71 Romsley Road, Bartley Green, Birmingham, B32 3PR
As a patient of the Practice since it opened, I have never had cause to complain about treatment my late husband and I have received. O.K. the appointments system has caused problems but I believe every effort is being made to improve this. Following a recent routine blood test I had a request to make an appointment with a Doctor I have only seen once before (she has been in the Practice for around 20 years). I was somewhat surprised to hear the effort she had made to discover the possible reason for the fluctuations in my blood results. Not only that, she took time to listen to me and I apologise if I took up more of her time than I should have.
The fundamental problem with this surgery is it cannot copy with the quantity of people needing to see a doctor. So no matter what system they put in appointments are like gold dust. The only solution is more Doctors and longer opening hours speaking of which only opening 4.5 days a week is not enough and Doctors who according to their website mostly only work part-time. Now I don't know how surgeries are funded but I can compare Bartley Green with the very nearby Jiggins Lane surgery. This doesn't have anywhere near the complaints about appointments and moving to that surgery is something I'm considering. I don't really want to do that as I think my Doctor is good at his job but that doesn't matter if I can't get to see him. I feel that many are putting there health at risk me included because getting an appointment is more aggro than whatever your problem is. I also feel that this is why our hospitals and the NHS as a whole is struggling because people are not getting treatment at the ground level so develop more serious problems. Bartley Green Surgery is not unique in this problem as I have experienced it before so no doubt there are many surgeries around the country with similar issues.
I know that marking everything as 1 star maybe a little unfair but I did this because of the extremely poor availability of appointments so it doesn't matter if the other parts are good or bad if you can't get an appointment in the first place. The fundamental problem is not enough doctors working sufficient hours to cover the quantity of patients requiring appointments. It doesn't matter what appointment system is introduced or how efficient it is or not it will never fix the issue this surgery has with appointments until the quantity of available appointments is greatly increased. The effect this problem is having is people are putting off going to the Doctors (me included) because it's to much hassle so may not get conditions treated as soon as they should be and for those with long-term conditions that need regular attention or monitoring it's a total nightmare ...... seriously needs fixing
Getting an appointment is one of the most impossible tasks ever. If you can get through on the phone then appointments are gone. Unhelpful advise like "appointments are released at various times during the day" are incredibly patronising to people who actually need an appointment. Especially beings as the office staff don't know when appointments are released. Maybe this is why you can't get through on the phone, because people are trying to find out if more appointments have been released. If you need to see a doctor over a routine illness then you can not phone up as an emergency. If you have an emergency then call 999 or go to a and e. As far as I am concerned you are encouraging more people to take their less emergency, more routine appointments to out of hours or accident and emergency, which is blocking up the system. Constructive advice... Change the system so that working parents and working people can get an appointment. If you constantly do not have appointments then don't take on new patients. You can't work cope at the capacity you have now, without getting more people. Don't write to patients asking them to make an appointment, when you don't have appointments to give. Increase phone lines, people should not have to waste a full 90 minutes trying to get through. Maybe phone lines could open earlier. Talk to patients, if you are unable to cope at the capacity you have then work out how you can solve it ! Do you need more doctors? Change working times? Hospitals have waiting times and targets, these are advertised. I think you should advertise what your targets are... If you are poorly when should you expect to be able to get an appointment... When you work in a business then you have to book your holiday in advance. Surely your doctors and nurses and receptionists could also do this, allowing for advance notice of appointments. Therefore you can book appointments in advance, don't just on the day. If you have a complaint it would be good to actually speak to the practise manager themselves, rather than them dodging the call. It is unfair that the front line staff take all the complaints and rage from the general public. When actually this is above their heads. This is a health care provision, but it is also a business and needs to be run like one. The "customers" are the public, but if they can't see one of your practitioners then you are failing.
The doctors are great but the time it takes to get through to get an appointment is beyond a joke. I've redialled up to 90 times in a morning. And if you don't ring at 9am you won't get an appointment for that day. You won't get an appointment for any other day either as you can only book for the same day. Ridiculous for those who work and need to book the time off with their employer. I've tried to use the system online to book an advance appointment to save me the trauma of trying to get through on the phone and to get an appointment time that suits my needs, but there are never any appointments showing up online either!
Thank you for your comment. We at the practice are very sorry to hear of the problems you have encountered with our booking system and thank you for your time in providing us with your feedback on this. We fully appreciate that is can be increasingly difficult (and frustrating!) to get an appointment at a suitable time to fit around working hours. We have recently recruited another Advanced Nurse Practitioner who can prescribe, thus increasing our appointments for the day and hopefully this will help. The pre-bookable appointments go live two weeks in advance and get fully booked, again, in a very short time scale. If you feel that it is urgent for that day, then we also offer a triage call back, whereby one of our clinicians will call and establish if you need to be seen as an emergency, then you can be added at the end of the day (this is down to the clinician and reception staff would not be able to action that for you). We continually strive to improve our services and appointment availability is always at the top of the list! Once again, thank you for your comments.