Changes to appointment booking systems at GP surgeries across Brixton have left some patients upset with the new “complicated” process.
Formerly, patients could phone a surgery and book the appointment with a receptionist. The new appointment system allows patients to call the surgery between 8am- 10am, to organise a call back from their doctor usually within one to two hours. Patients will either be asked to attend the surgery, or receive a telephone consultation.
Ray Thornton, a patient in the area, said: “I’m angry with how they are treating people in this area…they keep changing the appointment bookings system and claiming that they are “listening” to patients but I’ve seen no evidence whatsoever that they’ve consulted with patients in serious way. Certainly if they have, it’s escaped my attention.
“Having to book between 8am and 10am is massively inconvenient for shift workers and seems bizarre that you cannot schedule an appointment in advance. It’s like they see the people of this community as ‘children’ who can’t be trusted to keep their appointments and have nothing else to do but wait for the doctor to call them.”
Lauren Spearman Tweeted: “90% of the time I have to wait 2-3 weeks for an appointment. Thank God for walk in centres elsewhere!”
When asked if any other people were having problems with the new bookings system Claire Benson (@unstuckthinking) Tweeted: “nope, mine is always easy peasy”.
Benson added: “Good doctor’s booking at Stockwell group practice. Friendly receptionists. Choose your doc for advance bookings, emergency clinic everyday.”
Other GP’s in the area such as the Hetherington Group Practice operate under the new system. The Brixton Hill Group Practice in Raleigh Gardens has a 24hr service, and along with the Water Lane surgery allows patients to ring up and make a same day appointment.
Anne Alerebo, team leader at the Pavilion Medical Centre in Brixton, said: “With the new system you need to ring on the day. With the previous one, people ring up and book appointments and they don’t turn up for the appointment. Other people are waiting to be seen, but people don’t call to cancel. It’s been two weeks, but I think it’s the best system.
“With the new system you have continuity of doctors, so you can see the same doctor. The patients prefer the new system anyway. It’s not just here; some surgeries have started the new system anyway.
“You will always get people who complain, but I think they will get used to it”
The practice aims to improve access to appointments and to your own GP, as well as offering a more convenient time to fit around patient’s daily schedules. By making this change, the centre believes it will be more time efficient for both practice and patient, providing a more ‘effective and consistent’ service.
Please let us know about your experiences, positive or negative with the booking system at your local GP surgery at firstname.lastname@example.org.