London Medicgirl gets on her soapbox.

I happened to pick up a copy of The Metro at the weekend; it had been left on the seat presumably sometime on friday, and I noticed the front page; some list of what the two prominant political parties in this country want to do with the NHS.

My eye was drawn to the list on the left (Labour).

Something about more out of hours GP service, and more choice…Yadayadayada; we’ve all heard it all before. 

I grew up in a family that very much went with lets-see-how-you-feel-in-the-morning… Sure, if a temperature wasn’t coming down, or a throat was becoming progressively more supurative then off we were packed to our GP. As a result- on the very few times when my mother rang up and said “She really needs to see someone” (eg. when I had glandular fever), they were more than happy to slot us into a morning by getting me to see the nurse, and then the GP popping through between patients to sign off the script.

Anyway, I digress. I have a feeling the rest of the world (and I guess we do live in a instant gratification society) don’t really understand the concept of General Practice and illness.

  • If you are ill- needing medication and the like- go to your doctor… the fact that you are having to take time off work to do so shouldn’t be that much of an issue remember- because you’re ILL.
  • If it is out of hours, you have a choice- are you SO ILL you cannot wait until the morning? In which case, you need to go to A+E because otherwise you might die.
  • If it is some routine thing that you need to get done? I don’t know, like injections for your fun little holiday coming up? Well, you’re going on holiday so one can only presume you can afford to take a morning off.  And if its a routine appointment for a long term illness? Well, again- this is presumably what sick days are for.

The one place that I can see that would actually benefit from decent out of hours GP service is in the countryside, where the GP is going to get to the patient faster than an ambulance in many cases; my mother would not be here to day were it not for our local GP schlepping out to give a very necessary injection of adrenaline one summer evening.

I know this topic has been covered by many others (far more eloquently, and with greater knowledge of what is actually needed) but this really irritates me.  I appreciate things probably only work if you have a decent local GP service, but I’m starting to think that that often depends, at least in part, on the people using it…

I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Medicgirl xxx


7 Responses to “London Medicgirl gets on her soapbox.”

  1. The Shrink Says:

    Very very true . . .

    . . . our Primary Care services only have so much capacity. GP time is a rationed resource. If they’re used by folk unnecessarily then this time is consumed so folk who could benefit more to have clinical needs addressed will miss out.

    But them since doctors like to meddle, I’m of the view they’re best avoided ‘less you need them . . . last time I saw my GP I was at medical school 🙂

  2. accidentallawstudent Says:

    Hear hear!

  3. Ms Medic Says:

    I’m so with you on this one. And pretty eloquent, at least as good as anyone elses!

  4. unlikelymedico Says:


    I’m back again. Now I have no idea how the NHS works, but I agree with your points completely.

    also, congrats on passing 🙂
    oh, and the expanded readership too

  5. no one Says:

    ill point you at the responses to Dr Grumble over at
    and his article
    Clive Peedell tells it as it is

    in it Dr Grumble starts with your view, and comes around to the point of view that actually GP provision has many issues

    it is not sustainable for the UK economy for people with long term conditions to need to take so much time off work to attend docs, diabetics for instance in the UK need to take much more time off work than in similar situation in other Western nations, they need to be helped to work normally, and that i am afraid means appointments when it fits their schedule not when the medics want it

    you cannot use all your holiday for appointments associated with being diabetic, you would end up with no holiday, and you would end up mentally ill, this would not help anyone

    A & E out of hours? why? for simple stuff such as a simple infection needing anti-biotics they should be able to see a simple out of hours minors clinic fronted by docs

    and ordinary working folk should be able to dictate to the providers when they want to be seen, not the other way around, the nhs “take it or leave it” model has got to change, its not viable, and it doesnt help the patients keep their business sucessful and thats not good for UK tax take

  6. Bendygirl Says:

    A good post, but no-one is spot on with his points here, and it was well discussed in the links he gives.

    I’m afraid that actually the rest of the world, often including medics and particularly those making the policies simply don’t understand the realities of chronic illness/conditions and disability, and that these are the very people in need of GP’s on a regular basis. This lack of understanding combined with the current desperate drive to kick people off benefits and into a world of work ill prepared to receive them and lacking in appropriate jobs will inevitably only increase the burden upon, you guessed it, GP’s.

  7. jayann Says:

    Yes, bendy girl and no one are right. Also, some employers are such jerks that telling people to take sick pay entitlement to see their GP just doesn’t help. (Also I think we need to distinguish between the problems caused by inflexible GP appointments systems, and the OOH issue — though given the general change in GPs’ Hs, they merge… ; when I kept getting breast lumps I had to see a GP and also go for screening appointments, I could manage not to disrupt work given the old GP appointments system, the more inflexible of the current ones might have wrecked a whole working day.)

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