How hard can it be to book a doctor’s appointment?

Do you find booking a doctor's appointment to be a nightmare?

Do you find booking a doctor's appointment to be a nightmare? - Credit: Archant

It’s that time when seasonal sickness finds us battling for GP appointments. This familiar frustrating scenario which makes us consider gouging out our eyeballs …

You neck your espresso, two phone handsets poised, adrenalin-pumped and ready for this challenge. You hit ‘call’ bang on 8am. “Please hold. You are number SEVEN in the queue.” Let the fun commence.

You want a doctor so they offer you a nurse. The only time you cannot do is school run times. The only available times left are 3.15pm or 8.55am. Despite ringing from both phones -praying in three languages to five gods simultaneously - the suitable slots were taken by more impressive callers.

The receptionist thinks it doesn’t sound too bad and you can probably get away with seeing the nurse. Oh right. Where did the receptionist achieve her medical degree?

She’s afraid there are no other appointments and she’s offered two, so perhaps ring 111 or go through this whole sorry situation again tomorrow. Thank you so much. Most. Annoying. Lady. Ever.

My theory is there are seven types of GP receptionists.

The Sweet Neighbour

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To be honest, she doesn’t know where the appointments have gone either. She thinks there must have been a problem. The computer was down yesterday. Two doctors are out all day on a course.

All she can suggest is try calling this afternoon. Do you have anyone to help you get to hospital, Dear? Maybe a friend to watch the other children?

Her husband would give you a lift but he doesn’t drive much now, what with his corns.

Cruella De Vil

Answers the phone like a pantomime villain. What do ya want, you ‘orrible lot? Erm, an appointment, Miss. It’s for my baby, see? She ain’t well. What do ya expect meee to do about it? Um, I would like to see a doctor. This morning? It’s ten to nine! Why didn’t you ring up at eight? All the appointments ‘av gone now. Mwah ha ha haaa.

The Adviser

Answers robotically with monotone receptionist drawl. We don’t see a doctor for a cold nowadays. Did you try Lemsip? Drink orange juice? What about Tunes? Funny you should ask. Greensleeves for the last 13 minutes actually. Have you put a towel over your head and inhaled some Olbas Oil in boiling water? Go and boil your head, did you say? Well go and boil yours instead. Bye!

The Incredible Hulk

She’s definitely spoken to you already this morning. She advised you then that you could not have an appointment. She’s certain you don’t constitute an emergency.

She TOLD you to get the health visitor to have a look at your baby’s rash next time you’re at the clinic. You cannot speak to the practice manager. She guarantees the practice manager would advise exactly the same.

No, you can’t take her name. They never give names. They don’t even have names. Go. Away.

The Thick One

Suggests flu vaccines containing egg won’t be suitable for your dairy-allergic child. To treat a fever immediately plunge the patient into a cold bath. With ice cubes. That’s the best way to reduce a temperature. Never mix paracetamol with ibuprofen, just in case. Oh she knows the doctors say you can but she doesn’t think you should. Yeah, cheers for these pearls.

The Mother-In-Law

She’s been there. She knows. She’s had 16 kids with every disease known to mankind. She remembers. She’s been through it all. She is also your mother-in-law when it comes to vocal tone, demeanour and unwanted unsubstantiated advice. She reckons the pharmacist might be able to recommend a solution, to save making a special trip out. Demount your high horse and gimme an appointment, Your Royal Smugness, so I can get back to my vomiting newborn.

The Wannabe Pharmacist

Have you ever heard of Calpol? You can give that to bring their temperature down. But be careful if you do because you can only give four doses in 24 hours. And by the way, did you know that you can administer ibuprofen alternately too? Additionally, the Pope is said to be Catholic and bears defecate in woods. Not a lot of people know that!