Patients at one of the biggest GP practices in Kirklees are struggling to get appointments.
Mirfield Health Centre, which has more than 17,000 patients, insists that appointments must only be booked at specific times.
But patients have turned to the internet and social media to complain that phone lines are continually jammed and all appointments can be snapped up in as little as six minutes.
The health centre in Doctor Lane, Mirfield, asks patients to ring between 8.30am and 9am for morning appointments and after 9am for afternoon slots.
But patients find the lines repeatedly engaged – and when they do get through all the appointments have gone.
Patients have voiced their concerns on the NHS Choices website and the Mirfield Matters group on Facebook, some saying they were considering moving to another practice in Ravensthorpe.
One man wrote on Mirfield Matters: “You ring up before 9am and you can’t get through. If you are lucky and you do get through they say ring back after 9am.
“You try again every three seconds until you finally get though at 9.30am only to be told they are fully booked for the morning, call back at 1pm.
“You call back at exactly 1pm and its engaged. By the time you get through they tell you the same story.”
A woman posted: “What can seriously be done about Mirfield Health Centre? You phone for a appointment by 9.30am you are told there are no appointments left!
“Been engaged for half an hour. I appreciate it’s not the receptionist’s fault but why are there so (few) doctors for so many people?
“I complained a while ago and was told that Mirfield Health Centre has the right amount of doctors for the amount of people so why isn’t there (enough) appointments?”
Another wrote: “It’s a disgrace and too stressful having to ring and book. Truly considering the move to Ravensthorpe as are my neighbours. Very sad we are being pushed into this decision.”
Another patient said: “I had trouble last week getting an appointment for my son. Ended up going down to the surgery to wait the next morning to be given one face to face on the advice of the lovely receptionist.
“I have never known it like this down there but I have heard so many complaints building up over the last four months.”
Another added: “They need to be looking at the size of their patient list and work with what they’ve got.”
According to the 2011 census Mirfield has a population of 19,330. There are plans for several new housing developments in the town which could boost the population still further.
Another patient said: “More houses to completely send our infrastructure over the edge and a doctors where you have four minutes on the phone to get an appointment or you’ve had it. We’re in a bit of a sorry state at the moment.”
Someone responded: “It’s bound to only get worse as well if all these planning applications get passed for an extra 300 houses. Two adults and two kids in each new house. Another 1,200-plus new Mirfield folk?”
The problem of getting an appointment was also highlighted in a report from the practice’s latest inspection by the Care Quality Commission.
Comments included: “It’s a lottery getting through on the telephone.”
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