No-one knows how many GPs will still be working come the winter, but with growing demand, an ever-diminishing GP workforce and difficulties in recruiting, inducting and supporting new staff, it is going to be a tough winter for general practice.
Finding your own consultant
If you find your GP can’t/doesn’t want to make an appointment, my unofficial way is to phone the Consultant myself. During Lockdown their Secretaries have been very helpful; sometimes making an appointment directly with me, and sometimes asking me to phone my GP and say I have cleared it with them, and can they send a referral.
If it is to see a new consultant I ask friends if they can recommend a good one
And/or I look up my local hospital website for their consultants. Google around and think a bit – I like anyone who has done training/work abroad – who has been involved in research for my particular type of illness – and apart from the notorious Ian Paterson who is now in jail, if they also work at local private hospitals as this usually means they are well regarded. You can look for someone who is young/old, female/male, family person etc. It’s all there, and Googling around I usually get a feel for what someone is going to be like.
Once I have a name, I find phoning Secretaries and asking “does so-and-so deal with my particular type of xxx can be very productive. Secretaries can be extremely helpful, and when I have explained what is wrong, once or twice they have even said “you need to go to ~X – they deal with this particular problem”.
Now you have a name you go back to your GP and request a referral. And I also phone the Secretary back, say a referral is on its way, and see if they can pencil me in for an early appointment. Now this often happens. But for how long I don’t know – so get in there quick!
This takes time, but if you don’t help yourself, you don’t get. And we are going to need to be a lot more pro-active if we want the best healthcare.
And if you still need help. go to the Categories on the left and look up Getting an Appointment.
If you want to comment on your surgery contact your local Healthwatch and/or Clinical Commissioning Group.
And – and this has proven itself time and time again, after the appointment send a quick email to thank the consultant for seeing you and/or thank the secretary for arranging it. During lockdown the brownie points I picked up doing this proved invaluable.