When did you last see your doctor?

And by that I don’t mean consult your doctor, but actually see him or her face to face. It is apparently quite a rare thing these days to be allowed to the surgery to actually sit in a room and see your doctor and get a few answers about what is wrong with you.

Personally, I can’t remember the last time I did that. I have quite a lot wrong with me now – bits falling off every time I turn round! – so I do tend to use the surgery rather more often then younger and fitter people. But the appointments are usually over the phone, which would be all right if I could hear well (which I can’t even with hearing aids) or augment my hearing by lipreading, which is what I usually do, but there are two drawbacks to lipreading as I rapidly discovered. One is that you can’t do it if you’re both wearing masks as most sensible people still are, nor can it be done over the phone.

Yesterday I found that I had a repeat of the vertigo that spins my head round a great deal, makes it difficult to stand unaided or to turn round, so I rang the surgery and to my great surprise I actually got to talk to one of the doctors in the team. Unfortunately, although she was kindly, she sounded as though she was Indian and spoke softly, so her English was very difficult for me to understand and hear. She did her best and I did mine, but it was tricky. But even so, we made a sort of sense of it and she was very kind and very helpful.

And now this morning the Guardian has run a headline to say ‘Face-to-face appointments plan could lead to exodus of doctors’ and goes on to explain that the Governments plan to force GPs to see every patient in person will make life so difficult for surgeries that there will be an exodus of doctors who are already under serious pressure because of the pandemic. Oh how I wish we had a government that would listen to the needs and problems of the people they purport to lead instead of just bullying them.

There are some alarming facts and figures that Government ministers have failed to read and/or simply ignored, NHS Digital official figures show ‘that the number of full time equivalent GPs in England has fallen from 29,403 in September 2015 to 28,023 – a fall of 1,380.’ ‘In addition, the 4% rise in England’s population since 2015 means there is now just one full-time equivalent GP for every 2,045 patients.’

I would call that a cause for concern, not a reason to apply a bullying technique. We need our doctors, paramedics, nurses, surgeons and we have always needed them because none of us know when we will fall ill and need them desperately and now we have a pandemic to contend with as well as all the normal illnesses ‘that flesh is heir to’. Perhaps we need some genuine face to face talk between doctors and MPs but that would require the sort of humility on the part of the MPs that very few of them now show any signs of possessing.

Perhaps we should be standing up and shouting ‘we need our NHS. WE DO NOT WANT IT TO BE PRIVATISED!’ It is horribly possible that this government will make the morons among us hate their doctors by using this campaign to get them overworked as they are, to obey government rules and see all patients face to face, but the rest of us will recognise bullying for what it is and go on admiring and being grateful for our NHS. Oh if we only had a government that understands the meaning of compassion and cooperation.

And in the meantime our Prime Mendacitor is on holiday in a costly property in Marbella posing in the sun, pretending paint and pretending to be Winston Churchill. Yuck!

5 thoughts on “When did you last see your doctor?

  1. Hi, Beryl,
    Thank you for a very apposite blog for me personally. I have just come back from my GP, a face-to-face meeting booked this morning, and in by 09:45. I need a minor but potentially life-saving op. A LONG waiting list, my GP said. I’ll go private, I said. The relief on my GP’s face! But this is not how it should be. I am enraged, not on my behalf, but for all those other poor beggars on that long waiting list, who may be more in need of a quick op than me. And I know I am not ‘jumping the queue’ as the private health sector does their private work outside of NHS time and facilities (but using NHS trained staff) but I want to live in a fair society, where I am not climbing over homeless in the streets, and using my privilege to get an op that should be available to all whether they can afford to put their hands into their pocket or not.
    In the meantime, for any critics out there, I was advised to call an ambulance if my predicament gets suddenly worse, so chances are the lovely NHS will treat me immediately if I go critical, but cannot afford to treat me in a timely fashion beforehand. I blame the Tories and every person who votes Tory. You cannot claim to love your NHS and then vote for a low-tax low-services party. A Tory, Brexity voter in my road, who I raged to about this today, said soothingly, “It’s not just the NHS, it’s everything at the moment, but it always gets better eventually.”


  2. Beryl, I hope you’re feeling better once more. I too have visited hospital this week (routine eye check up). It was a looong wait, true, but all staff from doctors to receptionists were wonderfully kind and patient. Our problem was getting there and back on the ‘bus – drivers in short supply so the timetables are quite upended!
    But how we’re supposed to clap for doctors and nurses at one minute only to move onto horrible bullying the next, I simply don’t understand!!


  3. And Health Secretary is not turning up for the doctors meeting now? Running scared?
    Definitely feel they’re going to sell the NHS !


  4. Hope you feel ok now, Beryl. I guess we are fortunate to have a GP Surgery with dispensers, in our small village four days a week. Last year was dire for everyone and patients had to wait in the street to communicate through a speaker. Now almost back to the 2019 system, though we still have to telephone for appointments, rather than pop in when leaving the Post Office.
    However – we have a satellite surgery and the main one in the local market town is old and unsuitable. Surprisingly a solution has been found of a joint private/NHS enterprise that can build new premises with space for treatment rooms, pharmacy and phlebotomy convenient for local transport links and a supermarket. Isn’t that privatisation by the back door? What is the quid pro quo?


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