problems. I had 3 weeks before my flight to leave the country. The receptionist told me that the first available appointment was in 3 1/2 weeks! She did offer me the chance to see another GP, random from the same surgery within that time. As this was to follow up on earlier treatment that seemed pointless.

Do I have unrealistic expectations or is my local GP surgery particularly bad? When I speak to friends & family who live in other areas they usually tell me that their average waiting time is 2 days. Why in this area is it over 3 weeks?

Is this a way to reduce the number of patients that turn up to appointments? In 3 weeks 1/2 of the patients will either feel better & not bother or will be very ill & have had to go directly to a hospital.

I am very happy with the level of care from my GP when i can get to see him. The problem is that the waiting time is so long that I can usually not get an appointment in the time i have in the country. I then have to go to private hospitals when i am abroad if i really need treatment. Surely this can't be right.

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Response from Karen Edmunds, Head of Patient Experience and Public Engagement, Engagement Team, Kent Community Health NHS Trust

Hello, I'm sorry you are having difficulties getting appointments to see your GP.

GP services at health centres are no longer provided by Kent Community Health NHS Trust. If you would like to get a response to your comments or some advisce please contact NHS Kent and Medway's PALS service on

Phone: 0800 085 6606

Email: eck-pct.PALS@nhs.net

Text: 07825 844746

Address: Brook House, John Wilson Business Park, Chestfield, CT5 3DD

Best wishes


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