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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Over the last few months I've found it increasingly impossible to get anyone to answer the phone at Bridge House medical practice. I've spent the last 3 days calling at all times of the day to try and get someone to pick up, but to no avail, and sometimes I can be on hold for 30+ minutes!

I'm desperately trying to find out the status of a prescription that was sent through to them but along with no-one answering the phone, it seems that no-one is reading emails either, and with them not accepting anyone into the practice without an appointment I'm at a loss about how to get my medication!

Am I the only one that this is happening to? 

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I don't know whether I should be glad it's not just me having these problems or not! I'll definitely be contacting the Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group after my phone appointment with the pharmacist at the surgery tomorrow. I do feel a lot more confident about complaining about it though, so thank you to everyone who replied!

The issue is that I don't know if I have had a prescription dispensed or not, so I can't go through my usual chemist (I'm with Phlo, who are online, and deliver my meds by courier usually on the same day I get them authorised by the surgery - which is another matter entirely....)

We have been with this practice in its various forms for 30 years . . . they have refused a face to face consultation to my other half for 6 weeks and have confirmed they are not doing any face to face appointments.  This seems to be in contradiction to NHS guidelines. 


It seems we are now in complaints territory.

Front line health workers, shop staff, transport workers etc have put themselves out to keep us all going. Sadly, some GPs and surgeries (nationally) have taken the option to disappear, or give a scant service as possible when often these are the people we need most and have a moral obligation to work through such a crisis. When this is all over I'd like to say that such surgeries are investigated, but it won't happen as any such action would be seen as an attack on the NHS.

So is this widespread? GPs are still refusing to actually see people? This seems medically incredible -for 6 months?!

I'm going by what is being reported in the broadsheets (Letters), the main complaint seems to be GP 'telephone consultations only' which are completely useless as the GP can't do a physical assessment, one even claimed he had no PPE which was almost certainly a fabrication. I'd suggest that GPs are at no more risk than any other public-facing worker but their status allows a few bad ones to abuse the system, on full NHS pay of course. I wonder if army medics run for the hills at the first sound of gunfire?.

It's the same at our practice. Everything is done over the phone. 

Xavier - I couldn't agree more.  GP Surgeries have been urged by the NHS to resume face-to-face consultations.  Patients need to be seen.  There are times - often times - when a photo isn't enough to make a diagnosis.  We are talking about our lifeline.  Where are they?

I should add that I live in Yorkshire but the situation is similar.  Ringing the surgery for any reason results in long draw-out Covid instructions that have been heard ad nauseam and we all know by heart.  Basically, they say go away, we can't help you.  To be fair, my telephone call was only 21 in the queue and with only a half-hour holding on I did manage to get an appointment for a flu jab.

I don't know who is in charge there now. Dr Haas used to be the senior physician there and at least had a social conscience, but I suspect she has retired now. She always used to tell me how they couldn't afford to employ the best qualified people. I did get an unsolicited telephone consultation from a doctor quite recently, I suspect because my blood pressure medication had flagged up on his computer for a check. Recently I got an offer of a flu jab, but that was from my chemist who deals with my repeat prescriptions.

I think Dr Haas retired last year. We were sorry to see her go. We have not needed any kind of appointment since the pandemic started. My wife and I are both on a number of repeat medications. We apply for repeat prescriptions via the website PatientAccess, the GP approves it, and the prescription is sent electronically to our nearest pharmacist, Green Light Pharmacy (used to be DP Mark), where we can collect the medication. It usually takes a couple of working days for the GP to give approval for the prescriptions. As for flu vaccination, we have previously got that done at the surgery, but can now get it (free because of our age) at Green Light; I think they will have the flu shots in the next couple of weeks. We've been with Bridge House for almost 25 years, and, in general have found them very good and thorough. However, not having needed to contact them directly since the pandemic began, I don't know if they are having particular problems, but it certainly looks that way from comments above.

I am with Havergal Surgery and have never experienced a telephone answering problem.  I don't say they are perfect but, compared to what you describe, they are heavenly.  Prescribed pills I get at Stearns pharmacy where the staff are quick and efficient.  As for flu vaccine both Stearns and Havergal contacted me early this week on their own initiative offering jabs.  I went to the practice by appointment on Tuesday afternoon and had both flu and pneumonia jabs done.

Nope not just you! Have had a multitude of lost prescriptions and it’s impossible to get through. Think it’s about tome the regulators stepped in to sort them out!

My experience entirely reflects others’. Repeat prescriptions via Patient Access now work OK (though it was a real pig to set up) but getting through by phone recently has been a complete nightmare and phone consultation incredibly inconvenient, with to-and-fro links to send photos and very poor audio making it really hard to have a conversation. I’ve also been with the practice for 30 years and like the GPs, but their previous patient-hostile appointments system has got infinitely worse in lockdown; there has to be a limit to how long one can tolerate a practice that can’t get the necessary basic systems right.

I sometimes wonder if any of the GPs read HoL — after all, this is far from the first time this surgery has been criticised here — but don’t know if any live locally. If any of them do, this would be a good place to explain what’s going on!



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