Reasons why your appointment may be running late

We apologise in advance for any clinic which runs behind schedule and for keeping you waiting. There are a number of reasons as to why this happens and we hope by explaining these reasons to you beforehand and offering some possible solutions, it may assist in your understanding and cooperation as well as reducing the time in which clinics may run late.

Reason 1 – Some patients attend for their pre-booked appointment but have multiple problems. Each appointment slot is for 10 minutes which is normally sufficient to deal with one issue. Therefore, when a patient presents with multiple issues, it results in the GP having to spend more time than the allocated 10 minutes to assess the problems appropriately and effectively.

Suggestion– If you have more than one problem that you wish to discuss with your GP, please request a double appointment when booking, this will enable the GP to spend extra time with you without impacting on other patients waiting.

Reason 2 – Other family members attending and expecting to be seen at the same time. Each appointment slot is allocated to one patient. As stated above 10 minutes is usually sufficient to deal with one problem for that one individual only.

Suggestion – We kindly request that an appointment is booked for each individual patient wishing to see the GP even if it is for the same problem. This way the correct time can be allocated and the GP should have adequate time to assess and treat each person effectively.

Reason 3 – Patients arriving late for their pre-booked appointment. As a practice we do not like to instruct patients to rebook their appointment due to them missing their allocated slot if they have run late for genuine reasons. The GP will use their discretion and try to “slot you in” if possible in between other patients but this will inevitably impact on later appointment times for other patients. However, it may be necessary for you to reschedule your appointment for another day/session.

Suggestion – We kindly request for all patients to try to arrive on time for their pre-booked appointments. If you are running a little late however, please contact the surgery and advise them beforehand, that way if another patient arrives before you that is booked in later, it may be possible for them to be seen first.

Reason 4 – The GP having to deal with emergencies. There are a number of situations that may require urgent/immediate attention from the GP such as telephone calls from paramedics or other medical professionals, requests for help from other staff members, arranging emergency hospital admissions, emergency treatment for palliative patients, etc etc. These occurrences are inevitable and unavoidable and always require the GPs attention. This unfortunately will impact on the time pre-booked patients are waiting.

Suggestion – Unfortunately there is no solution to this issue but we request your understanding when this occurs. The GP will always deal with these issues as quickly and efficiently as possible to minimise your wait.

On any occasion if you are kept waiting after your allocated appointment time please ask the reception staff, who will be happy to give you an explanation as to why the delay is occurring.


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