Can you insist on a Doctors appointment

My doctor’s surgery has wised up over the last couple of years. They now do late surgerys at least once a week and a Saturday morning one each weekend. They are designed for people working during the day, so if you are in a postition to be able to get to middle of the day appointments you are ‘discouraged’ from taking up one of those appointments.

We can also have phone call appointments, and can order repeat prescriptions without seeing a doctor. Which can make things a lot easier! They may be doing online repeat prescription ordering soon.

If it’s not easy physically easy to get to the surgery due to medical issues you may well get a home visit.

Like everyone else I moan about my surgery but reading your posts I think they are pretty good. They do get a bit stroppy if you miss or are late for an appointment without a good reason but will shunt appointments up to fit you in if you ring and explain the bus is late or whatever, if they can and you have let them know.

We have 1 surgery in town… 10+ GPs… you can’t make an appointment more than 14 days in advance… You can ring in the morning at 8 or in the afternoon at 2 and get an appointment with a nurse practitioner (there are 2) - when the appointments are gone they are gone but you can ring at the next half day (it can be difficult to get through on the phone some days) … if you see the nurse and she feels you need to see a doctor she gets you in to see the emergency doctor (or your GP if they are available). You can also make an appointment to see the emergency doctor on the same basis (8 or 2) but they don’t have so many appointments. The practice also runs two surgeries in outlying villages and if the nurse really feels you need to see your GP she can check the other surgeries and make an appointment for you in one of those if that is where they have a free slot, on another occasion she arranged for my GP to ring me and then the community nurse collected and brought me a prescription! And I have had NHS Direct make me an appointment at the surgery or the out-of-hours service which is run from our local hospital (5+ miles) if they felt I needed to see a doctor sooner rather than later.

My MS Nurse (based at another more distant hospital) also has good liason with my GP surgery and my local community nurses, and can usually arrange to see me herself within a few days if I feel I am having a relapse. There is also a neurophysiotherapist and the local wheelchair service that I can self-refer to now that I have been introduced by the MS team, and if I don’t call on them in a 12 month period they give me a ring!


I am able to book appointments online - and can sort appointments by male/female doctor, a specific doctor, minor injuries nurse etc, so haven’t tried phoning the surgery for a while. I can also ask for a call back from my GP, and because I work I asked to speak to her at a specific time and sure enough when I called (as was the arrangement) I was put through to her straight away. I also order repeat prescriptions online, which is handy, and request the prescription is sent to a specific pharmacy - as there is one in town that orders LDN for myself and another MSer.

In answer to your original question though, whether a doctor must give you an appointment if you need one, I imagin the answer must be ‘yes’ as this is what they are paid to do - surely?

I hope you have managed to get an appointment by now!


I’ve moved from somewhere with a fantastic surgery and group of doctors (Wotton Bassett in Wiltshire) even offering to help me get to work when a locum doctor ticked the wrong part of my driving license medical and I lost my license to the wilds of Gloucestershire where I often have to wait more than 10 days for an appointment and actually had to go to the Minor Injuries Unit to be seen to have documentary evidence to get an urgent appointment. I never regard my MS as an emergency, but I think it needs to be seen a little more promptly that 10 days, especially when being ever hopeful I usually sit on symptoms for a few days with the hope they will go away on their own. Unfortunately I sat on them too long in August (waiting until October to be seen) and am now suffocating the consequences (as my 7 year old tells me).