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Ridiculous situation trying to talk to a GP!


Volunteer Moderator
May 9, 2012
south-east London
So flaming annoyed with our GP service right now!

My husband has been growing steadily more confused over the past few days following marked changes in some of his abilities over the weekend (sporadically unable to co-ordinate movement properly).

He is delusional, rambling, a bit anxious and swooping quickly between feeling freezing or boiling.

I strongly suspect a UTI as part of the deal and, having been contacted by our concerned son who was keeping an eye on his dad this afternoon, I rang up the surgery from work this afternoon to make an appointment as soon as possible.

There were no appointments available this evening (not that I found that surprising) but I asked if I could speak to a doctor on the phone (something I've done before when no appointments are available) to sort out possible antibiotics in the first instance, and to arrange to see someone about hubby's new co-ordination problems as soon as possible).

I was gobsmacked when the receptionist said a doctor couldn't call me back - apparently they only do that in the morning.

I then asked for an appointment tomorrow. Again, nothing available. I asked if I could talk to a doctor on the phone tomorrow.

I was told yes, but only if it was urgent.

I said it was urgent as I was pretty convinced that a UTI was involved as part of the problem and my husband's behaviour was growing more erratic by the hour.

I couldn't believe it when I was told that I would have to phone back at 8am to see what urgent appointments were available, and no, the doctor would not be able to phone me back tomorrow unless I phone in and ask tomorrow!

I told her I'd never heard anything so ridiculous!

So now I'll have to keep my fingers crossed that things don't get worse this evening because the last thing I want to do is head off to the hospital for medication with someone who is clearly confused and would be put under unnecessary stress having to sit around for hours in that kind of environment.

Sorry vent over but honestly!


Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
I've got a couple of sample pots to use if I suspect my dad's got a UTI. I just take the sample to the reception & they ring me after they've tested it.


Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
I am sorry to say that our gp was exactly the same. However, GPs surgeries are supposed to keep a carers register - ask them if they have one and if they do what help they give carers who are on their register - some surgeries give carers some priorities. It is worth asking
MEANWHILE - we just insisted on an emergency appt every time although it sounds as though you have tried that. All else fails call 111 and tell them the situation - someone told me the other day how helpful 111 are in difficult situations.

I really feel for you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Volunteer Moderator
May 9, 2012
south-east London
I've got a couple of sample pots to use if I suspect my dad's got a UTI. I just take the sample to the reception & they ring me after they've tested it.
Yes, I have sample pots too but have never been told I can just drop them off. I've always had to talk to the GP over the phone first who then asks me to bring a sample in - having left the necessary paperwork at reception for me to pick up and place in the bag with it. I'll see if I can ask about that tomorrow.

fizzle, I didn't know about the Carer's register. I'll see if I can get that one in tomorrow too. I might be pushing the limit though as they have taken to shoving bits of paper at patients when they arrive for their appointments, telling us we can only cover one thing during our consultation - which will have to be my husband tomorrow!

I might risk asking about it and hope I don't get ejected from the surgery :)


Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
I will be thinking about you.......perhaps ask after the appointment x

This is on one of the websites about the carers register
If your GP has got their act together they will ensure that, as a carer, you receive a regular health check and, if necessary, a flu jab. If they know you are a carer, some GPs offer special flexibility with appointments, or are more willing to make home visits. Carers are usually busy and sometimes dont find time for their own health. A good GP who understands carers can be a gateway to getting all kinds of help, such as counselling, other medical services, and referrals to your local Social Services.


Registered User
Mar 13, 2014
Lynne, I have also been able to take a wee sample in to be tested if I suspected my husband had an infection, it only takes them a minute to test it. I had to call the paramedics when my husband was at home with a UTI as he lost mobility and had got himself half in half out of bed and I thought he would end up on the floor. I didn't want him to go to hospital so they called the out of hours doctor who duly came, he did decide that B ought to go to hospital but I was able to take him so less stressful. UTIs are such horrible things and wreak havoc physically and mentally. I hope you get someone to see your husband today. xxxxx

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Registered User
Jan 16, 2014
That sort of extra stress Lynne is just what we don't need. I would be feeling as you do. It's the lack of understanding and compassion that is so unacceptable.
I registered with our surgery as a carer. There were leaflets lying about and I filled one in in the waiting room.
Our surgery also has feedback forms in it and your experience would be worth recording for them if there is an opportunity.
It's tiring, wearing and upsetting but we do have to keep on trying to educate people about the needs of patients and their carers. Good luck x

Sent from my iPad using Talking Point


Registered User
Oct 21, 2015
Maldon, Essex
If I stood in the road I could see our doctors surgery from our home, its that near. They are aware we have a 99 year old dementia sufferer living with us and they are aware that a paramedic sat with him while I took a urine sample to be tested, yet, they rang me to say he did have an infection and antibiotics had been left in reception for him. I reminded them that I was unable to leave him to 'pop over' to collect and they informed me they did not have a delivery service but could post them to me. So, they were willing to literally walk past the end of my road to the post box but couldnt drop them off to the second bungalow in the road which is far nearer than the post office. I had explained that FIL was walking around totally spaced out and unaware of his actions and they are aware someone has to support him when he is on his feet so how could I leave him to pop over the road.

We are new carers and although we both talked about the impact this would have on our lives we are determind to keep this lovely little person safe, happy and out of a nursing home for as long as possible, however, within weeks it has become clear that the help and support available to us is limited and reading this forum it is clear there are thousands of others in the same position. For a start the benefit department needs to walk a week in our shoes, we have just been able to get the full AA for him but that doesnt pay for one nights sitter. I would also like to see a night time forum open, its a lonely place in the early hours and having someone to chat to would help to pass the time. Good luck everyone, your doing a great job against all the odds.


Volunteer Moderator
May 9, 2012
south-east London
Thanks all. I managed to speak to the doctor on the phone this morning and I was able to pick up the antibiotics from my chosen pharmacy within 30 mins, which is great.

The Dr said they had new reception staff who were making mistakes and there would be a meeting with them to iron the problems out.

I also took the opportunity to mention that when my son had attended the surgery for an appointment recently, several letters from the Memory Clinic advising on care plans for my husband had been filed in my son's medical notes instead (they have the same name but different middle names and obviously different dates of birth). With that in mind, it is no wonder that my husband was overlooked for his 6 month assessment with the GP earlier this year and it was making it impossible to co-ordinate joined up care between the GP and Memory Clinic.

I pointed out that in the last correspondence from the Memory Clinic it had been advised that my husband be placed on a continued low dose of antibiotics due to the recurring UTIs.

The Dr was apologetic about the mix up over medical notes. He said it has happened to several patients now and there was no excuse for it. There has already been a meeting with the receptionists about the serious matter and he and the other GPs will be reviewing the situation urgently

Fortunately the Dr said he was happy to prescribe the low dose of antibiotics to continue after my husband has finished his current high dose course - so hopefully that will all work out ok. The low dose antibiotics hadn't been added to his repeat prescription when I checked with the pharmacy this morning, but I'll check again in a few days.

I didn't get as far as talking about the carer's register but I have an appointment of my own next week and will see if I can find out more about it while I am there.

I'm feeling a bit more in control of things again now. Sorry I ranted last night, I just felt so stressed at not being able to get the medication and advice needed at the time

All good now though. I have the day off, so time to relax for a bit!


Registered User
Aug 25, 2015
South coast of England
Rant away, that's what TP is here for! Far safer to rant here than lose your rag with someone else.

I'm sorry that your life has been made more difficult by the very people who are supposed to help and am glad that you seem to have had a satisfactory resolution to your immediate problem.


Registered User
Apr 30, 2013
Don't apologise for ranting - you have every reason to. The level of competence, at places, in general, is poor, but for such errors to happen at a GP's surgery is appalling. :mad:

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