We’ve certainly taken it for granted. And now we’ve taken it too far

Woman consulting with her doctor over her phone (Image: Getty)

Apparently only one in 10 GP appointments are now face to face. ONE in 10! Just five months ago, before the pandemic, it was three quarters of appointments.

But it’s not just about coronavirus. We’ve abused the system. Well, some of us sure have anyway.

How about those people who turn up at a doctor’s surgery bearing a minor cut? Or with a cold – haven’t you heard that there’s no cure for the common cold? And then there’s those who just want a chat – but probably need a counsellor.

Poor old GPs, though they’re paid to listen and there’s always a waiting room full of people who “need” some attention from a professional listener however trivial the problem – often loneliness (which is not a matter to be taken lightly, but nor is it a medical issue unless it’s causing serious mental health problems).

Free medical care is a wonderful thing, offered by a select club of only 43 of the 193 countries in the world, with the NHS revered among the best of them and envied across the globe.

And what have we done? We’ve only gone and taken it for granted, haven’t we?

You simply have to sit in a busy A&E department at night to confirm the truth behind that statement.

I’ve been in A&E (broken nose, since you’re asking!) when it turns into a homeless refuge, a stop-off for those with serious mental health problems, or for some who just need a public convenience after sinking pints from 7pm onwards.

So, yes, we’ve certainly taken it for granted. And now we’ve taken it too far. And GPs have had no choice but to hit back, limit the number of face-to-face appointments, and to nudge patients into the habit of telephone or online consultations – what Matt Hancock calls “zoom medicine”.

I have to say a medical chat via telephone is something I’d have normally shied away from until I had the pleasure, at the end of last week, of an arranged phone call with a doctor I’d never had any previous dealings with. A total stranger, I guess.

And, guess what? He was brilliant. He called bang on time, was possessed of a lovely disposition – warm, interested – and clearly owned a healthy sense of humour too.

I skipped along to pick up my prescription the next morning, and I’m still feeling GOOD.

Not sure if it’s the medication, or the after-effects of the bedside phone manner. Thank you, Doctor.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *