Why do doctors always arrive late in their clinics?

Philippines
April 19, 2012 3:09am CST
One thing that really discourages me in having regular visits with my doctor is their habit of arriving at least an hour late. They would post a particular schedule, but they won't be in until after an hour or so. What if there patients were in pain and they have to wait that long to be seen by their doctors. Is there a logical reason behind that? I think its common to most physicians. One time, I had an appointment with my doctor at 10AM, and I arrived 10:30, because Im sure she won't be in on time. I was on my way to the doctor's clinic and saw her lounging at the coffee shop with her IPad. And, when I arrived at the clinic, there were already 4 other patients waiting.
4 people like this
25 responses
@naija4real (1293)
20 Apr 12
In Nigeria, where I am currently living, it is the hospital that are owned by the government that experience lateness of doctors. This is because they still think they will have their salaries paid even though they are latecomer. Their conduct are poorly supervised and these doctors even run their own private consultancy or clinics in the nearby street in which they selfishly even refer their own patients that visit them in government hospital to meet them at their own clinics. But in the privately owned hospital the doctors are very punctual because they think they can not afford to play with this golden opportunity to make money. They do all they can to please the patients. Conclusively, it is only in government owned hospital in Nigeria that these lateness of medical personnels that is the doctor in particular is quite common. The government doctors like I mentioned earlier often refer their patient to their own private clinic by telling them that they should go there for blood test,x-ray, which could have been done in the government hospital if the facilities where well maintained.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
20 Apr 12
Good observation, you have there. Sadly, here in our country, even private doctors still come in late. If they won't follow their own schedules, the least they could do, is to inform their patients to come at a particular time, so we won't have to wait too long.
@megamatt (14333)
• United States
23 Apr 12
Yeah that does seem to be a rather frustrating quality with doctors a lot of the time. Especially if you are like the third appointment of the day, they were already late and the two appointments they had might have run a bit longer than usual. I think the service at the doctor's office is the reason why many people don't really go. They don't have time to be sitting around for hours and hours of the day. And obviously the bill, cannot forget about that. But there are times where if you have a 11:00 AM appointment for instance, the doctor won't see you until well after noon. That happened to my grandmother recently. There are some not so competent people coordinating this, which is a real problem in many offices around the nation as well.
1 person likes this
@andy77e (5170)
• United States
21 Apr 12
I have a question. So when the doctor does arrive, and she talks to you, and you are done... Who pays the doctor? Do you pay the cost of seeing the doctor? How does the system work?
• Philippines
21 Apr 12
For private doctors, patients pay them for every visit. And, the going rate right now here in the Philippines is from 300-500 pesos ($8-$12). Probably even higher for surgeons and the like. For doctors in publich or government hospitals, patients don't pay any consultation fee. They're paid for by the government.
@andy77e (5170)
• United States
21 Apr 12
And which one of the two, is the doctor which is subject of your post?
• Philippines
2 May 12
I always go to a private doctor, and we its covered in our medical insurance.
@almond24 (1251)
• Hungary
19 Apr 12
I'm afraid this is how they try to spend less time with each patient, telling that they have to be in a hurry because so many patient are waiting It's quite common and understandable if a doctor comes from the hospital after helping in emergency. Or if the doctor has kids and has to drop them at school first But in the rest of the cases I don't know, I think it's better for them if they don't have to wait for the patients. Although the dentist I'm going to see tomorrow is always there half an hour earlier, so not all doctors are like that.
• India
19 Apr 12
Hello friend, I am also afraid about this matter. You are right. I also agree with you. Have a nice day.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
20 Apr 12
They could always end the conversation easily, if there's really nothing more to talk about. I don't think many patients would also want to stay too long talking to their doctors. That's just really bad practice.
@ryanong (9697)
• Vietnam
20 Apr 12
well. Not all doctors like that but the truth is many doctors are not "real doctors" anymore, they really don't care much to patients as previous time. They just care themselves and think that patients always need them...it is very sad.
1 person likes this
@Cherish14 (2695)
• Philippines
19 Apr 12
yeah i know, they are always late but i can understand that because they do their rounds to at the hospitals and also there are emergencies that they need to go to. whenever i go to have a check up, i always have to make sure i don't have to go to other places too at that same day because i know it is going to be a long day.
• Philippines
20 Apr 12
Yeah, a 10-minute appointment with the doctor will really cost you a whole day. I block off 3-4 hours just for that.
@Cherish14 (2695)
• Philippines
20 Apr 12
there are times i get tired of waiting too but then since i am there already, i just stay there and wait and be more patient
• Philippines
2 May 12
Same here. There's really nothing much we can do but wait - and frown. lol
@derek_a (10903)
20 Apr 12
Yes, this is absolutely true about doctors' at hospitals here in the UK. If I have a hospital appointment, I can be sure that it would be a full morning or afternoon of just sitting around waiting for an appointment that may last 10 to 15 minutes. I tend not to bother these days even going to the doctor unless I feel that there is something seriously wrong, in which case my wife would insist I went.. I guess it's not the wisest of things to do.. But that's me I guess! _Derek
• Philippines
21 Apr 12
Really? in UK? I thought this is only a common phenomenon in 3rd world countries. So, I guess its really in the type of profession.
1 person likes this
@derek_a (10903)
21 Apr 12
It seems to be that there are some people who have hospital appointments and just don't arrive, so then there are appointmes made for different people at the same time. The doctor's are usually in their office working, but running behind time. I don't know whether I am seeing things right or not, but there seems to be more people seeking cures today than there used to be. Perhaps it is just medical science finding more things that can go wrong with us.. _Derek
• Philippines
22 Apr 12
That's a fun thought, derek. While that could be true, it's also quite obvious that the world today is not as pure and life-friendly as it was before. Here in our country, pollution is getting worse, and then there's climate change. I would even be amazed if I don't get sick every quarter.
@lekhya (819)
• India
19 Apr 12
I know the reason for their in-punctuality.. I have done a research on this issue earlier and found out these... First reason is that... They feel that patients should wait for them and they should not wait for the patients to come...this lowers his reputation/demand. if they come early or on time,the patient might think that the doctor has no other patients to ATTEND and he is completely dependent on us.... thirdly,the doctor feels that if he arrives late the patients eagerness to meet him also increases creating a sought of interest in the doctor... Next he might be having several other appointments,which he must also fulfill... He might be busy with operations,emergency cases and so on... I don't think we need to blame him becoz ultimately he is one who cures us and relieves us from all sufferings...
• Philippines
19 Apr 12
I can't believe the first 2 reasons are tolerable. They may have a reputation to maintain, but they would have more patients, if they come in on time and be there for the whole clinic hours as declared on their door tag. Won't it just make their reputation even better if they were known to be punctual, plus the skill they already have. Perhaps, 15 minutes or 30 minutes is acceptable, but more than an hour?
@lekhya (819)
• India
19 Apr 12
Yes,u are right if the doctor comes on time,then definitely his reputation builds up.I have mentioned them thinking these might be the reasons... If they are late by more than an hour then they might be having a strong reason..no doctor wants to loose his patients and put them in trouble... A doctor's popularity is spread by the word of mouth and he doesn't want to risk that at any cost...
@lekhya (819)
• India
20 Apr 12
Jure, thanks for the BR
21 Apr 12
It totally depends on what sort of clinic it is. For example, here in the UK, if it is a GP (general practitioner) appointment, it is usually because an appointment has run over into the next time slot, usually because it's a complex case. Many GPs also have to be on-call, so they can be called out at any time to an emergency and have to leave their clinic or be a little later to it. In hospitals for routine medical appointments, which we call 'outpatients', many of the consultants and registrars we see are too called out to medical emergencies, they are also called upon by the accident and emergency department too when they need backup or more specialised expertise. This can cause delays to a clinic. In addition to this, they sometimes have surgery lists on the same day as routine clinics so if a surgery runs over, the specialist can sometimes be late. It's frustrating - but there's usually a very good reason as to why there's a hold up. However, it's not unknown that bad management by the administration staff is a problem sometimes.
• Philippines
22 Apr 12
Hi there. Thanks for your thoughts. I do hope there's a good reason behind the delay. It's no joke for patients waiting for hours. I'm rather glad, this sort of hold up doesn't happen for inpatients, otherwise, that'd really be crazy.
22 Apr 12
No problem at all. Doctors are never late for the sake of being late, in the health system, time is money. You're right that it'd be crazy if inpatients had to wait - the chances are whilst you're waiting someone in a lot of need will be getting some help. I know it's stressful and irritating having to wait, after all you've got there for the time they've asked you to, but hindsight is a wonderful thing :)
@Mashnn (4503)
19 Apr 12
I totally agree with you. It seems as if most doctors have problem when it comes to time management. I guess most probably because they have so many patients to attend to and they find it hard to leave some unattended. The other reason would be because they have clinic in different areas or cites and they have to travel from one clinic to the other.
• Philippines
19 Apr 12
That would be acceptable. But its still part of time management. They should be able to gauge the right clinic hours for each area. The other unexpected case that I would say is understandable, is when they are attending to a patient confined in the hospital, or if they have an ongoing surgery or operation. Then, they really have to prioritize those, and advise the waiting patients of such activity so they won't be kept waiting for nothing. Its just simple courtesy.
@Mashnn (4503)
19 Apr 12
I totally agree with you. Time management is important not only to doctors but to everyone else but when it comes to doctors, sometimes it is very hard to keep with time due to emergency cases.
@KrauseHome (33879)
• United States
12 Jul 12
Personally, what we need to always remember are Doctors are human too, and many times they lead other lives besides being a Doctor. Now catching them lounging around on an IPad instead of seeing their patients might not be appropriate especially when you seen her, but it happens. There are many times I have gone in to see a Doctor somewhere and had to wait. It can be frustrating and has even caused me to be late from time to time. I just wish there was more of a prediction when it comes to seeing a Doctor and they could be a little more understanding with us from time to time as well. Especially when they are the ones making us wait.
• Philippines
13 Jul 12
Timely, that you responded to this topic. I just had my 6-week post partum check up with my doctor last Monday, and I was wondering why the clinic was so quiet. It was quite unusual for the clinic to be empty at that hour. She used to have a full house everytime I visit her. Then, she commented that there were actually 18 patients on the list to see her that day, and maybe they're coming in late because they got used to her not coming in on time. It was funny for her to admit that. But she said she had to fetch her daughters from school before she could come in for work in the clinic. Oh well!
@MsTickle (25007)
• Australia
2 May 12
I'm really surprised at the response you gave BR to. I feel that those first couple of reasons are a load of rubbish and not the result of any kind of research. My own doctor is invariably late because he has hospital rounds before he comes to clinic. We all now people don't get sick or become injured in accidents by appointment just as patients with appointments sometimes need more time than what is allowed. Anyone who expects to see their doctor on time is suffering from imaginitis. I know at first hand how difficult it is to sit in a waiting room in severe pain or feeling wretchedly ill. Once the staff without a word, took me to a treatment room and helped me lie down where I immediately fell asleep. I had pneumonia.
• Philippines
2 May 12
Well, I feel that I am able to relate to her response.
@whatrow (793)
• United States
19 Apr 12
They are a little BUSY. Multidues of patients. Major problems. Emergencies. Why should you hold it against them if they take 5 minutes for themselves?
• Philippines
20 Apr 12
Hi whatrow, if you've read the examples that we have written on this discussion, its not just 5 minutes. Of course, a few minutes of wait won't hurt. Many would agree that they also experience the same delays in doctors' clinics. And, its just too bad that we really just have to sit and wait.
19 Apr 12
friend'its happen in everywhere.
@rekhum (2435)
• India
19 Apr 12
Lol. But I think as a doctor you should be more worried about your patients than your friends, as that's what their job descriptions say.
• Philippines
19 Apr 12
Hi, I know what you feel. I've complained about it for so many times. I don't know and I don't understand too why doctors are always late and they can't seem to care much about their patients. Even my mother who constantly needs regular check-up always experiences long waiting whenever we go to the doctor. My boyfriend's mother is a doctor and I asked him why are doctors always late. He says he doesn't know too. He even said that his mom's schedule is 11:30am but his mom usually leaves their home at 12:40pm even if they're not busy. If I were his mom's patient, I'd be totally pissed. So the doctor's son don't know why too.
• Philippines
19 Apr 12
If only its easy to jump from one doctor to another, I would have already done that. Its just that, its more of a hassle for us to start from scratch everytime.
@jazel_juan (15767)
• Philippines
19 Apr 12
Well our case here is not necessarily like that, my pediatrician is always on time and he makes it a point that he is able to serve us and see my children, that is why i always go back to him.. but there is no denying that there are doctor who do that on purpose.. oh well.
• Philippines
19 Apr 12
Good for you. So, perhaps, its really just a case to case basis. Could it be that your doctor is not very in demand in your area and has lesser patients, so he's making the most of his guests.
@ricebird (34)
• Philippines
19 Apr 12
hello jureathome. I have also observed this with many doctor visits I've done in the past. With the doctors I go to though, this was because they had other patients from other hospitals or that they had to attend to medical emergencies. Your story about a doctor lounging at the coffee shop is a different story altogether. the sad part is you wait for an hour, then they see only for no more than 10 minutes. I wonder which countries experience this. I am from the Philippines and I know this is common. I have always thought that lack of doctors was a possible reason. Then yesterday a saw a post on facebook from a friend in Singapore who says they waited for an hour and the doctor also saw them for 5 minutes. I hope others from other countries also share their experience.
• Philippines
19 Apr 12
I am from the Philippines, too. I don't think its lack of doctors, at least for private clinics or hospitals. I would understand if its in a public or government hospital, because there will be tons of patients in line.
@airasheila (5460)
• Philippines
19 Apr 12
a pleasant day jureathome, honestly speaking, that situation is kind a common thing happen here in our country. that, the doctors here in our country are generally a late comer. that they usually come beyond to their clinic hours. and i really cannot grasp why they should do that. however, when i have worked outside my home country, i have encountered some doctors who come to their clinics 30 minutes before the clinic time. wherein they observed punctuality. and i was impressed at their attitudes. to tell you frankly, i wish that the doctors here in my home country can also observe punctuality so as not to disturbed their patience time.
• Philippines
19 Apr 12
I was wondering if its even considered late, because they do it so often that it seems normal for them. Maybe its part of the things they're taught to do along with making sure we can't read their handwriting...lol. Don't get me wrong, I love my doctor and like working with her. Its just the practice that really pisses me off. I mean, we are also working, and we get penalized for coming in even a minute late.
• India
24 Jun 12
Most of the doctors in kerala have duties in many places. Sometimes they have a lot of patients a day. This is the reason why most of the doctors are late at the appointments.
@shylade (3138)
• Philippines
20 Apr 12
i think it is because aside from their regular clinic hours they still do have other duties in hospital so that explains why sometimes they are not on time. imagine if you doctor attend to an emergency at midnight then he surely have no enough sleep and so they will adjust their clinic hours. my OBGyne is always on time, thank God. our son's pedia sometimes do not arrive in time but never really that late.
@jaiho2009 (39034)
• Philippines
20 Apr 12
I haven't had an experience waiting the doctor after giving me specific appointment time. Each time I had a follow up check up with my doctor- she is already there. Too bad you were having this experience, maybe try to look for a better one :)