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Healthwatch Survey Needs Your Views

Published on: 22 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 22 Nov, 2013

Doctor imageAn independent body for healthcare in Surrey wants patients to share their experiences of making GP appointments before 18th December 2013.

Healthwatch Surrey, the consumer champion for health and social care, has started the project to find out what patients experience.

Richard Davy, Healthwatch Surrey Board Member, explained the motivation behind the project: “There has been a lot of negative coverage in the national media recently about GP appointment bookings. We want to get a quick snapshot of how it really is for people in Surrey.

“We hope to share the information gathered from this survey with Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Health and Wellbeing Board.”

The project will include a short survey for the public to complete and a single-question survey that is being sent to all GP practices.

A 72-year-old woman, who didn’t want to be named, has had good experiences at a Guildford practice. She said: “My GP is based at Dapdune Surgery. It can be slow to get through on the phone in the mornings but my doctor offers telephone consultations and if he judges that an appointment is necessary then he’ll see you sooner. He’s always been very helpful.”

Health Watch Surrey

The survey takes less than two minutes and has five questions about how you can make an appointment to see your GP and the ways you can do this. GPs and their practices are not named.

Click here for a link to the survey, or ask at your GP surgery. Copies of the survey can be picked up from the Citizens Advice Bureau and User-led HUBs in Surrey. People can also request a copy by contacting Healthwatch Surrey: tel: 0303 303 0023, email:

What are your experiences of GP appointment waiting times in Guildford? Can your practice improve its service? The Guildford Dragon NEWS would like to know.

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Responses to Healthwatch Survey Needs Your Views

  1. Louise Emmett Reply

    November 27, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I belong to the Wodeland Avenue surgery. The reception staff are lovely and the doctors are nice enough but getting an appointment can be very difficult.

    Last time I tried to get an non-urgent appointment with a doctor (i.e. not on the day) they offered me the first one 11 days later. I did actually laugh out loud at the receptionist when she told me, until I realised she was serious.

    A couple of weeks ago I needed an appointment with a nurse within a specific time frame, about ten days from when I went in to make the appointment but they couldn’t do that either. I finally ended up with an appointment almost a week later.

    If you call in the morning, even on the dot of 8am, you often wait 20-25 minutes to get through. Then you have to tell the receptionist what is wrong, she writes it on a list and the triage nurse calls you back up to an hour later. Only then, if she thinks it is serious enough, do you get an on-the-day appointment.

    I hate it. It’s bad enough for me if I am unwell trying to fit in seeing a doctor, but if it is for the kids it is a stressful nightmare. Not sure if I am even allowed to change surgeries but if I did, would it be any better?

  2. Fiona Morris Reply

    November 27, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    We are so sorry Ms Emmett had a difficult time arranging appointments. We would like to take this opportunity to reassure her that we take all complaints seriously and welcome feedback from patients on our current working practice.

    We are experiencing unusually high demand at the moment and our clinical audits have shown that triaging urgent same day appointments has been extremely effective in managing that demand.

    We have received many compliments from patients in the efficiency of the triage. All patients talk to a clinician rather than a receptionist and many of them can be dealt with very effectively by telephone or by our Nurse Practitioners freeing up GP appointments for those that require them.

    “We are a large practice based across four sites and as we have many part time GPs we do try to book as far in advance as possible to ensure patients are seen by the GP of their choice. This may have been why she was offered an appointment in two weeks time. If she would like to contact me directly I would be very happy to investigate this for her.

    The mornings are indeed very busy; especially during flu season. We do encourage patients to book online via our website many patients find this easier than queuing via our switchboard and enjoy the fact that it is available 24 hours a day. You can also order repeat prescriptions and send messages to the practice.

    Our aim is always to provide the highest standard of general practice with courtesy, friendliness and good humour. We are so sorry that this was not your experience

    I hope Ms Emmett will contact me directly if she wishes to discuss this matter further.

    Fiona Morris is the Guildowns Group Practice Manager

    * The assignment of degrees of urgency to medical conditions in order to decide the order of treatment.

  3. Louise Emmett Reply

    November 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I wish to thank Fiona Morris for her kind response. I appreciate her time and effort in responding.

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