Waiting Times for Appointments

This is, without doubt, the subject that causes the greatest amount of comment. 

Consequently, I decided with the help of surgery staff, to investigate, what the true facts of the situation are. Appointment lead in times are under constant review by the practice staff so to do this two random dates, a fortnight apart, were selected and the appointment availability examined for those days.

The results were interesting and illuminating.

Click here to read the results and comments:

Appointments PDF section


6 comments to Waiting Times for Appointments

  • Interesting and illuminating I think not.

    What would have been more interesting and current for ‘Peter’ to write about in his weekly column is the advent of “On line appointments”

    I dread to think how much of the surgery’s administrative time was taken up researching this
    “Told you so, so there” report.

    • Glynn Roche


      Thanks for your contribution and for starting a discussion on this topic.

      I am glad to be able to let you know that no time was lost by the practice staff in producing the statistics in the document. As the article states this information is readily available as the situation is under constant review by, in fact, the senior practice staff.

      One of the things we are trying to do in the PPG is to provide more information about key topics that we believe are of interest to patients. This post is an example.

      We know patients are often frustrated about the time it takes to get an appointment, especially when they request to see a specific doctor. This may be leading to a perception that is different to the reality, and this post was intended to share some information about the actual situation to allow people to make up their own minds on the topic. As such, we dont see this as a “told you so, so there” report at all.

      You mentioned the Online Appointment Booking system. This has only just gone live and it is too early to make any assessment of its efficacy. It’s main purpose is to give people who prefer to book online an option to do so. As it is still making appointments for the same doctors it is not, of itself, expected to make a change to the time it takes to get to see a doctor. Once it has bedded in we will be able to report how well it is working.

  • I appreciate what you are saying Glynn and the point that Peter was trying to get over.

    I still feel that as the post went live on the 11th October it should have incorporated the planned new on-line appointment booking system and how it would compliment the existing system.

    For example if a patient tries to book an appointment, for example on Friday 17th October with Dr Croucher but no appointment is available will the system automatically offer an alternative. Perhaps if Dr Clifford has a ‘space’ that this would be offered as an alternative?.

    Having gone live surely an explaination of the mechanics of the system is essential inorder to pave the way for future use.

    Kind regards

    Ps Have you any idea of how many patients log on to the ‘Friends of’ website and am I the only (pain in the arse)patient who questions/queries?

    • Glynn Roche


      Thanks for your note.

      We are working editorially to keep posts concise and tightly focused. We will post something soon about the user experience of the new online booking system.

      We do have very clear stats on the usage of the site and where the traffic is coming from. We are not aiming to validate all people who register as there is no specific need and we are more than happy for non-patients to register. Clearly specific items of feedback from individuals may be addressed by us getting into direct dialogue. At that point it will probably become clear if someone is a patient or not.

      We do get automated spam from all over the world and we have automated systems to remove it. We are moderating all comments, which sometimes delays their appearance for a day or so, this is to protect against inappropriate use of the site. As yet we have not had to remove or sin-bin any participants.

  • As a matter of interest I telephoned the surgery on 14th October at 14.10hrs to book an appointment with Dr Croucher. I was told the next available date would be Wednesday 30th October at 16.20pm, a waiting time of 2xweeks.
    The receptionist at this stage said “You could try another Doctor to see if you can get an earlier appointment.
    I replied “Who is available and when?”
    The receptionist replied “Dr Kanga on the 18th at 08.50am which may be to early for you” I had not given or been asked my name, so she obviously assumed that I would find that time unacceptable.

    Without doubt a higher level of receptionist telephone training is required, in order for some of the suggestions, as outlined in Peter Dodds report of the 11th October to be implemented.

    This course of action will not only improve the relationship between patient and reception, with regard to appointment availability, it will also give the new/trainee doctors the opportunity to develop their knowledge of our patient database.

    • Glynn Roche


      It is very hard to comment on your specific experience as I was not present at the time. That said, I do not agree with you.

      As you say, if at that point in the call, a receptionist did not know who you were I think it would be more reasonable to consider the phrase “which may be too early for you” as someone trying to find a convenient time for your appointment. I cannot agree with you that this is hard evidence of receptionists needing training.