Concerned patient says new GP appointment system means people ‘will have to plan when they are ill’

The Acorn Surgery, Huntingdon,

The Acorn Surgery, Huntingdon, - Credit: Archant

A patient has raised concerned about getting an appointment after a doctors’ surgery overhauled its system.

Worried patient Julia Swain, 43, said she had to wait two weeks for a suspicious mole to be checked by doctors at Acorn Surgery, in Oak Drive, Huntingdon.

Mrs Swain, of Elizabeth Drive, in Hartford: “I was told that I should have it removed and there was an urgency to have it looked at before that can happen so I rang Acorn Surgery to book an appointment.

“When I called the surgery I was told that there were only appointments available for the same day but as I work in Peterborough I was unable to get there.”

Mrs Swain tried to book an appointment for a few days later but was told that the doctor’s surgery had scaled back the number of pre-bookable appointments on offer.

“I was shocked by this. It seems that people who go to the surgery will now have to plan when they are ill so that they don’t have to wait for ages to get an appointment.”

Mrs Swain said that for those who are unable to work from home or don’t work near the surgery, it could be a struggle to take time off to get an appointment on the same day.

Most Read

It wasn’t until two weeks later that Mrs Swain was able to get an appointment by taking a day off of work and phoning the surgery in the morning.

“I was given the last appointment of the day.

“Luckily I could get there in time and was told that the mole was not cancerous – but if things had been different I may have had a much longer nervous wait.”

Acorn Surgery, with patients in Huntingdon, Godmanchester and St Ives, decided to change its booking procedure after lengthy discussions with its patient participation group.

Senior GP partner Dr Susan Stanton said: “To respond to increased demand for appointments and a number of comments from patients that they have had some difficulty making an appointment with the GP of their choice, we have been trying a number of different appointment systems over the past year.

“Each month over 100 appointments are wasted with our GPs alone when patients don’t turn up for the appointments they have pre-booked.

“Although we have a range of pre-bookable appointments made available, including late night surgeries, these can get booked up quickly.

“Patients with urgent problems are always offered an appointment on the same day.

“We cannot comment on particular individual patients.”