Have you TRIED to get to see the doctor lately?

Supposedly our doctor operates to a maximum of 48 hours delay for appointments but in reality it’s at least a week and in the winter months it can be more like two or three weeks. The net effect of that is that a rising number of people (and it’s mainly the elderly) who make a rolling series of appointments “just in case” which, naturally, clogs up the appointment calendar. In fact, one elderly lady seems to make daily appointments as she is always there when we call in.

To get around this clogging up of the appointment system they abandon it altogether at least one day a week and two or three when it’s really bad. What happens then is that they have an “open surgery” which means you need to call them between 9am and 11am when you’re put through to a doctor who decides whether or not you need to be seen. Sounds fine, but in practice we tried to get through on every opportunity for two weeks solid and didn’t manage to get anything but an engaged tone.

But even when you do get through to a doctor they’re clearly massively overworked thanks to that 100% booking of appointments. Thus it’s very much a cursory visit. So, despite us managing to get an appointment a couple of weeks ago and exhibiting all the symptoms of swine flu were just sent home and told to keep taking liquids. That’s the instruction that has managed to kill far too many people. OK, those who aren’t so healthy at the off might well die with a cold never mind flu but you don’t expect healthy people to die of the flu these days, do you?

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2 Responses to “Have you TRIED to get to see the doctor lately?”

  • Arnold

    As I’m sure you remember, here in France there’s pretty much no delay for the doctor (or hospital treatment.)

    I have a funny feeling that if you have the flu (and are thus weak), a doctor’s waiting room (full of ill people – and aren’t the rooms always overheated?) might not be the best place for you to be?

    Do know what you mean about the old lady always in the corner of the waiting room; my local doctor had a regular visitor just like that!

    Or perhaps she was just the cleaner?

    All the best

    Keith

  • Arnold says:

    Yes indeed. The relative lack of waiting lists was indeed a pleasure in France.

    You’re right of course about a doctor’s waiting room and indeed hospitals not being great places to wait around in if you’re sick… naturally they’re full of sick people. However, the telephone screening system that they currently use in the UK (which seems sensible in principle) is ending up killing people. That case I referred to in the article sounds like a death that shouldn’t have happened and you just wonder how many more cases like that there are.

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