The only way to get close to guaranteeing an appointment at my surgery is to turn up at quarter to 8 (at the latest) and join the queue to make an appointment. Appointments are only available the same day. Getting to the surgery has on occasion been a challenge (at one stage I was so bad I couldn't even put the bins out) so heaven knows how elderly disabled folk are supposed to achieve that.
Experience with attempting to book an appointment by phone is similar to ckn's. One time when I simply couldn't make it in person I got automated "surgery is closed" messages until bang on 8. Then I got engaged until 8:17, then I got to number 12 in the queue. I finally got through at 08:32 to be told that all appointments had gone, and no I couldn't book one for the next day, I'd have to ring in. Or get there in person.
Since ringing in hadn't been too successful the previous day I managed to get to the surgery via taxi, getting the taxi driver to drop me off at the top of the slope so I wouldn't have to climb a flight of stairs. I joined the queue behind 5 others - this was at 07:35 and the surgery doesn't officially open until 8. I was allocated an appointment at 10:10 with a locum I've never seen since and had never seen before. I elected to wait in the waiting area as I didn't exactly feel sprightly enough to make an extra two taxi trips.
Withing two minutes of the appointment I was back in the waiting area waiting to have a portable ecg fitted and waiting for an ambulance. I was whisked off to A&E and ended up in the HDU (High Dependency Unit) and on drips for two days. I don't think the 24 hour delay did me any favours.
You may well ask why I didn't escalate on the first day. The simple answer is I had become somewhat accustomed to feeling under the weather and in my own mind was just going to see the doctor to get a sick note for work.