I recently moved house which meant I was now out of my current GP’s catchment so regrettably I had to find a new GP. For me I thought the easiest thing was to go to the other practice in the health centre. What could go wrong??
A snooty receptionist is what went wrong. She looked down her nose at me and kept telling me to sit down and wait while she figured if I was in their catchment. Which despite pointing at where my new house is on the map which was miles inside the highlighter pen drawn on the map. I didnt sit which caused her great annoyance to the point she came back to tell me to sit down and just wait. After a lot of muttering and sighing she came back and asked why I was moving from my current practice- despite already telling her it was because I moved out of catchment area. She eventually sighed again and said she would get the paper work.
This was it for me. I thought how can I be a patient at a practice when I need to get past the devil reincarnate aka the receptionist. I said for her to forget it and I would find somewhere else. If I didnt need to find a GP pretty quickly I would have just given up. But as I get my medication weekly I needed to find a GP ASAP.
I found one that was near me and was really nervous going in to speak to them about registering. I rely a lot on my GP for my medication and seeing me when I am not great but also having the trust in me to make the calls for when my asthma was bad.
I nervously went in and was greeted by the nicest receptionist who gave me all the forms and got me to fill them out. I didnt know some of the info but she was good and said they could find most of it out from m old GP. I explained briefly about whats going on and my asthma and asked how their emergency appointments worked as this is something I tend to use when my asthma is not good. It was refreshing to be put at ease after such a horrible experience at the practice I tried before.
The face of a GP surgery really needs to be nice and friendly not someone who looks like they hate all people and we are just making their life difficult. It made me think about those poor patients who are at the surgery and have to deal with the receptionist every time they need something. I am not sure I could cope with it. I have been very fortunate that my GP surgery has also been very good and the team of not just Dr’s and nurses but other staff have been so helpful. I guess I thought they would all be like that but sadly no.
Anyway I guess what this experience did was highlight the importance of a friendly first face especially when you have a chronic health condition and you do rely on medical professionals in all aspects from nurses, Dr’s, healthcare assistants. I would hate that anyone with a long term condition would have a GP surgery where they have to battle to either get seen or have unhelpful staff. I guess there are people out there who do have this problem and I must admit I have been very very lucky with my GP’s which from now and as a kid, or at school and uni have all been very helpful.
I was really shaken by the experience I had as I had a assumption that GP surgeries were all friendly and helpful. How wrong was I. I would love to shout out which practice it was but I won’t. Instead I have written to them about the experience and how I did not join the practice despite it being the closest one to where I now live. I have not heard back from them yet but I am eager to get a response and see what they have to say.
Luckily now I found another GP practice who have been very welcoming!