Lewes Road, Forest Row, E Sussex, England, RH18 5AQ
I find getting an appointment at the surgery almost impossible. The reception staff are very rude and I have been barked at many times by them. The surgery is always clean which is a real positive. I would always see Dr Baseley if this was possible because I find he actually listens and wants to make a difference. There are some doctors I would not want to see because they unfortunately come across as uncaring and bored with helping and seeing patients. I have tried to move surgery but unfortunately I couldn't.
The service provided by the surgery is outstanding. As a patient for 28 years I have nothing but praise for the services and level of care that has consistently been afforded to myself and my family. Dr Miller as the senior doctor has a wonderful team working alongside him from the cheerful helpful presence of the receptionists to the nurses and GP's. I cannot fault the surgery - indeed we are lucky yo live in a catchment area for this wonderful facility
When I need an appointment I feel I am an inconvenient nuisance due to the floundering of the practice under the weight of patients wanting to see a doctor. Often getting a seat in the waiting room isn't easy and you must be prepared for a long wait beyond your appointment time. Not every illness or problem is singular in its components. Unfortunately the latest approach seems to be not to look holistically at what may be wrong but to announce that you have ten minutes and that not all your symptoms can be discussed in one go. It feels like having five broken fingers but needing to make separate appointments for each. This attitude must make diagnosis almost impossible. I would suggest that for some part of the day, appointments are done on a numbered ticketing system, allowing you to attend without an appointment and, providing you are prepared to wait, ultimately being seen. Perhaps having a set time for the over 65s and other times for children under five and for those who need a quick, or a double appointment would assist. As it is many patients feel they are being chivvied out before they are sure the doctor really understands their problems. I am slightly deaf, and this makes seeing a doctor with a foreign accent stressful. Ideally I would always see Drs Miller or Basley but would probably die of old age before this could be achieved on the day requested. The system of phoning in early morning is horrible. I have tried ringing sometimes for up to 40 minutes to get through and then being told there are no appointments. I often see a doctor I don't know, who has no connection with me and my medical history, just to be seen at all. The younger doctors can make me feel as if I was the most boring person they have ever met and with problems that are of absolutely no interest whatsoever. This may well be the case but one then questions whether they are in the right vocation! I went to my car and cried after one such consultation. I feel that the surgery needs to have evening appointments at least two days a week and also every Saturday morning, with Saturday afternoons twice a month to cope with the number of patients. Not all patients can be whisked through in ten minutes and appointment times need to be variable and judged more compassionately and accurately. Perhaps initial appointments for a problem should be allowed a longer time than follow ups. Perhaps doctors could be allocated different age groups in which they might have interest or experience rather than a mishmash each and then the appointment times could be decided upon at the doctor's discretion. Maybe a second premises, or a larger one, or greater use of the space in the surgery could be utilised with more senior practitioners. The car parking is patently dangerous and insufficient for the volume of patients and you dice with death walking from the pavement to the surgery door. Getting old isn't fun and being unwell when you live alone is frightening. I can see the surgery is struggling and doctors and receptionists are tired and I have not intended to sound unkind, merely to tell it as I perceive it. I feel that a huge revision of the running of the surgery needs to take place as a matter of urgency.
I've had ongoing health issues for some time that have considerably reduced my quality of life to the point that is difficult to sustain. I put all my very little energy and considerable financial resources into a last ditch fight to regain my health. I'm new to this area and new to the Ashdown Health Clinic and therefore have no history or rapport with any of the doctors. My medical history is complicated, to put it mildly. I've had weight loss surgery, heart problems and I suffered severe Stephen's Johnson's Syndrome which has left me, among other things, potentially life-threateningly allergic to any medication. I mind that doctors think they are the only people with a mind, even though mine is severely impaired at this time. I'm still not totally stupid. I mind that they dismiss me and don't listen and therefore ignore the most valuable diagnostic tool at their disposal. I mind the feeling that I'm out on my own with no real help to call upon. For some time I've noticed terrible and frightening things happening to me. The symptoms range from cognitive to physical problems. Too complicated to go into in this limited forum. My first instincts were to withdraw into myself, curl up, so to speak. Alas, life doesn't allow that. I've somehow had to function and that's become increasingly difficult and embarrassing. I gathered all I had in me and asked for privately insured referrals to try to get to the bottom of my problems and hopefully put them right. I just seem to have been passed from pillar to post, undergoing many difficult tests, and ended up with a list of stuff that's not wrong with me. Apparently, I'm to be satisfied with that. It's me, it seems! I'm absolutely no further forward. I tried to make an appointment to discuss the feedback from all these experts but found that non urgent appointments are booked up for weeks, if not months. I was offered a telephone consultation but the doctor who is slightly familiar with my case wasn't available so I accepted the consultation with Dr Fyfe, whom I've never met. I found her attitude to me to be hostile. Why? I tried to explain how I'd arrived at my stance but I was talked down. I put the phone down afterwards and just cried. I'm not a hypochondriac. Far from it. I'm a desperate woman who is just trying to get well because my life literally depends on it.
I had a skin tag on my eyelid removed by Dr Baxter: brilliantly done, every step clearly explained, including exactly what it would feel like. Absolutely no stress or anxiety for me. Superb.