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phone consultations only ??

Topaz53  Female  Northamptonshire
13-Mar-2020 12:48 Message #4772578
I was due a medical check up next week, which includes checking bloods, blood pressure etc.

The surgeries receptionist rang saying I would be having a phone consultation only.
I declined and informed her that under the current situation I was going to cancel and rebook in a few months anyway.

I have since spoken to a friend who has had a text message from his surgery telling people not to go to the surgery and that they would be having phone consultations only.
He was concerned the surgery was closed as he had a prescription to pick up.

Has anyone else been given this information...and is this JUST a temporary measure?

If temporary, totally understandable,
but a bit concerning if it continues.
There are some conditions that cannot be discussed over the phone.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
13-Mar-2020 18:53 Message #4772587
I don't think this applies at my surgery, maybe all surgeries are allowed to make the choices that seem best for them, I agree that there are some things where you need to be seen and shutting surgeries down to everyone will just overload A&E depts, maybe you get a face to face if the doctor thinks you need one?
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
13-Mar-2020 18:56 Message #4772589
There's at least 2 answers and one concerns coronovirus.
For years GP surgeries have asked people not to attend an appointment for viral infections. Even during swine flu it was specifically requested not to risk infecting health staff but ring first so a GP or suitably trained nurse could elicit risk, but people don't listen and just expect a magic pill to cure them.

The second answer is many surgeries are moving over to online consultations (though I was doing these in 2001). It massively reduces unnecessary cross infection risk and allows a GP/nurse to assess if a higher level exam is necessary. It's been great now my daughter has got used to it as her GP knows her and a physical exam isn't necessary.
I've been fighting for this for 20 years as a nurse with degree including IT but the old GPs were too stuck in the dark ages.
The above communication should leave more time to see more vulnerable patients and less of those who make an appointment to see if they need an appointment!
eurostar  Female  Merseyside
13-Mar-2020 19:10 Message #4772590
Yeah I got a text off docs today and the vets lol both saying ring first and emergencies will get appointments, even my dentist has cancelled my check up
Minnie-the-Minx  Female  Hertfordshire
13-Mar-2020 21:54 Message #4772595
I was very happy with our surgery yesterday. At 3.30 pm, I looked in my bag for my inhaler and I couldn't find it. It must have dropped out of my bag when I was out. I don't have a spare and my asthma has been pretty poor since I had a virus at the end of January. Since covid is respiratory, it couldn't have happened at a worse time. I called the surgery and told them the problem and asked them what was the quickest way to get a prescription. The receptionist said that he would call back, which he did about an hour later, to say that my prescription was waiting for me at the surgery. I picked it up, went to the pharmacy and just after 5.00 pm I was back at home again with a new inhaler. I still haven't found the one I mislaid, so I must have lost it when I was out.
Blue-Poppy  Female  East Yorkshire
13-Mar-2020 23:32 Message #4772602
I can no longer book an appointment on line as usual but only after phone triage.
ravspal  Female  Dorset
14-Mar-2020 08:18 Message #4772611
I was due to have shingles jab, but practice nurse rang to cancel it. She said non urgent procedures are all being cancelled .
Got dental appointment for check up on Tuesday. Not been cancelled yet.
Gilpin  Female  Middlesex
14-Mar-2020 09:11 Message #4772616
My surgery always has a brief consultation if you want an appointment the same morning. There is also the option of a doctors consultation, where they will call you, or a nurse consultation. I would imagine they try to prioritise those that need immediate appointments and those whose symptoms aren't so urgent.
vintagedave  Male  Northamptonshire
17-Mar-2020 16:12 Message #4772916
Hello Topaz,

I have had the same experience in Kettering. Weavers & Eskdaill surgereies are doing phone consultations only, and the surgery receptions are closed to visitors. Strangely Kettering General Hospital is working as normal. So what is the difference between a GP consultation, and a hospital consultation ?? Prescriptions are not a problem as both practices have had an on-line repeat system operating for some time.
There is a worrying aspect of this however, in that I wonder if it will create a precedent for the future ? Will we have to talk to someone who will then decide if we need a doctor ? The 999 Ambulance service already operates this way in our area, perhaps the idea will become more widespread ?
Incidentally, I did ring the surgery, and was told there were 32 calls ahead of me !

wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
17-Mar-2020 18:54 Message #4772932
Our GP's are supposed to hae an online repeat prescription ordering service and I've tried it twice and it dosen't work, I can't even get on the site as the address comes up as unknown, I have told the surgery this twice but nobody seems to know what to do about it.
Topaz53  Female  Northamptonshire
17-Mar-2020 21:27 Message #4772951
Hi Dave,

Good to see you.

Yeah I'm at Eskdaill too, like you, a bit concerned that this phone consultation may turn into the "norm"
when normality is resumed..
whenever that may be :/
twinkle2  Female  Hertfordshire
22-Mar-2020 11:09 Message #4773376
Wonderoushen, ditto with the online repeat prescription ordering. Once I dropped it into the surgery through the internal post box and never got the repeat. Currently repeat scripts have to go in the exterior letterbox however the sign saying that is pasted over the interior letterbox. My prescriptions are forwarded electronically to the chemist for pick up.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
22-Mar-2020 13:08 Message #4773400
It would actually be really good if this system became more normal. In fact GPs I am still connected with hope it will forge a "step change" in behaviour.

From the other side of the counter until end of January, the public, over the past 20 years or so have become more demanding and selfish, less aware or interested in trying other remedies they are advised to, a bit like the recent panic buying and hoarding, there are a certain number who spoil it for others and that includes demanding a GP appointment and considering themselves an emergency. These personalities actually squeeze out the sincere and less pushy types who don't bang and shout. If the demanding are not pandered to they leave a bad review that the GP didn't care or the receptionist had no business asking why they wanted an appointment.

My own GP clinic has been trialling an "ASK My GP" app which seemed a bit vague at first, but twice now I have only needed something relatively trivial and it has all been dealt with via email.

I used to triage, though only trained on what used to be an expert system that took patients through what often seemed like stupid questions, but when we had only one GP out of 3 for a few months I could try to help and deal with many of the enquiries which I could then divert thoise I couldn't deal with to the GP.

Patients would be demanding an urgent appointment to a receptionist, then when I took the call one example might be an asthma patient who had not been keeping appointments and run out of inhalers. Since I was trained in respiratory, and it is usually the nurses job anyway, I could get th patient over the hurdle by issuing a one-off prescription and make them a further appointment in the next 4 weeks. If they were getting on with going to work, collecting the kids, they were not emergencies.

Another example would be a heart surgery patient who couldn't get their prescription so I could also arrange that without the GP.

One's I would always book in with the GP would be sick children or people who could hardly speak, and on a few occasions directed straight to an ambulance and phoned A&E to expect them and why.

My friend says in Sweden he always has to go through the nurse first and it works well.

The problem I found, is personalities. One patient would never see me because I stopped the surgery issuing blood testing strips at £25 a box when he had no problems with his diet controlled diabetes so some patients try to see the softest touch to get what they want, even if it is not recommended or needed. It's one of reasons I retired because the new lead GP just gave patients everything because they are afraid of the blackmail of a bad review.
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire
22-Mar-2020 13:34 Message #4773402
Our surgery has had telephone appointments only for some time. You rarely see a doctor. I cant even remember the last time I had an appointment in the surgery & I doubt I would recognise the doctors if I saw them out, either. The surgery has been closed completely for some 3 weeks , and repeat prescriptions have to be put in a box outside. Not ure who collects them as its all closed and locked.

I do think tel appointments are good, and as said earlier does avoid cross infections. I guess it depends how serious the ailment is.

JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
22-Mar-2020 13:52 Message #4773405
Another point on this public review system on GPs, though not directly connected t the OP.

It's a bit like reading a review on Amazon, let's use a vacuum cleaner as an example.

You might a few reviewers complaining it arrived late, or the outer packaging was damaged, then they report on the product as if the functionality depended on the delivery service.

I was pleased I had good reviews, not sure why because apparently I "said it how it is" which some people didn't like but others appreciated. Anyway, I had 4 weeks off sick due a severe chest infection, and my reviews went drastically down because patients could not get a nurse appointment.
Sea  Female  Essex
22-Mar-2020 19:57 Message #4773432
My youngest daughter had an appointment at her local surgery a couple of days ago. It was for routine vaccinations for a four and a half month old and a three and a half year old. They were the only ones entering the surgery, which seemed rather dark and as if not open. She spoke of it afterwards, as being a rather clandestine, cloak and dagger experience. Met by a receptionist/nurse wearing mask and protective clothing and taken into surgery, where another wearing mask and protective clothing carried out the vaccinations. Thankfully three year old really brave and didn't cry and happy with stcker given. Younger baby not so happy though. But then shown out and had not seen another patient. Either well spaced out appointments, or only seeing a chosen few. She kind of left with the impression, it was a case of quick, go now and make sure you are not seen. So shhh..... this may be top secret. : -)

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