LETTER: ‘GP booking guidance clear’

Reader Letters from the Diss Express, dissexpress.co.uk, @diss_express on Twitter
Reader Letters from the Diss Express, dissexpress.co.uk, @diss_express on Twitter

Neville Pearson wrote complaining about what he said were problems with the Parish Fields Practice (Letters, July 11), and later wrote complaining about the lack of a reply.

May I ask if he has tried writing directly to the practice? If he had done so I am sure he would have had a reply by now. The way to make complaints is clearly laid down in the Practice Handbook. It is in accordance with NHS guidelines. It is a pity if Mr Pearson did not follow these.

He rightly highlights the problem of too many patients all wanting same day appointments when the number of doctor’s appointment slots are inevitably limited. He has tried phoning and also queuing before 8.30am. However the practice has made available to patients a third way of booking appointments. This is described in the Patients Handbook. I am older than Mr Pearson but have learned how to do it. Using this method I recently had the choice of seeing three different doctors later that morning at ten possible times. I suggest Mr Pearson looks into this as it may solve his problems.

However it seems that Mr Pearson is only willing to see one doctor and only in the mornings. This makes it even more difficult. Sometimes the doctor will be on holiday or on a training course. Once a week he will be a duty doctor when he can only be booked by phone or at reception on the day. This ensures he is free to deal with emergencies. It is unrealistic to always expect to see one particular doctor on the same morning when there are 7,600 patients on the books of the Parish Fields practice.

The doctors work non-stop from 8.40am to noon seeing patients in ten minute slots, making a total of 20 patients on any one morning. After midday emergency patients are seen and then home visits are done before the start of afternoon surgeries at 2.30pm. These are at times which Mr Pearson says he cannot manage. Mr Pearson unrealistically expects to be one of the 20 patents out of 7,600 to see this doctor on any morning he or Mrs Pearson wants to see him .

Frank Howard

Heywood Avenue