We understand that when the Doctor runs late it can be very frustrating and inconvenient for you and we wanted to try to explain some of the reasons why this happens sometimes.
Why do Doctors sometimes run late?
There is no one single answer to why this happens. There can be lots of things that combine to make us run late and are rarely able to tell you why as we need to maintain the confidentiality of all our patients.
- Patients are booked at 10 minute intervals.
- This time includes discussing patient symptoms, possible solutions which may or may not include medication, checking past medical history and recording the consultation in your records. So you can see how easy it is to fall behind schedule as the appointment session goes on.
Below are a few of the more common reasons for doctors running late.
- Complexity or patients in distress
People come to the GPs for lots of different reasons and this can range from a simple problem which can be comfortably dealt with in 7-8 minutes or a much more complex issue such as has been diagnosed with cancer or serious illness, the loss of a loved one, or feeling that they can’t cope anymore to the extent they are contemplating taking their own life. These are all common occurrences.
- 2. Multiple problems
Some people come with a number of problems, or remember another problem halfway through the consultation which can make it difficult to keep to time. Please be realistic about which problems can be dealt with during the 10 minute appointment time.
- 3. Admissions to hospital
When someone is very unwell they may need admitting to a local hospital and the GP may have to do that there and then. This will involve the GP talking to the team at the hospital which can take some time and may require emergency treatment by the GP at the practice, before they are transferred to hospital.
- 4. Interruptions from other Health Care Providers
GPs are part of a larger health care team and are often contacted by A&E departments, hospital doctors, laboratories, midwives, health visitors, social services etc.
We try to arrange these conversations after booked surgeries, but in emergency/ urgent situations this cannot wait and so your GP may be dealing with one of these teams whilst you’re in the waiting room.