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Cant get appointment with GP

  • 29-11-2021 10:05am
    Registered Users Posts: 2,740 ✭✭✭ Deeec

    Is anyone finding it hard to get an appointment/phone call with their GP. I know GP practices are flat out at the moment but the experience Im having with my GP is beyond ridiculous at this stage. Im guessing their phones are clogged up with people ringing regarding every tiny symptom without using judgement themselves if they need to get tested.

    My kids were sick last week - bad coughs and vomiting. Got them tested for covid and the tests came back negative. The coughs havent improved - infact are worse than last week. Ive been trying to contact my GP since last Wednesday with no luck - I have'nt even got to speak to one of the secretaries, Im just left on hold with nobody answering. Im just after holding for another 45 minutes and call just hung up. Ive emailed them - you just get an email back saying they will get in contact with you within 48 hours. Its well over 48 hours since I emailed them and nothing. Their email also states that if you need an emergency appointment you need to ring them - good luck if its an emergency because there is nobody answering. Id be happy even to speak with a doctor over the phone - there are 12 GPS in the practice. I get they are busy but there are other illness's out there other than covid which needs dealing with. They seem to be really stretched - more any other time during this pandemic.

    My elderly mother is also trying to get an appointment with them but no luck either.



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 17,844 Mod ✭✭✭✭ ixoy

    Spoke with a GP yesterday who said their phone lines are clogged with people with Covid symptoms, many of whom haven't gone for a test. They believe that the GP can fast track them (which is not how it's supposed to be) as they can't get an immediate booking, assuming that they tried at all.

  • Administrators, Business & Finance Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,786 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Toots

    I'd say at this stage your best bet would be try your out of hours GP service (East Doc, Dublin Doc, etc depending on where you are in the country)

    I had an ear infection a few weeks ago and phoned my GP on a Monday but they couldn't see me until the Friday so I rang East Doc when it opened at 6pm and they saw me that night.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,128 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble

    Are there any walk in clinics in your area, eg Doctor 365? Or do you have health insurance with video consults?

    I know it's not the same as your own clinic because they don't have your history. But may be better than nothing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,740 ✭✭✭ Deeec

    Thanks - I think that may be the best thing to do. Although I expect the out of hours service could very well be clogged up too with people who cant get to see their GP.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,740 ✭✭✭ Deeec

    Yeah we have health insurance. I rang them this morning - I have a phone appointment for Wednesday evening with them. This is the earliest they could do. Hopefully I will get to speak to a doctor before then though.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,740 ✭✭✭ Deeec

    Yeah I think this is part of the problem. They should make it public not to contact your gp expecting special treatment. Also public advice should be if you have symptoms get tested - dont contact your GP until you have a negative test.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,946 ✭✭✭✭ Cuddlesworth

    The testing system is overloaded, has been for 2 weeks. Appointments disappear within seconds of coming up on the system. Even in the early hours of the morning.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,740 ✭✭✭ Deeec

    I agree the testing system is overloaded but there is no point ringing your GP - they cant do anything to speed up a test. Ringing up your GP to discuss your symptoms before doing a test is just overloading the GP practices.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,946 ✭✭✭✭ Cuddlesworth

  • Administrators, Business & Finance Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,786 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Toots

    It wasn't too bad when I rang - basically they'll triage you over the phone and they'll only bring you in to see them if there needs to be an in person exam done. I rang as soon as they opened so they hadn't gotten too busy yet.

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  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,657 Mod ✭✭✭✭ shesty

    Yes, we have this issue.

    Also people are ringing their GP because there are no appointments for tests.But the Government said only last week that appointments are reserved for GPs during the day, so if they are not used, they get released during the day.But if people log in, see no appointments available, of course they will then ring their GP to try and get a slot.There is no other alternative.It's a complete farce.

    And OP yes, we alsp have kids, we can get through to the GP surgery alright but we cannot get appointments.DDoc has no appointments either.8-10 hour wait, or nothing.Then you get told go to A&E as the last alternative (also an 8 to 10 hour wait).

    One thing to note....some health insurance companies also will not do the online appointment / prescription if the PCR test is more than 72 hours ago...🙄

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,740 ✭✭✭ Deeec

    If people cant get appointments for the normal none covid illness's/complaints this is a huge issue for the health service as a whole. This needs to be addressed by government now to avoid bigger problems down the line. I think it will only get worse as we progress through the winter. I know from speaking to someone who works in a doctors surgery that the problem is patients ringing with minor symptoms wondering should they go for a test. They shouldnt need to ring their GP for this - they should just go for a bloody test!

    When I do get to talk to a doctor I suspect their advice may be to get tested again which involves another wait for a test and then after probably another negative test ( hopefully) still not being able to contact a doctor for further advice. They missed last week of school and probably will miss this week also ( negative covid test last week) - its so frustrating 😖. Other parents in my area are having the same problem - lots of kids off in my kids classes but negative covid tests.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,657 Mod ✭✭✭✭ shesty

    It is completely frustrating @deec.The thing is that, as you know, you can't actually get a PCR test.The people ringing are simply trying all avenues of accessing a test, I expect.Tony Holohan and co cannot stand there and instruct tests for every single symptom, but then not provide the testing capability. I have 3 small kids also, and my sister has 2, and has just 5 terrible weeks trying to access a basic medical appointment for her kids.She had 2 tests herself in the space of about 8 days, negative both times, is an asthmatic and had a bad cough/chest infection, needed a doctor, and when she eventually got an online appintment with her Health Insurance company (weekend, only thing she could get), they told her at the appointment time, that her last test was 80 hours ago, they couldn't prescribe or do an appointment for her, and she had to go to A&E if she needed medical care.

    It just....beggars belief.

    And meanwhile advice from politicians is refresh the testing site constantly until something comes up, and isolate for any minor thing.It's a nightmare and we need to start pushing back more and loudly, and taking a stronger stance on this, because none of this is good enough.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,740 ✭✭✭ Deeec

    So I eventually got to speak to the out of hours doctor at 2.30am this morning.

    After continuously trying to get through to them from 6pm yesterday evening I eventually got to speak with call centre at 8.30. The nurse rang me back within half an hour and arranged a call back with the doctor. She explained they had a huge volume of calls to deal with and that I may not get a call back until the early hours.

    Doctor rang me back at 2.30am and arranged for prescriptions to be sent to pharmacy - she was really nice and helpful. She said the whole system is in chaos because they are dealing with patients who normally would be seen by their own doctor ( but cant get an appointment ). As well as covid there are several other winter virus's out there which are spreading.

    Also my own GPs office emailed me back yesterday advising they cannot call me until Thursday and that if this is too long I should take the kids to out of hours GP service or hospital. ( I dont blame them - its just the times we are in ).

    Ive emailed our Minster of Health on this - Its crazy that if you are sick that you may not have access to a doctor. Also I dread to think of elderly people who need medical care - they have very little options. The message should be clear ' if you have covid symptoms get tested before you even ring your GP practice' - no point in discussing your symptoms with your GP, they are only going to tell you to get tested - you are wasting their valuable time.

  • Yes, terrible problems trying to see GP basically since the first lockdown. Pre-pandemic no problem with the phones or getting a face-to-face appointment within a day or two.

    Posted on another thread about it, you'd be lucky to get a phone answered within a day, (no email or online contact option) - minimum a week for a phone consultation / two weeks for face-to-face (if offered).

    Receptionists are now medically trained to triage patients now, apparently.

    Also noted that my surgery has cut down on their opening hours - used to be open 8am to 6pm with 90 minutes closed for lunch, now 9am to 4pm with a 2 hour closure from 12 noon to 2pm. Also two half days a week, closed at 12 noon.

    Had a really bad infection recently that was making me feel very unwell. After finally getting through to surgery on the phone, I was basically dismissed by a very rude receptionist who said that I should just go to after hours doc - who are also very busy and hard to get through to - probably due to everyone GPs are turning away! I was on hold for them for a full hour when I called the minute they opened,

    Totally fed up with it, and told them so. Their google reviews are shocking, and all tell the same story - my experience is not unique. Many people also complaining they cannot even get their elderly parents appointments, and have had to resort to A&E.

    Looking for a new GP, after 38 years with the existing one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,756 ✭✭✭ appledrop

    The current system is an absolute disgrace.

    Have a sick child since the weekend + of course won't be seen until they get PCR test.

    Took a total of 4 days between waiting to get an available date for test + test results back, no surprise to us that it was negative.

    Off I go then to ring GP to be told no availability till next week + with a sick child, who is getting worse by the day.

    Rang DDoc, now I have to say they were absolutely amazing, so supportive + got an appointment in actually person + my child is now on antibiotics + hopefully will be on the mend rather than suffering for another 4 days.

    What type of a f**ked up system is this.

    This is only the 2nd antibiotics he has ever being on + we as he parents knew he needed to be seen by a doctor but no one cares, Covid overrules everything.

    I'll have strong words with GP surgery tomorrow.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,128 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble

    Looking for a new GP, after 38 years with the existing one.

    If you are there 38 years, the GP is likely old (close to 70) , and so really should be avoided seeing sick people at all.

    The whole general practice model is fúcked.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,337 ✭✭✭ JTMan

    I have found problems getting appointments with GPs in suburban and rural areas but not Dublin City Centre GPs. With nearly everyone working from home, Dublin City Centre GPs seem to be less overwhelmed. For example, got seen quickly in Baggot Street Medical ( ) last week.

  • By GP, I meant General Practice.

    The two original doctors who owned the practice both retired over the last two years, and the practice was sold to a junior doctor who has made sweeping changes, (not for the better) including replacing every single member of the original office staff, and the practice nurse.

    Hence, my search for a new General Practice, as it has just gone to the dogs, since.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,727 ✭✭✭ Nozebleed

    truth is GP's are too busy jabbing people at €80 a go. why would they bother dealing with you.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 544 ✭✭✭ agoodpunt

    Is there a booster payment option?

  • Registered Users Posts: 88 ✭✭ oopsies

    One of my parents is at home with a break/fractured arm as a result of a fall, she also has Covid (no symptoms) and GP wont even do a phone consult, hospital said dont come near them until shes out of isolation.. So shes at home dosed up on Nurofen until Sunday. Shes not one to make a fuss, even though shes in total agony, but would be too embarrased to be turned away from the hospital if she just chanced it.

    We will all be looking for a new GP by the sounds of things in the next few months!

    The system is broken. No one cares once you have Covid.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,330 ✭✭✭ ginoginelli

    I still don't understand why we cannot ramp up testing centres like denmark have done. We have a huge percentage of the hse doing "non job" worthless admin work from home, while other front line departments are starved of real resources. The whole system is broken.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,740 ✭✭✭ Deeec

    That is absolutely dreadful. My heart goes out to your mum - she needs urgent medical attention. At the very least the doctor should be able to prescribe her painkillers and antibiotics.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,141 ✭✭✭✭ is_that_so

    The HSE PCR testing capacity is now 35,000 a day, we had 24,000 or so tests today. The problem at present is that any sniffle is being tested and about 85% are negative. Genomic sequencing is a very different beast and can't just be ramped up. I believe we do about 10% on that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 88 ✭✭ oopsies

    Her only option now really is just to present to A&E and then that just puts more vulnerable people at risk. Its what they are forcing people to do... Or worse just turn up and not mention that she has covid and gets seen to. She would never do that, but its creating the environment where that is a viable option in this kind of case.

    The GP is a joke, and I will be ringing to complain once the steam has stopped coming out of my ears!

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,141 ✭✭✭✭ is_that_so

    TBH it's really a move you should be making for someone who clearly needs medical treatment.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,764 ✭✭✭✭ Strumms

    Complain to the Irish medical council.. part of their remit...

    • Protecting the public by promoting and ensuring the highest professional standards amongst doctors..

    Standards..... not being able to contact them is not good enough, not being able too see them the same...main problem which seems to be an epidemic amongst GP’s and their surgeries is them fücking taking on FAR too many patients... my GP’s surgery just a year before covid had 4 doctors, there are now 6, yet.. lead in time for an appointment is from booking to seeing them, about 8 days....

    i was picking up meds in the pharmacy and got told by the pharmacist that my gp won’t renew my prescription until I make an appointment to get bloods done.... so I’m getting second hand info about my health from a pharmacy...

    my gp has my phone number as only days ago I received an sms with said blood test results from him...

    there should be a limit per doctor as to how many patients they can register, yes in an area with older demographics of patients they will be seeing said doctor more often... so it’s not a perfect solution but better then this free for all...

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,330 ✭✭✭ ginoginelli

    Denmark's daily testing figures are roughly what we do in a week. I never mentioned genomic sequencing but that would be fantastic if we could ramp it up too. We could finally do some real contact tracing then (another thing that needs to be ramped up). I heard Denmark were genome sequencing some thing in the region of 90 percent.

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  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,657 Mod ✭✭✭✭ shesty

    Email Stephen Donnelly folks.Keep emailing and copy your local TDs in on your emails.It is all a complete disgrace.Leaving someone at home with a broken limb is absolutely disgraceful.Your mum should by rights turn up at A&E and tell them at the door she has covid.Let them deal with it.She should not be sitting at home in severe pain.

    Had my own little lad in Temple St at the weekend, waiting on a callback from DDoc for a serious wheezy chest - we couldn't leave him, in addition he needed to actually SEE a doctor, not be talked over the phone.We brought him in, they saw him straight away and treated him.We were awaiting covid results as a just in case, but they didn't care and weren't interested in Temple St.Loads of kids in being treated for a similar issue, no access to emergency doctors.I cannot understand how the system is in such a mess.