Why do Doctors sometimes run late for your appointment?
It can be quite frustrating when the doctor runs late and at Barnt Green Surgery, we do understand that. When you’re trying to juggle work, family, home and multiple appointments, we do appreciate how inconvenient it can be to wait beyond your appointment time to be seen and we wanted to explain some of the reasons why this sometimes happens.
There is no one single answer to why we sometimes run late. There can be lots of things that combine to make it happen and we’re often not able to tell you why as we need to maintain the confidentiality of all our patients.
It is also difficult to predict if we will continue to run late as we can often catch up when we have a few appointments with people who don’t need the full 10 minutes.
Patients are booked at 10 minute intervals with each GP in every morning and afternoon session. Each appointment includes discussing what is happening for the patient, and recording that in the patient records. You can see, with such short time frames how easy it can be to start to run a little behind as the session goes on.
A few of the more common reasons for doctors to fall behind include:
Complexity or patients in distress
People come to see their GP for lots of different reasons. This can range from a simple problem which can be comfortably dealt with in 7-8 minutes to a much more complex issue such as someone who has been diagnosed with cancer or serious illness, lost a loved one, is significantly unwell, or feels that they can’t cope anymore to the extent they are contemplating taking their own life. These are unfortunately all common occurrences and understandably we do not restrict those in need to a 7-8 minute consultation.
Some people come with a number of problems, or remember another problem halfway through the consultation which can make it difficult to keep to time. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your appointment.
Be prepared and make a list of your concerns before seeing the doctor so you can agree together what you need to discuss during the appointment;
Sharing your list with your doctor means you can agree which problems can realistically be dealt with that day.
Rushing though a long list can feel unsatisfactory for you and possibly lead to missing important symptoms at the time.
Admissions to hospital
When someone is very unwell they may need admitting to a local hospital and the GP may have to do that there and then. This will involve the GP talking to the team at the hospital which can take some time and may require emergency treatment by the GP at the practice, sometime with the support of the ambulance crew as well, before they are transferred to hospital.
Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated in these situations
Liaising with Other Health Care Providers
GPs are part of a larger health care team and are often contacted by A&E departments, hospital doctors, laboratories, midwives, health visitors, social services etc.
We try to arrange these conversations after booked surgeries, but in emergency/ urgent situations this cannot wait and so your GP may be dealing with one of these teams whilst you’re in the waiting room.
By liaising with that team, it means that that patient in question can be treated as quickly as possible in that location. Remember; it could be your relative who is waiting to be treated
Please be understanding towards fellow patients – one day it may be you who needs the care and attention that a patient ahead of you has just received and we WILL give you that time if you need it.