UK: More than half of patients are waiting two days to see GP, survey reveals

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    Mar 24, 2013 5:07 AM GMT
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/22/more-than-half-patients-wait-two-days-gp?CMP=twt_fd

    Patients are having to wait more than 48 hours to see a GP and often take time off work when they do because appointments are hard to get and at inconvenient times, a new report warns.

    Research by the Patients Association also reveals deep dissatisfaction with out-of-hours care and widespread concern that weekend and overnight services may not deal with an urgent problem properly.

    Six in 10 people who took part in a survey (60.5%) said they could not get to see a GP for at least two days, while 83.8% had to wait for more than 24 hours.

    The research was published as MPs warned that patients who need access to treatments including cataract surgery and hip and knee replacements are facing a "rationing" of resources as the coalition government attempts to enforce the NHS's £20bn efficiency drive.
  • tckrguys

    Posts: 133

    Mar 24, 2013 2:15 PM GMT
    OMG, 2 days!!!! I wait a week to see my primary care physician and take time off work. Really???? 2 freaking days! SMH
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    Mar 24, 2013 2:18 PM GMT
    I had to schedule a full 2 month in advance for my annual physical with my GP. Two days is amazing.
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    Mar 24, 2013 2:21 PM GMT
    I worked with a GP who lived and owned her own practice in the UK for a long time.
    From what she told me people aren't allowed to see any GP they want, they have to stick to the same GP at all times unless it's special circumstances like being in a different state and needing to see a GP.

    Thankfully in Australia, we always recommend you stick to a regular GP but you are at liberty to see whoever you like.
    A lot of practices that I've worked at don't even take appointments, they are strictly walk-ins only and so with 15 doctors in one medical centre, it get's busy but the worst is probably a 2-3 hour wait if everyone is waiting for the same doctor.
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    Mar 24, 2013 2:24 PM GMT
    To be honest...2 days is NOTHING!!!! 1 week is NOTHING!!! Go to the province of Quebec in Canada, you gotta wait a SHIT load of time to see a GP...To see a specialist its even WORSE, cuz you have to wait:2 months, 3 months, 10 months!!! so stop complaining! 2 days is NOTHING.
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    Mar 24, 2013 2:33 PM GMT
    I can sometimes get in the same day or the next depending on how busy my doctor is and how urgent an appointment I need. The last time I hurt my back I couldn't get an appointment so I went to the walk-in. I'd rather see my doctor but I do have to take time off of work. With the walk-in I can go before or after work but they don't know me or have my records. Advantages and disadvantages.

    fitguy01 saidTo be honest...2 days is NOTHING!!!! 1 week is NOTHING!!! Go to the province of Quebec in Canada, you gotta wait a SHIT load of time to see a GP...To see a specialist its even WORSE, cuz you have to wait:2 months, 3 months, 10 months!!! so stop complaining! 2 days is NOTHING.


    I can't imagine. That's awful.
  • owen19832006

    Posts: 1035

    Mar 24, 2013 2:34 PM GMT
    truth be told depends on where you live and if you're GP surgery is over subscribed. I used to live in shawlands in Glasgow South and even though it's a densely populated area you could see your GP without any appointment the same day if your case was serious. if you just wanted a routine check up you might've had to wait a few days. GP's dont deal with emergencies anyway, so if it's something urgent phone NHS24 and they'll send you to the nearest A&E and you will be seen within 4 hours.

    Now i live in a suburban area, and i can see my GP the same day if i phone early in the morning.
    i know people moan a lot, but 2 days in nothing! besides it's free, funded by national insurance contributions.
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    Mar 24, 2013 2:41 PM GMT
    NerdMonastery saidI worked with a GP who lived and owned her own practice in the UK for a long time.
    From what she told me people aren't allowed to see any GP they want, they have to stick to the same GP at all times unless it's special circumstances like being in a different state and needing to see a GP.

    Thankfully in Australia, we always recommend you stick to a regular GP but you are at liberty to see whoever you like.
    A lot of practices that I've worked at don't even take appointments, they are strictly walk-ins only and so with 15 doctors in one medical centre, it get's busy but the worst is probably a 2-3 hour wait if everyone is waiting for the same doctor.

    The US Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals which I have used will assign you to a "team" that you always see for general care, and it includes one or more doctors. You can request to change your primary doctor for cause, and I did that once with a doctor who was very dismissive and was ignoring some of my health issues.

    Otherwise doctors, including specialists, are assigned by the VA without your input. You often also don't get a choice of appointment time. It's mailed to you, and you simply have to adjust your schedule to make it. You can phone them to change the appointment, but that usually will add additional waiting time.

    But a worse problem in my view is the high doctor turnover, at least in the hospitals I used. Your assigned doctor often didn't stay on staff for more than 6 months, so if you have yearly checkups it's nearly always with a new doctor, who has to learn your medical history from the ground up, consuming a good part of the limited time you have with him/her during the visit.

    As for appointments, 6-12 months in the VA is common. I had to wait 14 months to see a foot doctor for my arthritis, and to give me arch supports so I could walk with less pain. I had to wait a year to see a urologist, who gave me 10 minutes, directing me as he entered the exam room to remain silent unless spoken to, he would ask all the questions (there wasn't even an introduction). His brief & cursory questioning, before he abruptly walked out, totally missed significant parts of my urology history, and as a result my medical complaint was not resolved.

    I now use a private non-VA doctor, which costs me money, and her appointment lead time is a couple of days to a week, maybe 10 days. Depends on what openings she has, and she's got a fairly busy practice. But I have more control over my own medical care, which I also think is more competent. And this is what millions of veterans receive already. Complaints about the broken VA system are currently a news item in the US.
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    Mar 24, 2013 2:44 PM GMT
    That's very strange because *everybody* I know manages to get an appointment same day, including my american friend who was sick. And what's really great is that most places have walk in centers where you can see a nurse, who can prescribe treatments for common ailments, with no appointment and within an hour. Extremely efficient!

    Again, the point of posting these articles is an obvious politically motivated attempt to discredit the health system of the UK—a system that is far cheaper and delivers better outcomes than the system here.

    I've now had the misfortune to have to use the US healthcare system, and what I found—even with my insanely gold-plated academic policy—was that admission was totally dysfunctional, I was misdiagnosed, the staff gave me an incorrect interpretation of the tests and ultimately if I hadn't been checking every step of the way (thank god I'm a scientist and capable of reading the medical literature) what turned out to be a very minor problem would have led to unnecessary surgery. And the two senior doctors who came at my insistence as a second and third opinion agreed with me!

    The American healthcare system is an *unmitigated* disaster. It is wildly expensive, delivers poor outcomes and an economists nightmare of inefficiency and perverse incentives.

    I'm not an ideological zealot—European countries have very different mixes of private and public ownership. But I absolutely resent the vast amount of waste that is, in point of fact, the main reason that the US is spending beyond its means.

    KEY FACT: If the USA were to be able to spend on a per capita basis what the UK spends on healthcare, we would COMPLETELY ELIMINATE THE FEDERAL DEFICIT OVERNIGHT.

    Why are the Republicans on here—who whine incessantly about the deficit—too stupid to acknowledge this?
  • FitGwynedd

    Posts: 1468

    Mar 24, 2013 2:49 PM GMT
    NerdMonastery saidI worked with a GP who lived and owned her own practice in the UK for a long time.
    From what she told me people aren't allowed to see any GP they want, they have to stick to the same GP at all times unless it's special circumstances like being in a different state and needing to see a GP.

    Thankfully in Australia, we always recommend you stick to a regular GP but you are at liberty to see whoever you like.
    A lot of practices that I've worked at don't even take appointments, they are strictly walk-ins only and so with 15 doctors in one medical centre, it get's busy but the worst is probably a 2-3 hour wait if everyone is waiting for the same doctor.


    That is completely not true. You are free to switch GPs at any time and for any reason and choose whichever GP you want.
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    Mar 24, 2013 2:49 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    Why are the Republicans on here—who whine incessantly about the deficit—too stupid to acknowledge this?

    For 2 principle reasons: ideological, which always trumps logic & reason in Right Wing minds. And second: heavy (and rich) lobbying of politicians, principally Republicans, by the US health care industry, which profits by the present broken system, and which would lose income if it were fixed.
  • FitGwynedd

    Posts: 1468

    Mar 24, 2013 2:50 PM GMT
    TigerTim saidThat's very strange because *everybody* I know manages to get an appointment same day, including my american friend who was sick. And what's really great is that most places have walk in centers where you can see a nurse, who can prescribe treatments for common ailments, with no appointment and within an hour. Extremely efficient!

    Again, the point of posting these articles is an obvious politically motivated attempt to discredit the health system of the UK—a system that is far cheaper and delivers better outcomes than the system here.

    I've now had the misfortune to have to use the US healthcare system, and what I found—even with my insanely gold-plated academic policy—was that admission was totally dysfunctional, I was misdiagnosed, the staff gave me an incorrect interpretation of the tests and ultimately if I hadn't been checking every step of the way (thank god I'm a scientist and capable of reading the medical literature) what turned out to be a very minor problem would have led to unnecessary surgery. And the two senior doctors who came at my insistence as a second and third opinion agreed with me!

    The American healthcare system is an *unmitigated* disaster. It is wildly expensive, delivers poor outcomes and an economists nightmare of inefficiency and perverse incentives.

    I'm not an ideological zealot—European countries have very different mixes of private and public ownership. But I absolutely resent the vast amount of waste that is, in point of fact, the main reason that the US is spending beyond its means.

    KEY FACT: If the USA were to be able to spend on a per capita basis what the UK spends on healthcare, we would COMPLETELY ELIMINATE THE FEDERAL DEFICIT OVERNIGHT.

    Why are the Republicans on here—who whine incessantly about the deficit—too stupid to acknowledge this?


    I can verify everything you have said here with personal stories. It is literally 100% true.
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    Mar 24, 2013 2:56 PM GMT
    Two days? I have great insurance and it can take up to two weeks to see my GP. It's been the same with every doctor I've been to the last 20 years.

    I'm assuming the OP's post is all about demonizing "socialized" health care. Seriously, what the fuck world are you living in? Everyone that I know has to take time off work for an appointment. The vast majority of clinics and private practices maintain standard business hours which, guess what, happen to be the time most people are at work. If I wanted medical attention outside my work schedule, then I would have to go to an ER or urgent care clinic. You're actually making a more than credible argument in favor of socialized medicine in your post.
  • owen19832006

    Posts: 1035

    Mar 24, 2013 2:56 PM GMT
    FitGwynedd said
    NerdMonastery saidI worked with a GP who lived and owned her own practice in the UK for a long time.
    From what she told me people aren't allowed to see any GP they want, they have to stick to the same GP at all times unless it's special circumstances like being in a different state and needing to see a GP.

    Thankfully in Australia, we always recommend you stick to a regular GP but you are at liberty to see whoever you like.
    A lot of practices that I've worked at don't even take appointments, they are strictly walk-ins only and so with 15 doctors in one medical centre, it get's busy but the worst is probably a 2-3 hour wait if everyone is waiting for the same doctor.


    That is completely not true. You are free to switch GPs at any time and for any reason and choose whichever GP you want.


    Truth.
    You can switch GP's even within the same area without having to explain it to anybody as long as the new surgery takes you on, then it's all fine.
    and you can select whatever doctor you like. in fact even if you dont see your own GP whoever sees you has access to your records and will see whatever was discussed the last time you were in. particularly useful if you use the walk in clinic service where you see whatever doctor is available.
    in my case they ask what doctor would you like to see (depending on what i have i can say my own GP or doctor whatever and they have website showing what every doctor in the surgery specialises in - this is at MY Surgery)
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    Mar 24, 2013 3:44 PM GMT
    The_Guerrilla_Sodomite saidTwo days? I have great insurance and it can take up to two weeks to see my GP. It's been the same with every doctor I've been to the last 20 years.

    I'm assuming the OP's post is all about demonizing "socialized" health care. Seriously, what the fuck world are you living in? Everyone that I know has to take time off work for an appointment. The vast majority of clinics and private practices maintain standard business hours which, guess what, happen to be the time most people are at work. If I wanted medical attention outside my work schedule, then I would have to go to an ER or urgent care clinic. You're actually making a more than credible argument in favor of socialized medicine in your post.


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    Mar 24, 2013 3:46 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    fitguy01 saidTo be honest...2 days is NOTHING!!!! 1 week is NOTHING!!! Go to the province of Quebec in Canada, you gotta wait a SHIT load of time to see a GP...To see a specialist its even WORSE, cuz you have to wait:2 months, 3 months, 10 months!!! so stop complaining! 2 days is NOTHING.


    Why does it take so much time to se a doctor in Canada?


    It doesn't; you can go into a walk-in clinic and see a doctor. You can also look up some of the info yourself using google.

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    Mar 24, 2013 3:50 PM GMT
    riddler78 saidhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/22/more-than-half-patients-wait-two-days-gp?CMP=twt_fd

    Patients are having to wait more than 48 hours to see a GP and often take time off work when they do because appointments are hard to get and at inconvenient times, a new report warns.

    Research by the Patients Association also reveals deep dissatisfaction with out-of-hours care and widespread concern that weekend and overnight services may not deal with an urgent problem properly.

    Six in 10 people who took part in a survey (60.5%) said they could not get to see a GP for at least two days, while 83.8% had to wait for more than 24 hours.

    The research was published as MPs warned that patients who need access to treatments including cataract surgery and hip and knee replacements are facing a "rationing" of resources as the coalition government attempts to enforce the NHS's £20bn efficiency drive.


    So? What's your point? Oh wait only to say that socialized medicine is so terrible....and that's the way the US is headed....blah , blah, blah...Right?
    I've been to Europe, the UK mostly, and their medical availability is far superior to that of the US. The medical care is just as good if not better in some cases.

    2 days to see a GP? Big deal! icon_rolleyes.gif

    If you feel it's an emergency you can still go to your GP, and they will fit you in. Or you go to one of MANY urgent care facilities that are available.
    But if it is a REAL emergency either call an ambulance or got to an ER. icon_idea.gif

    Tristan
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    Mar 24, 2013 3:50 PM GMT
    swedes are always whining about waiting forever to see doctors, but recently I got strep throat and decided to make an appointment. I signed up for a "call" (online you request that they call you to discuss your illness) and then answered it the following morning. She asked if I could be there in an hour. I thought a 1-hour wait was pretty amazing.
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    Mar 24, 2013 4:05 PM GMT
    Meanwhile here in the US of A we call our doctor hoping he isn't on vacation or a 2 hour lunch break and make an appointment to see him days later.

    Or.

    We have an emergency and go into a walk in clinic that turns out to be out of network so we get a $400 bill in the mail.
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3284

    Mar 24, 2013 4:20 PM GMT
    TigertimWhy are the Republicans on here—who whine incessantly about the deficit—too stupid to acknowledge this?



    Part of why your analysis about the deficit is naive is that the United States is not England or Canada. Americans pride themselves on personal choice. A small part of the discontent of patients forced into a Doctor / Patient encounter is that they have no choice in who they see.

    Once in a while you will see advertisement on TV for "VA Doctors" in a futile attempt to lure practitioners.

    Believe it or not Physicians do have ethics. And it does affect many of them that work in a socialized/hmo environment when they have their hand tied. Nothing is worse than having to submit 20-30 pharmacy consults a day for a VA pharmacist to approve or deny treatments that you think will work. The VA would do alot better if it did the opposite, just buy the veterans into Medicare and let them see whoever they want.

    Every year a Veteran has to see a VA doctor to maintain the health benefit. Most of the time this is a wasted interaction filled with "clinical reminders" which are quasi-political questions a primary doctor has to fill out so the bureaucrats in Washington can present to congress.


    One example, the VA wanted to make sure all patients with hypertension were on thiazide diuretics. They are cheap , and arguably the worst for diabetics and obese patients. Most of my patients were on dialysis, or had chronic renal failure so they barely urinate. Diuretics have almost NO effect on these patients. Myself and a few of my colleagues received letters from the VA saying our patients are not on diuretics. Our regional medical director agreed with us about how ridiculous this was. But he asked us to prescribe it for at least 75% of the patients and simply discontinue the drug after doing so.

    An example of when a central bureaucratic administration gets ahold of medicine. Its a COLOSSAL waste .
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    Mar 24, 2013 4:27 PM GMT
    And yet, whatever its faults, the 'centrally administered' NHS ranks way above the US health care system in most respects:

    "Despite having the most costly health system in the world, the United States consistently underperforms on most dimensions of performance, relative to other countries."

    MM2010l.gif

    http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Publications/Fund-Reports/2010/Jun/Mirror-Mirror-Update.aspx
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    Mar 24, 2013 4:38 PM GMT
    The way things are going politically in the UK we won't have an NHS soon thanks to back door privatization (at least as we know it).

    Anyone interested in whats currently going on would do well to read this.

    http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1848
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3284

    Mar 24, 2013 4:46 PM GMT
    whateveryo saidThe way things are going politically in the UK we won't have an NHS soon thanks to back door privatization (at least as we know it).

    Anyone interested in whats currently going on would do well to read this.

    http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1848


    seems that they are trying to privatize NHS?

    why?
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  • conservativej...

    Posts: 2465

    Mar 24, 2013 4:47 PM GMT
    I think people in several nations, including the UK and US, accept a level of mediocrity in healthcare that is simply stupid. When people of democratic nations throw out all the bums from all parties and take control of their governments and their lives, the world will be a better place.
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    Mar 24, 2013 4:51 PM GMT
    I can think of bigger things to whine about than a 2 day GP visit.

    If the US healthcare system is a disaster, why do so many people come from overseas to use it? We spend more per capita because a large portion of that is paid privately.

    The US Medicare system is by far the single largest world consumer of pharmaceuticals. Depressed? There's a $5/day drug for that. Obese with reflux? http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/12/18/nexium.aspx

    The UK's healthcare provider, NHS, serves a population of 60 million and is the single largest employer of any kind in Europe. God forbid you would live in FR http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-03/frances-health-care-system-is-going-broke

    Wildly expensive MRI machines and 256-slice CT scanners have almost eliminated the risks of exploratory surgery. Hospitals compete for patients and staff by keeping up with technology. How is this technology funded?

    At my age, I am not against Obama's health care accomplishment. But, we need to think long and hard about what we are campaigning for.

    Ugh.

    Had to listen to a chirpy young woman lament for an hour about how she wasn't going to dedicate 10 years of her life to be a doctor if the US healthcare system is evolving into something that sticks her with $150K in student loans. She should consider engineering so she can watch her job vanish to economically competitive countries.