ritish people are not happy with the National Health Service (“NHS”). On Friday John Anderson took to Twitter to relay his experience when requesting an appointment:
Other users responded en masse. At the time of writing his tweet had garnered 18.6k likes, 3,295 retweets, an additional 490 quote tweets and 1.4k responses.
Here are some of the responses:
Wishfullthinking tweeted: “I have personally witnessed that at our local GP practice. Whilst attending an appointment a patient before me asked to make a future appointment. He was told he must phone. Went outside and called on his mobile. The same receptionist answered the call and booked the appointment.”
Rachel Clynick tweeted: “I had a similar thing a while ago. Turned up to a hospital app with my disabled son was told we don’t have an appointment and asked if they could check when the app was and she said you’ll have to ring. I rang and the person on phone said ‘now’. Passed the phone to the receptionist so the person on phone could confirm. We were seen in that clinic there and then.”
Dankel182 tweeted: “I actually had this. Except she made me go out of the building to call because you can only be in the building if you have an appointment, apparently due to covid.”
Rockybeach tweeted: “It’s all a bl**dy joke. I rang up a month ago for an appointment and can’t get one until 4th August. What’s going on?
Mark Mc- useless eater. Sod off Sunak tweeted: “GP receptionist told me off for being late for an appointment even though I was early. When I politely said she was mistaken she painfully accepted it although without saying so. And then pointed to a sign saying ‘ Any abusive language will not be tolerated ‘ Beauties, aren’t they?”
Liz responded: “Yes, noticed these signs have popped up in clinics and surgeries … so they can be as ignorant or dismissive as they want to the patient and the patient has to stand there and take it otherwise they’re classed as being abusive even if they don’t actually use abusive language.”
Steve Johnson tweeted: “Our recorded message now says the receptionist will decide whether or not you need to see a doctor. Apart from the fact that they are not trained, what has happened to our confidentiality rights?”
PKS tweeted: “I was told GP won’t see me & nurse prescribed antibiotics over the phone. 2 weeks later no improvement but GP still won’t see me & I am told they will arrange chest X-ray. This week I went to hospital & they found blood clots in my lungs & leg. You can literally die waiting.”
Jill White tweeted: “87-year-old dad just called to say he won’t make his twice weekly visit for skin treatment as he has covid. The receptionist says it will be recorded as DNA [did not attend] and as he’s already missed one (due to said covid) he will be unable to attend and referred back to an 8-month waiting list! #MAD”
Quizzywizzy Novelty Birthday Gifts tweeted: “Absolute craziness. My darling lady couldn’t get an appointment and was given a diagnosis of probable angina over the phone. Passed away less than two months later with metastatic cancer. Sorry to say our NHS is a shambles.”
No new normal thankyou tweeted: “We are no longer able to rely on the NHS to care for us….”
Linda Gianni tweeted: “I received this text [see image below] from my surgery yesterday. I’m going to ask them if they would like me to do my own smear test and flu jab seeing as if they can’t be arsed doing my yearly BP test and blood test.”
Mr Ouija tweeted: “That assumes everyone has access to a phone, or that everyone is able to use a phone. They can make an appointment in person anything less would be discrimination against those who are deaf, have speech problems etc.”
Misc. endeavours tweeted: “What about people who have no mobile or landline? Why does everything have to revolve around technology over humanity? We’ve got to pushback on this kind of thing – it’s not acceptable.”
Caroline Gurney responded: “And for those of us who are deaf, having the phone as the only means of access is a nightmare. The speech-to-text phone service can’t navigate automated systems which offer multiple options.”
Willow tweeted: “If I call up to make an appointment, I am given one that’s usually weeks away… if I use the consult I’ve managed to be able to speak to a GP 2 hours later and was told to go to the surgery… NHS is on its knees.”
NHSobserver tweeted: “Robotic behaviour is endemic in NHS. I encounter it every day of my working life. They work on the principle – how to make a simple thing complicated.”
Bent Copper responded: “It costs lives, dozens of medics blindly accepted a diagnosis I didn’t even have as the person before them wrote it in my notes.”
NHSobserver replied: “Oh yes once it’s in the notes, impossible to change. Many patients have a documented “allergy” on closer questioning it’s not an allergy but a common side effect. E.g., penicillin causing diarrhoea. Limits their treatment.”
End FINANCIAL SLAVERY was puzzled: “Why on earth would you want to see your local euthanasia centre??? Looking for a quicker exit from this realm? ‘Cause if you are, they serve up all types of poison for you…what do you fancy?
- Heart attack
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
- Brain damage
- They have something 4u”
People may want to presume the poor state of affairs with the NHS is due to the pressures as a result of a “pandemic.” However, a 2018 Daily Mail article titled ‘As receptionists win more power to decide who sees a doctor… how to get past the despot on your GP’s front desk’, stated receptionists had been instructed to get tough when arranging appointments. “These staff, who are not medics, now get four hours of training that qualifies them to decide whether or not you see a doctor, or need another kind of help, under the 2016 Care Navigation scheme.” The scheme was launched to ease pressure on GPs and in 2018 it had 10,600 UK practices signed up.
Daily Mail noted that under the 2009 NHS Constitution, GP practices must try to fulfil a patient’s request to see a specific doctor. But in reality, they can refuse if there are reasonable grounds. Surgeries also have a duty of care to provide an appropriate service. That means accepting the receptionist’s decision in most cases.
Daily Mail offered some suggestions on how patients could navigate their way around a receptionist for the best possible outcome.