PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT
As we’re all aware the pressure on health services is at an all time high, even during the summer months. We know patients are frustrated waiting to see their doctor but here are some small things that might help in preparing for your appointment and to help make sure every patient contact counts. In all cases- any abusive behaviour towards our staff won't be tolerated. We know people are frustrated but our staff work so hard every day and do every thing within their power to help our patients. We will ask patients to move practices if we feel their behaviour is unacceptable.
1. Decide what concerns are the most important.
It’s okay to have these written down but try to prioritise and have the most important at the start. Please wear appropriate clothes as well- eg if your knee is sore making sure to wear a loose pants/shorts/dress so it's easy to examine.
2. Limit your list to 2 problems
Having a long list is very challenging to deal with appropriately in a GP appointment and unlikely to be dealt with correctly. I know this can be frustrating when you feel you’re waiting so long for your appointment but we have to be fair to all our patients and also be safe.
3. If you have had any changes to your medications, please bring them with you.
Communication from hospital appointments is quite delayed at the moment and we mightn’t receive the letter for months after you’ve been seen so please let us know if there are any changes
4. If you are having a check up that requires bloods
It’s usually worth having your bloods and blood pressure checked with the nurse first and then making an appointment for the doctor 2 weeks later. This way your results should be back and can be discussed at that appointment.
5. If you are waiting for a hospital appointment-please contact the hospital directly.
We have no control over waiting lists which seem to be getting longer and longer. We’re often requested to write a “stronger letter” however these rarely make a difference, only the hospitals control the waiting lists. If we are very concerned we often have to send patients to A&E as it’s the only way we can be sure they’ll be seen. It’s very frustrating but we have to work within the system we have at the moment
6. Check to see if there’s any other specialist that might be more appropriate.
EG- for dental issues, please see a dentist first. We know there are very few that see medical card patients at the moment but you can ring the dental hospital in CUH if very stuck 021 4901142 or ring the dental clinic in St Annes Road 064 6635665
For muscular injuries- unless they’ve been caused by trauma and you think you might have broken a bone, it’s probably worth contacting a physiotherapist first.
For nail issues- consider contacting a chiropodist.
7. For certificates/forms/paperwork
Please leave at least 7 working days, you can drop these into reception with all your details filled first. In some occasions we have to post the form directly ourselves and if your details aren’t filled then it will be delayed.
These can be ordered via our website. Again please order in advance, most people are aware when they’re coming to the end of their prescription. If you are very stuck your pharmacy can give a 7 day emergency script and we will send our prescription in an appropriate time frame.
9. Showing up to appointments.
You would be surprised how many patients don’t show up to appointments, especially when it’s so difficult to get an appointment in the first place. We’re aware our phone lines are busy (we often have over 400 calls a day) so if you can’t get through please email to let us know, you can put “APPOINTMENT CANCELLATION” in the title and it will be read as soon as possible. This gives us an opportunity to offer the appointments to another patient.
10. Show up to hospital appointments.
Every day we get contacted from the hospital alerting us to patients who didn’t show up to their appointment. I do wish there was a reminder system closer to appointments, even a text, but unfortunately it’s not there at the moment. I would advise you to put your appointment date somewhere that is easy to see and remind you. If you can’t attend, please ring to reschedule. Otherwise you are considered a “DNA-Did not attend” and you have to go back to the bottom of the waiting list again if re-referred.
These are just a few tips and at Ross Medical we are always open to suggestions from patients as well that might help towards their medical experience too.