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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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For the last six years I have been registered with Havergal surgery which is on Green Lanes about 200 yards south of Turnpike Lane tube station.  I have never had the slightest difficulty in contacting them or or getting an appointment (now mostly by telephone).  They have made increasing use of IT and are assiduous at telling me (by text message) when some new test or vaccination is due or when a test result has arrived and that I should make an appointment to discuss it with a doctor. The practice has two permanent partners and several other doctors in addition.

It is quite clear from this experience, that of my partner who is registered with Queenswood practice in Park Road, and the stories recorded here on HoL, that there are big differences in the way that individual practices conduct themselves.  It seems that the NHS affords GP's considerable scope to choose for themselves.

I would say that here in London, where there seems to be no shortage of GPs, one should look carefully before deciding where to register.  The length of the walk from your door is not likely to be the sole determining factor.  When my previous GP retired, I first researched, then called the Havergal practice manager and asked to meet a doctor to discuss my situation and only then decided to register.  This was arranged within a week and I had an entirely satisfactory discussion with Dr Michael Vermeulen, a Belgian locum (who is still on the team).

I should add that my relationship with the singleton GP who retired was perfectly satisfactory from my point of view although I could see from ratings left by patients on the NHS web site that some people found him really poor.  I noticed that some comments were made by young mothers and I felt that some such remarks could have arisen because of cultural differences.  He was from Pakistan with both English to match and a somewhat old fashioned GP manner.  I suspect that the complainants may have hailed from central Europe and that language problems were part of the problem.  I am also aware (from a former wife) that some countries (hers was Bulgaria) really didn't grasp the concept of a family GP as an intermediary with more specialist services. This made her extremely impatient with GPs who seemed to be merely an obstacle to finding to the person she wanted.

To summarise, look at ratings but remember they can be misleading.  Look also for a multinational team of staff because, in Harringay, we have a tremendously cosmopolitan population and you don't want a practice that can't cope with the novelties and nuances of dealing with a wide range of nationalities.  That can really take up a receptionist's time.

Its too much to ask for an English, Scottish, Welah or Irish GP but I would be haopy with a European or antipodean GP. Not because they're white but because I can have confidence in their training and that we will have a reasonable chance of understanding each other both in terms of language and  cultural assumptions. 

Indian GPs are the exception, especially if they grew up and had their training here. They're pretty good.

Bridge House had an excellent Belgian (woman) locum a couple of years ago and my experience of the other GPs has generally been positive. As I said way back in this thread, in 2020, it’s the appalling admin that drives me crazy.

i totally agree with you Paul. It's so frustrating. Yes the NHS is under pressure but it has been for a while and the situation is only getting worse. I just pray I don't need to make a doctors appointment because the stress of trying to get one in a reasonable timeframe only makes you feel worse. I left the Bridge House surgery years ago because it was so awful - and continues to be from everything I hear now - and am with a practice in Crouch End. But I think all London practices are stretched.
I agree Ruth. I feel like we're made to feel like we're hassling them even though I hardly ever go to see the doctor because I find the process so stressful. It's made as difficult as possible to see someone unless you are practically at death's door



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