We appreciate it can be very frustrating when the surgeries are running behind and you may have a long wait to see the doctor. Appointments are allocated at 10 minute intervals, but sometimes appointments will take longer according to the patient’s medical problem. If the patients before you take more than ten minutes it will have a knock on effect throughout the clinic. We do ask that patients with complicated medical problems book double appointments for this reason. However, patients can present with complicated acute problems and the doctor may have to make a referral, organise treatment or arrange an admission to hospital during the appointment. Problems can also arise when patients with potentially serious conditions such as chest pain and acute asthma attacks need to be seen urgently and do not have an appointment. The receptionists should inform you when the clinic is running late and you may want to cancel your appointment and rebook it for another time. Your doctor may also be the on-call doctor for the day. Each day, the doctors take it in turns to be the on-call doctor. The on-call doctor deals with all visit requests and may have to leave the surgery to do an urgent visit during surgery times or even before surgery has started.
We are sometimes asked why the waiting time does not work both ways -If you are more than 15 minutes late the doctor may not be able to see you. This is because it would cause delays throughout the clinic and if coupled with other patients needing longer than 10 minutes would mean appointments would never run on time.
We hope this explains why your appointment may not be on time. We will always advise you when the surgeries are delayed although we may not be able to give the full reason causing the delay; where possible, we will always endeavour to reduce your waiting time.
Your understanding of why the surgeries can sometimes run late is appreciated, one day it could be you or a member of your family who needs a longer appointment time or an urgent visit.