Our vision: to transform access to medical care.

Patients – please feed back

We welcome feedback from patients, both from those registered at practices who share our principles and methods, and others who may want to know more or who have a problem with their own practice where it may at times be difficult to see a GP.

Please post your comment or question below.  These are moderated so it may not appear immediately.  We cannot guarantee to answer every question, but we will try.  Remember that any complaints or medical questions must be directed to your own practice.  We are not responsible for patients directly in any way.

22 responses to “Patients – please feed back”

  1. Donna says:

    How telephone system worked for me:

    Returned from trip with diarrhoea didn’t clear up so called surgery. Explained symptoms to Doctor on telephone diagnosed campylobacter. Prescribed anti-B. Neighbour kindly collected scrip and sample pot from surgery and returned it. Dr called me, Test came back positive but needed more effective Anti-b so scrip was exchanged, I got better. Cost in Doctor’s time probably ten mins altogether. Cost of my time and discomfort minimal. Cost of niehgbour’s time – they were going to chemist anyway. No spread of disease – priceless.

    Going in to surgery though we run the risks of being shown to Assistant Practitioner instead of GP – so much seems to rely on the patient understanding the implications of their own condition(s), or how urgently they should see or speak to a GP. And being assertive with receptionist. But most don’t have that medical knowledge – and “don’t want to make a fuss”. So the system fails them.

    • Harry Longman says:

      Great to hear it worked well for you. We think it’s crucial to make the system as easy as possible for all patients. They then feel confident that care is there for them when they need it. In the NHS we have one of the best systems in the world, free at the point of use. We want to ensure that it’s not only free, but freely available.

  2. Gail roughneen says:

    This is not innovative practice Gp Out of hours services all over the country have been providing this type of service for 17years! But as with many things in the nhs the good stuff is not publisized

    • Harry Longman says:

      Agreed that for years a GP phone call has provided good care for patients. The GP Access system is even better because it”s your own GP who has all your records and very likely knows you personally.

  3. The system of booking an appointment online at a time of our choosing worked very well for us. this new telephone appointment system doesnt work for working people, particularly teachers during termtime. There is no privacy in a large school, calls have to be taken in the staffroom, teachers cannot leave the classroom during class and have little free time, often having meetings at break and lunchtimes. Even after managing to speak, the appointment times offered are are during the day; time has to be booked in advance in order for a t eacher to take time out of class, cover has to be arranged. I am sure such difficulties are also common to other workers too. There needs to be both systems running; the booking of appointments online in advance worked very well for us.

    • Harry Longman says:

      Useful feedback, thank you. I’m not sure which practice you are at, but we do encourage them to be flexible around patients’ needs and it does generally work well. Overall it has helped patients by giving much faster service, no waits for appointments. Taking on board your comments, we now over an online service askmyGP which is even more flexible. You can seek help online 24/7 from your own doctor, and receive a call at a time of your choosing (in GP working hours). Do take a look at askmyGP.uk.

  4. Netta Hollings says:

    The system does not work well for people who genuinely need a routine appointment. I work full time 25 miles away from where I live. In order to have a routine appointment with my GP I have had to arrange to be at home for a whole day to accommodate this system. I appreciate it works better for urgent cases but routine appointment should still be available.

    • Harry Longman says:

      This sounds very unusual and should not be necessary. We don’t control exactly what a practice does, but we do have feedback from thousands of patients who say it works very well. Most are delighted to be able to speak to their own GP within minutes and can always be seen the same day. They can always choose another day, if that is more convenient. We have introduced a new system where patients can seek help at any time online, via a link on the practice website. This gives even more flexibility and saves time as patients don’t have to ring up. Take a look at askmyGP.uk

  5. David T. Searle says:

    This system gives all the appearnce and effects of being highly discriminative and especially against the poor, deaf and persons unable to access phones continually, both night and day, either by choice, i.e. freedom of thought and action.
    I would suggest it therefore opposes expression of natural human rights and ethical behaviour and ethical professional practices. Considering this is coming from a profession supposedly operating the highest of those standards, perhaps the profession needs to go and retrain itself in ethical practices and behaviours and recognise the effects of poverty on health, particularly in the many deprived areas, and rural areas of the UK where poverty abounds, where people have to use food banks etc. This whole process/idea is out of touch with reality, including the chronically ill, and is highly offensive apart, perhaps, to the selfishly motivated who wish too much for wealth at others expense, much like telephone companies and network providers.

    • Harry Longman says:

      Dear David,
      We are very concerned to reduce inequality of access to medical care, and perhaps you would try to understand how this is achieved. The current problem for many patients is that they cannot get help from their GP, for lack of appointments. What we do is to save GP time which therefore increases their capacity for all those in need.
      At present, those you identify as suffering the effects of poverty are often at the back of the queue. Those who can use more efficient methods should do so, to enable those at the back to have the care they need. We do not discriminate on any grounds and we encourage practices to think about those in greatest need although they may have no telephone access or be deaf or restricted in some other way. We have helped many practices in deprived areas to very powerful effect. I think you are also leaping to some wrong judgments about who has access and in what mode. I’ve read that 70% of London’s homeless population has a smartphone. Sometimes the problem is lack of phone credit. We have addressed this with our new askmyGP online access system, where a patient does not have to hang on for ages waiting for an answer. A patient submits their need online, which they can do by wifi which is usually available free somewhere locally. The GP can then call them back.
      Two days ago I met a patient who was thrilled with the service from her GP, full of praise, for one we had helped. She contrasted this with a colleague who has failed in three weeks to get an appointment with her GP, despite endless efforts.
      I understand and sympathise with your position, and I would be concerned if the effects you describe were real. They are not, and by making the whole primary care system more efficient we are reducing inequality of access.

  6. C hughes says:

    I find its difficult to ring around 8 as I work from 4am till 2pm every day..I’m not allowed my phone on me at work..so by the time 2pm has come to ring then wait around for a doctor to ring me is just waste of my time..as I’m then busy picking children up from school… I usually miss the doctors call bk with driving then have to ring back I find the whole situation stressful and I have put off ringing for an appointment unless it’s absolutely urgent..if they just let me book appointment when I get chance to ring would be alot easy and more helpful to me….I would be interested to see if all other surgerys do this as I would rather change surgerys then use this system..

  7. C hughes says:

    And just to clarify I was told I’d get a call at 2pm as this was the best time for me to answer..it’s 2-37 still no call..if I’d of been at work n let out to take a call I definitely wouldn’t of been allowed to wait this long I’m sure…

  8. K P says:

    Never have a good experience with Fisher Medical centre using this system – told the doctor would call me within the hour….over 2 hours gone and still waiting!

  9. A Hunter says:

    I would like to see my surgery use a combination of this method and the old system. On the rare occasion I call I don’t need the same day appointment and would like to plan within reason, say a few days, a visit to see my GP. I can see how this system works for one who needs an appointment on the same day but as happens at my surgery, patients are told to call at 8.30 for an appt. Lines are busy, 18 calls later I get to speak to the receptionist. I say it’s not urgent but I’m told the doctor will call me back, I enquire about an approximate time, am or pm. I’m told to leave the line free, the receptionist seems surprised that I need to ask. At 15.40 my doctor calls and I get an appointment for later in the afternoon. I’m semi retired so I can manage to organise my time to accommodate this system. My husband is considering changing surgeries, as an MD of a small company he can’t afford the time to 1] keep a telephone free and 2] block out a day in diary waiting for an appointment.

    • Harry Longman says:

      Sorry about this. It is not very good service to have to wait so long. But practices we work with usually respond within the hour. This is not more work but less, because we can predict quite accurately when the demand will come in so they are ready. If you wish to pass on my email Harry@gpaccess.uk I will offer to help yours.

  10. PBP says:

    Chirch Street Surgery has recently switched to booking telephone conversation with doctor, ahead of or instead of appointment. I called to bookconsultation with same female doctor I had seen last time, about same HRT issue. After 20 minutes on hold I eventually managed to book a call back. Unfortunately doctor who called back was NOT female and not familiar with HRT. After a further 10 minutes on phone to male doctor who offered to increase my HRT dose (I’m trying to reduce it) I now have an appointment booked with female doctor I originally wanted to speak to, What a complete waste of both my time and the male doctor’s time! There are 30 minutes of my life I will never have back! Thank goodness I have inclusive minutes on my phone package and a flexible working arrangement. If I were still teaching there is NO WAY I could have managed to book an appointment.

    • Harry Longman says:

      I am sorry you had a difficult experience. We are not responsible directly for the service at each practice, but we do take patient service and feedback seriously. We know that overall patient satisfaction is much higher as help is much faster, and usually with the choice of GP, we have volumes of evidence on this which you can find on our website.

  11. M Bell says:

    My surgery is trying this out at present as a pilot scheme. I don’t visit the doctor often but have to say I wouldn’t be happy with this on a permanent basis. I would like to be still able to phone up and make an appointment with my GP without having to speak with him/her first.

    • Harry Longman says:

      Understand your concerns but we have helped over 100 practices make the change and have 6,800 patient survey returns, which show overwhelming support. It’s so much easier and faster to see your doctor.

  12. Roy Ashworth says:

    Harry Longman would be better employed by Walt Disney.He isn’t in the real world

    • Harry Longman says:

      Not sure we’ve met Roy but thank you for the reference. Maybe I could play the Wickedest Witch in the Universe if they ever make that picture. But I would need a wig.

  13. Rather not say says:

    At the end of the day whether people feel looked after or not ultimately depends on the people involved. A good receptionist and human system is always going to be better than this type of thing. It feels like having a robot in the middle of a human relationship which isn’t really going to help for many of the reasons mentioned above. Plus if you have sensitive issues to discuss it is not very nice to be asked to type about them in black and white onto an anonymous screen

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