Read one of our readers’ problems with booking appointments at his GP – and give him your advice

Posted on March 24, 2016

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We have received an email detailing one of our readers’ problems booking appointments at his local GP surgery. Please have a read and help him by leaving a comment about your own experiences afterwards.

Our reader writes:

We moved to a village a year ago and we are now having problems with our GP practice.

Initially, they said it was ok to make appointments by email but recently they have said that they will no longer accept booking requests by emails!

The Practice Manager has a pretty shocking attitude and he insisted that we use the text relay service (much to our dismay!).  I explained that we do not like using this system and he said other ‘hearing impaired’ people don’t have a problem with it (I’m pretty sure that we’re the only two deaf BSL users in the village!).

Our previous doctors welcomes emails for emergency appointments and we used their Patient Online booking service to make routine appointments (not same day appointments).  We live in a village and this is the only practice for us so changing GPs is not an option.

The Practice Manager insisted we use the text relay service and advised us to download the software onto our phone and laptops.

Last Friday, our daughter had an ear infection so I reluctantly tried using the text relay app on the phone and as some of you will know this requires undivided attention until the end of the call.

I sat on the desk using my mobile trying to get through to them for 20 to 30 mins but it just kept being put through to a different number which then just rang and rang.

It was hugely frustrating for us because a hearing person would just call and request an emergency appointment so I complained about this to the Practice Manager who got defensive and insisted the system is working well and if we don’t like it then we can just go to the Practice and request an appointment!

I explained that he is treating us differently to other customers and is a breach of disability laws but he said the reasonable adjustments are in place and that’s all they can do!

Separately, I explained that with my wife having Usher she may have difficulties getting to the Practice by 8am to request an appointment because it would still be dark in the winter and I may not be around – can she email and request an later appointment – he said no.

If she wants a same day appointment then she has to go to Reception by 8am which is when they allocate same day appointments.  The practice manager’s attitude was aggressive and patronising!

I am extremely frustrated and felt we were not getting anywhere.  I suggested we have a face to face meeting to discuss our concerns but he was dismissive.

Can I ask Limping Chicken readers how you make appointments (emergency or same day appointments)?  Is it right that we are being forced to use text relay?

Thanks.  I would be interested to hear what you think.  I’m now off to bang my head on a brick wall (for the bloody umpteenth time!).

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