GP access

Just wondering if anybody has any experience of the dreaded electronic triage system that GP services seem to be introducing?

I’ve had a brief message from my GP surgery saying that from now on, requests for same day appointments will require patients to fill in an online form and submit it electronically to be assessed for the most suitable course of action before the outcome is ‘communicated’ to the patient.

Ignoring all of my other misgivings about such systems, I cannot see how I will ever get an appointment moving forwards for the fairly obvious reason that filling in an online form is no easy task with shaky hands and is sometimes pretty much impossible. By the time I fill the form in the increasingly small number of appointments that my surgery offers will most definitely be taken.

I live alone so getting somebody else to fill the form in for me is not a possibility and I wouldn’t want to do this anyway because my health information is private and I don’t see why I should have share it due to a digitalisation agenda that seems to be totally ignoring anybody who cannot access services in this way.

Although the implication in the message is that it is possible to book an appointment that is not a same day appointment, this is not actually the case. In reality patients are encouraged not to book appointments at all and irrespective of what the website says there is no longer any such thing as a face-to-face appointment but now it seems that I will not even be able to access a cursory and often dismissive telephone consultation.

I have contacted the surgery about this and I’m waiting for a response but in the meantime I’m just curious as to how others manage such systems?


Good morning jackson … Sorry to hear you are having difficulties. You have done the right thing in contacting your GP’s … telling them your difficulty in filling out an online form & wanting face to face access to a GP. However playing devil’s advocate you have had no problem in communicating with us. Your post is well written, well argued & thought provoking. No spelling mistakes & excellent grammar. You are clearly an educated person.

I suppose you have a number of options …

Pay to see a GP privately or do as your surgery wants or change your GP.

I too have Parkinson’s & I live alone & strangely one of my GP’s is phoning me today.
I have written down all my questions & prepared for the phone call.

May I ask if you really need to see the GP? Is it longing for the ways things once were when one could simply pop into the GP’s for a chat?

My opinion is that there is very little our GP’s can do for us other than facilitate the referrals we need. Do you have a Parkinson’s nurse to talk to? Why not phone the hotline here at Parkinson’s UK?

There are way too many patients for an under funded NHS system & something has to give. As individuals we have to adapt to the system & make the most of it.

Last week my GP referred me to Citizens Advice & I had a long chat with them.

A lot of my problems are not medical ones, mobility being my main issue. I can’t
bloody walk far & finances are tight.

But we have to make the most of what we have & adapt to the modern World
& take the help that is available.

I have recently spoked to Parkinson’s UK, Age UK, Citizens advice, a heating charity
[I don’t have my heat on] & a tax charity. All have been very helpful.

Best of luck.
Do let us know how things go for you.

1 Like

Thank you for your reply. It’s both interesting and thought provoking. I totally agree with you that we need to think carefully about how we use services and take responsibility for ourselves wherever we possibly can. We also need to adapt to changes but surely a level of service still has to remain.

I will be met with the same comment by my GP surgery regarding my ability to communicate with them by email about struggling to use tech - and I will once again patiently explain that I can engage with technology quite effectively at certain times of the day whilst at other times of the day I could start world war three with a smartphone.
In addition, sometimes it is not about what I can do but how long it is going to take me to do it.

The issue I have raised with them is not that I cannot fill the form in online, but that I may not be able to fill it in when I need to and even if I can I may not be able to fill it in quickly enough to get an appointment.

I don’t need an appointment today, I’m just trying to make sure that I understand the system and am able to get an appointment when I do. If I get ill and need support and then have to battle the system I have no hope at all because my tremor is likely to go off the scale and then I’m scuppered :woozy_face:.

Thanks again for your reply. Much appreciated and very thought-provoking. Jx

1 Like

I would add that I too am very frustrated with the system. I have also just been diagnosed with distal sensory axonal large fibre neuropathy & have had blood tests to see if it can be reversed or treated.

Ho hum

Hi Jackson,

“I live alone so getting somebody else to fill the form in for me is not a possibility and I wouldn’t want to do this anyway because my health information is private and I don’t see why I should have share…”

Firstly, forgive me, but I’m going to be honest about this, you are not thinking this through and it is not something you should hide from those near to you, that is simply wrong and unacceptable.
So what if someone you know and trust, knows!
If they love you and care for you, and others are good friends, they will support you and be there for you. If you tell them not to tell anyone else I have no doubt they will not.
You make out, as if you have done something wrong.
Of course you haven’t.
You have this disgusting disease as do all of us.
It is not a matter of right or wrong that you have PD, you have it,
When I was first diagnosed, I went through all the standard emotions,
Obviously the first is shock and “why me lord?”, I then realized that as valid a question is “why not me.”!
At first, I kept it to myself for a week or so, then started telling my loved ones, and about a month later my good friends.
Each and every one I told not to tell anyone, I would when I was ready.
They all abided by my wishes.
Think about this.
How would you feel if someone close to you had been diagnosed and didn’t tell you, so you could be there for them.?

Good afternoon CliveV … I’m more in jackson’s camp on this one. I think how we deal with Parkinson’s as individuals from a physical & phycological point of view is very much a personal thing.

I do believe there is a lot of ignorance about Parkinson’s. I also think a lot of Parkinson’s sufferers are on their own [like us] for all sort of reasons. Probably because we are happier that way. I do think non-sufferers are aware of us & often look at us differently. I did hear two men talking about me behind my back & I did feel uncomfortable.

My only time away from the 4 walls of my one bedroom flat is spent at my indoor bowls club, playing bowls. This is incredibly difficult for me to do. Standing still & bowling a bowl is my Parkinson’s Kryptonite. When I stand still for too long [maybe a minute or so] I freeze & can’t move. Once I get to this point it’s game over as it is usually at least 24 hours before I can once again move freely enough to play.

So I made the decision to tell everyone & I am pleased I did. It also led to a number of younger people [men] talking to me about Parkinson’s. But it’s a personal choice.

On one of the early days [after I ended up in hospital] there were a few people that said I was playing too much & that I should play less as I was over doing it. Now after 4 months playing my usual groups know that sometimes I have to stop playing & are happy with that.

I played bowls today & had a very bad game, a few commented that I wasn’t my usual self. A sort of compliment as it was intimating that I was usually a good bowler, but wasn’t today.

But I do enjoy it & it gets me out seeing people.

I think it would have been more awkward if I hadn’t told people.

Best wishes

Thank you so much for replying. It is genuinely interesting to hear others’ views.

I probably wasn’t clear but I don’t hide my Parkinson’s, my friends and siblings are all very aware of it.

I wasn’t thinking about requesting a GP appointment to discuss Parkinson’s related issues, I was thinking about other health issues that I wouldn’t necessarily want to involve other people in. My friends would think it very strange if I wanted to attend their GP appointments with them and I would feel the same.

I might have a personal issue relating to gynaecological problems or a mental health issue or anything really and while I would generally tell friends the headlines, there are some things that are personal and I would prefer not to have to explain the details of such issues with friends. Whether or not it makes sense to others, I believe that I have the right to have the same access to privacy over certain personal issues that my friends have. I don’t want to be pushed into having to involve friends in things I don’t wish them to be involved with because I have Parkinson’s. I don’t hide from it but neither do I want it to define me.

On a logistical level, many of my friends still work so getting them to be in my flat at 8:00 in the morning when I would need to be filling this form in would be a challenge anyway.

Hope my post makes more sense now.

Thank you again for taking the time to reply.

I have read Jackson’s post and the various replies with interest, each makes valid points and we each have to make decisions about how we handle the many issues that come our way when living with Parkinson’s.

For me however it is another example of how technology is increasingly being adopted by a wide range of companies and organisations which give little thought to the wider impact it may have. It’s not so much a question of whether or not Jackson can or cannot use the technology, or whether or not Jackson should or shouldn’t ask for help etc etc. If the issue creates problems for Jackson then they are legitimate concerns and need to be treated as such even if others think there are solutions and see things differently.

When I read Jackson’s post however it simply confirmed a growing trend that seems unstoppable and I think should be a cause of concern which I actually ended up taking to my MP in a (unsuccessful to date) attempt to find out the government’s position on this general issue. The debate was started when a large company took over a local garden centre to which my elderly friend is a regular customer. She was not able to get a loyalty card because she doesn’t have and doesn’t want the internet. When I contacted them to ask how my friend may get a card I was told that in their terms and conditions they have stated that those without internet access can use the email address of a friend or relative to access their offers. In effect by allowing this they have met their legal obligations. This means if she uses my address, I get the offers posted to me, have to pass them to her and action any she wishes to take up. It does not give her her own card even though quite capable of completing an application form and receiving offers by post for example. It also takes no account of those who for whatever reason cannot or choose not to access this sort of digital stealth when all the company has to say is that they have covered their legal obligations by their written terms and conditions.

This may seem trite and I have no wish to detract from the post and issues raised by Jackson and indeed it is a source of concern to me that health services are also jumping on the digital bandwagon; however it does feel like this is a juggernaut that is being driven by companies and organisations and who are at liberty to take little notice of the concerns of their clients, customers or indeed it would seem, patients. I will be most interested to know how your surgery respond Jackson

1 Like

Hi Jackson,

OK, now that you have explained it more thoroughly, I do totally understand your standpoint.
That makes total sense.

1 Like

Hi Jackson,
have a look at for help with your computer usage problems.


Thanks again for the responses. It’s really great that people take the time to share experiences and thoughts.
I’ll have another look at ability net, I used to make regular use of the website but haven’t checked back for a while and they may well have something new.
I haven’t heard back from the surgery yet but a friend in the same position has been told by her surgery that of course staff will complete the form for anybody who is unable to do it themselves, for whatever reason.
Who knows how this will work in practise -and will there be so many people wanting the form to be filled in for them that this will negate any benefits of the system ? - but I’m hopeful that my GP practise will also do the same. I guess for both staff and patients it’s going to be a case of try it and see :crossed_fingers:

Hi Jackson
Your surgery must have considered patients who can only access the appointment system via telephone. This has nothing t o do with grammar education etc .
Sorry I find that quite an insulting opinion.
The practical issue is having enough shaking etc to make it impossible to use a keyboard even if you have a key board at all.
It is upto the individual who they tell and when about their Parkinsons
And also any other medical problems they have.
What happens to those who do not have any online access at all or ‘and want privacy over their health
I have had a good education but struggle with keyboard and find mobile phones nearly impossible. This post I’ve done in word first