Berm-Bandit - you are clearly frustrated, and I'm actually willing to be your punchbag for the remainder of this thread, but yo should also understand the difficulties faced by the other side (i.e. the practice's side).
Yes, the system IS in trouble, but in part that's due to a multitude of factors:
Patient expectation - everyone can google their symptoms and come up with something terrible, so they MUST be seen ASAP. However, the fact is the vast majority of conditions seen in primary care are self limiting - they usually get better by themselves, though you'll feel a bit 'iffy' whilst it heals. The demand to be seen ASAP for simple conditions really fills up lots of slots... "I can see your well child does have a temperature, but they've only had it for 6 hours, haven't had any calpol, and are running around like a wild thing. I don't know what's wrong, but chances are it isn't serious, but it's too soon to tell" may as well be tattooed on my forehead....
Ageing population- if everyone died by the time they hit 60, we'd have a lot less chronic disease management requirements. Chronic diseases are time consuming and tough.
I'm not saying everyone should be culled at 60, I'm just saying how it is...
Appointments systems are flawed and I'm not sure what the answer is TBH.
In response to your comment:
If anyone ever asks me again "is it an emergency?" I'll **** scream "no you halfwit, if it were I would have dialled 999 and have been half way to A & E by the time you answered this **** phone.
I'm sure what they really mean is "do you need to be see urgently".
If it's to discuss sexual dysfunction/pill check/8 months of niggling headaches - that can wait can't it.
If it's because you've been vomiting blood, or have severe ear pain, then that should be seen that day.
Then it comes to the concept of "waiting" - and I agree that's an issue I can't put my finger on....
Most 'pre-bookable' appointments fill up very early, so when I wanted to see my GP about migraines I felt daft taking an appointment [/b]that day[b], but there was no other option. I could have waited 7 days. I could have waited 10 days. As long as I knew I was due to see them, that would have been fine. But I couldn't, so went that day. Daft.
This then makes every appointment 'same day', and of course then it returns back to the 'first come first served' principle, which again is flawed - as you demonstrate in yor difficulty getting an appointment.
In summary, to fix the system, we need:
-plenty of same day appointments for those needing to be seen that day.
-Those who have booked same day appointments (see the OP) to turn up.
-Plenty of pre bookable appointments, that only become 'open' after 10am, 2 weeks in advance. This means you don't even need to ring in at 0830, as if you're happy being seen in 2 weeks, ring in later in the day.
-Those who book pre-bookable appointments must also turn up.
Not that hard, but you try getting patients and staff to respect the idea, and acknowledge that they must hold some responsibility for looking after themselves, checking their meds aren't 'urgent' because they let them run out, and make sure they aren't talking on their phone when they go through checkouts.....