Canada Road, Walmer, Deal, Kent, England, CT14 7EQ
I appreciate it is difficult to obtain an appointment with a specific doctor, but when 'two weeks or more' turns out to be a month, that is less acceptable; the appointments secretary then, grudgingly, told me the doctor would be taking on holiday. Why on earth not say that in the first place? My second issue concerns my allocated doctor. Without my knowledge, or indeed consent, I discovered I had been allocated to another doctor at the practice - a doctor I'd never met, nor indeed knew that she was a woman. Given recent evidence stressing the important and beneficial effect of having a dedicated doctor, I found it distressing that I had been arbitrarily switched to an unknown doctor. The receptionist assured me that 'it didn't matter', that I could always (with luck!- my words) see my 'own' doctor, but that I am afraid is not the point.
I have been a patient at Balmoral for 33 years. Everything has functioned extremely well until recently. It should be stressed that all staff remain, as ever, dedicated, professional, and friendly. The ensuing comments relate uniquely to the (extreme) difficulty of getting appointments. It has become impossible to get an appointment - even for pressing reasons - without a long delay. A same day appointment seems to be a thing of the past. One is told to call at 08.00 if such an appointment is urgently needed. The Balmoral switchboard is permanently blocked at that time and until long after. Meanwhile the online appointment facility is "temporarily unavailable". Even when that facility does work, almost all available appointments are with nurses (clearly ideal for some problems but not for those requiring the attention of an M.D.). It seems odd, given the above, that the practice's website announces that "we are currently accepting new patients". That seems the clash with a seeming inability to receive patients (long -term or new) with any promptitude. Friendly greetings to all of Balmoral's hardworking and professional staff who, it goes without saying, perform heroically at all times. Francis Ward
Thank you for your review. We are sorry that you have found it difficult to get an appointment recently. We currently have a GP off sick at the moment, and despite our attempts to source a locum to cover their absence, we have been unsuccessful and therefore we do currently have less GP appointments that we would usually have. However there are processes in place at Balmoral Surgery to ensure that all patients who clinically need to be seen on the day, are seen on the day. If a patient is not able to get an appointment when they ring and they think that they need to be seen that day, they will be put through to our duty receptionist and they will liaise with a GP who will decide if the patient needs to be seen that day. If the patient does need to be seen, they will be booked into one of our emergency appointments. We were unaware that our website is "temporarily unavailable" as do not get informed by the supplier, but we will look into this straight away. With regards to accepting new patients, this is not something we can decide to stop ourselves, we would have to apply for permission to do this which is not that straightforward and as our shortage of appointments is due to unexpected sick leave, we are hoping that we will not need to close our list. We hope that this reply has addressed your concerns, but if it has not please do not hesitate to contact us at the surgery to discuss this in more details. Many thanks
This surgery is a joke ! Receptionists thinking they are doctors and always rude! In a whole year I have never once been seen on time . Usually 30 /40 mins wait never an explanation. It's a shame as some of the doctors are ok but I don't expect to have to explain why I need an appointment from a receptionist who then decides if I need one ??? I will be moving ASAP as should everyone!!
I have seen 3 different doctors at this practice. 2 were excellent, 1 was a bit ambivalent so I won't see him again! The main issue is the long wait to see a doctor, booking 3-4 weeks in advance! I've never spoken to a receptionist as automated check in so can't really comment on that section.