When we surveyed GPs and patients, we found a big gap between what the GPs said they offered, and what the patients thought they offered. Do you know what services your GP can provide?
In our research into GP services, we found that nine out of 10 GPs say they offer telephone consultations, but only six in 10 patients said their surgery offered this service. We also found that more than half of GPs said patients could order repeat prescriptions online, but only a third of patients said this was the case.
I found out almost by accident that my GP practice offers a telephone consultation. The receptionist suggested the service to me after I became frustrated when I couldn’t book an emergency same-day appointment for my very ill child.
Calling for help
Since then, I’ve used the service three times (and all within the space of a few days – what a week that was). I found it’s useful when you just need some quick advice in the aftermath of an accident to help you decide whether you’ve done enough to help the person involved or whether they need to see a doctor or go to A&E.
I learned the best course of action for a child who had squirted window cleaner in their eye and even a child who managed to get dog muck in their eye. My personal advice is not to trust someone whose garden you’re in when they tell you ‘it’s just a bit of mud’.
Do you know whether your GP surgery offers telephone consultations? Do you think GPs should do more to tell patients about the different ways their services can be accessed? For me, being aware of the telephone service certainly put my mind to rest and no doubt took pressure off the surgery and my local A&E.
Does your GP offer ways to access their services that you think are particularly helpful? Are there any services you wish your GP offered?