Dear Department of Health,
Why in 2017 do I and other ill, disabled, sick and elderly individuals have to queue at 8.00 o’clock in the morning outside the doctor’s surgery in order to get an appointment to see a doctor.

Being a rural area many have to travel some distance to do so and if when they do get an appointment it could be some hours later, meaning a double journey or having to sit around town waiting.

There’s a perfectly good on line system that if you are quick enough about 4 am in the dark hours, you may get the normally only one appointment available.

Telephone calls are ignored until the queue outside has been dealt with by which time there are never any appointments available.

Winter is fast approaching and the stress and discomfort caused by having to queue outside with no seats available for over half an hour is beyond many.

My surgery is in Harleston, Norfolk but I understand that this is the practice in many other surgeries, in this day and age with all the technology at our disposal…WHY?

I am not blaming the doctors who do a fabulous job, however the system is totally wrong and should be confined to the dark ages.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Lowery

Do Not Reply, Department of Health and Social Care

Our ref: DE-1104841


Dear Mr Lowery,
Thank you for your correspondence of 1 November about GP appointments.  I
have been asked to reply.

I was sorry to read of your difficulties in making appointments to see
doctors at your local practice.

I also note your request to have your email treated as a Freedom of
Information (FOI) request.  I should explain, the FOI Act only applies to
recorded information such as paper or electronic archive material.  As
your correspondence asks for general information, rather than requesting
recorded information or documentation, it does not fall under the
provisions of the Act.


As self-employed contractors to the NHS to provide primary medical
services, it is largely up to GP practices how they run their surgeries. 
The contractual arrangements do not place any specific obligation on GP
practices to allow patients to book appointments within or beyond any
specific time period.  However, GP practices have a contractual duty to
meet the reasonable needs of their registered patients with regard to
appointments.  Where they have the systems to enable them to do so,
practices are required to offer their registered patients the facility to
book, view, amend and cancel appointments online. 


Primary care services are commissioned by NHS England.  If you wish to
make a formal complaint about services provided by your GP practice, you
can write to the practice manager or to NHS England at the following


NHS England

PO Box 16738

Redditch B97 9PT


Tel: 0300 311 22 33

Email: [1][email address]


I am sorry I cannot be more directly helpful.

Yours sincerely,
Tracy Sutton
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health



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tony lowery left an annotation ()

According to response this is not FOI request however they have clarified some points in particular Doctors surgeries can please themselves how to provide patients with appointments. Suggested I write to NHS.
I think it will be better if I write to my MP.

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