Are doctors surgeries really under pressure?

  Pine Man 13:05 24 Mar 2018

They say so but not when it suits them apparently.

I always have a flu jab each year and now I can get it done in Sainsbury’s or Tesco’s when going for the weekly shop.

The alternative was always to join a group booking at my doctor’s surgery on a Saturday morning and wait with a load of coughing, sneezing and otherwise unhealthy people queuing with me.

No contest I thought, until I went to my surgery last week for a blood test and got the third degree from the phlebotomist for not getting my flu jab done there. Apparently, they get funding for it and are losing out to the chemists!

I thought the whole idea was to allow chemists to do it and reduce the pressure on doctor’s surgeries??

  john bunyan 13:34 24 Mar 2018

It appears to be a post code lottery. I (in Hampshire) tried to book to see my named GP the other day to be told there were no appointments for 6 weeks and not taking bookings further ahead. If urgent you have to try to get through on the phone from 8 am, and for same day you are directed to a medical centre manned by GP from 4 local practices. Contrast that with a friend in Edinburgh who, on coming out of Hospital after a broken hip, had their G P visit, arrange physio and phone follow up.. They even have a walk in surgery where you can wait to see a GP. When I came out of Hospital after a replacement hip last year I heard nothing from my GP and certainly no physio.

  Belatucadrus 14:13 24 Mar 2018

Our surgery is definitely under pressure, largely as the powers that be keep giving the go ahead to new housing estates in their catchment area they need a bigger premises and another GP but the funding isn't forthcoming. They have taken on a clinical pharmacist to spread the load and are consistently well reviewed for the care they provide despite the ever increasing workload dropped on them, invariably without consultation.

  Brumas 14:25 24 Mar 2018

john bunyan. Having heard of similar exasperations I am so glad we live here in a small village. If I phone up for an appointment, to see a doctor, in the morning 75% of the time I will get one the same day, if it is really urgent I am told to come in after surgery and I will be seen after the last appointment failing that they will offer me an appointment the next day.

  alanrwood 15:32 24 Mar 2018

Brumas. Same here.

  canarieslover 09:17 25 Mar 2018

Belatucadrus - Our area seems to be similar to yours with quite a few new developments. They have probably added 20% population to the catchment for our local doctors. My own doctor's practice has introduced a telephone triage system to try to alleviate the pressure, if he deems that he needs to see you he will arrange an appointment for later that day. It must be having a positive effect as on occasions when I go in, prescription renewal, there never seems to be more than two or three people in the waiting room. Probably it enables the practice to weed out the sniffles and coughs, and dare I say time wasters, who took up a lot of time before. My only concern is that something may be missed as not everybody can recognise symptoms for what they are and describe them accurately. With even more developments under way in the area I wonder how long before even this way of dealing with things is not enough.

  Pine Man 10:21 25 Mar 2018

Maybe my headline was misleading.

The government is trying to reduce pressure on doctors surgeries by allowing pharmacies to carry out flu jabbing. The purpose of this post was to point out that, despite allegedly being under pressure, doctors surgeries appear to be fighting to retain flu jabbing rather than let the chemists do it.

I read one internet site that gave examples of doctors surgeries threatening patients that used chemists for flu jabs and also suggesting it was dangerous because the surgery wouldn't know they had been jabbed, which is untrue. Another surgery offered incentives by allowing two months of repeat prescriptions rather than one month at a time!

It is not normal for my surgery to open on Saturdays so there must be a cost involved to carry out jabbing. If there is no cost involved and the staff are having time off during the week to carry out Saturday jabbing then there has to be a suggestion that the surgery is over-staffed during the week.

  Belatucadrus 10:50 25 Mar 2018

My understanding is that Surgeries and pharmacies both receive a bonus of £7.64 per administered flu jab, as you pointed out they clearly incur additional costs opening on the weekend to run the inoculation clinic. So any loss of clientele will cut their income as well as potentially leaving them with a vaccine surplus that they will have to pay for. Worst case they could end up making a loss. From the look of the reports you mentioned some practices have responded to the competition very poorly, they have apparently been reprimanded and told to get with the program.

I know some of our practices patients use the supermarket option but have never heard that the practise responded to this in any way.

I'm on the PPG, if there's time next meeting I'll ask about it.

  beeuuem~2 13:16 25 Mar 2018

@john bunyan

I think your story only illustrates that the service varies from practice to practice. I live in Edinburgh. A friend recovering from Achilles tendon repair surgery had exactly the same experience when trying to make an appointment with her GP, no appointments until May and not making appointments that far ahead.

I won't go into the details of how she lived for a year with a fully ruptured tendon before getting surgery !!

  BT 09:10 26 Mar 2018

Another surgery offered incentives by allowing two months of repeat prescriptions rather than one month at a time!

I've been having my repeats on a two monthly basis for at least ten years so its not a new thing.

  Pine Man 12:48 26 Mar 2018


You're lucky, I have to make a special application to exceed 28 days of prescriptions if going on holiday.

Guidance was issued about 10-15 years ago by the Department of Health to encourage GPs to shorten prescription length, typically to 28 days.

There is now a move by GPs and Pharmacists to leave it up to do the GP as the guidance issued by the Department of Health is actually costing more money rather than saving it!

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