Concern is reaching fever pitch over GP Services in Waverley.

“Doctor, there’s a patient on line one that says he’s invisible.”
“Well, tell him I can’t see him right now.”

If only it were funny and that simple!  Has anyone tried to make an appointment with their GP at the Wonersh Surgery, or perhaps Chiddingfold, Haslemere, Godalming, Cranleigh, Farnham, etc, recently? Or, do you feel invisible?

Nope?  We neither but, according to our Wonersh Correspondent, it would be easier to walk through the eye of a needle!

 One of our followers failed to get an appointment with her GP and went private. Guess who her private GP was? Yep, you guessed, her GP.

Ever since the Covid Pandemic struck, Wonersh Surgery – in common with many others, has been strictly rationing appointments and refusing to allow anyone who does manage to limbo their way through the door; to use their loos!   That’s right, the frail and the elderly – with weak bladders have to pull on their incontinence pads before making a trip to the Wonersh Surgery in case they get taken short whilst there!

However, recently, following the so-called loosening of Covid regulations, it has become even harder to get an appointment with your so-called friendly, local GP in ‘Your Waverley’. You’ve more chance of getting an audience with the Pope, according to our exasperated correspondents around Waverley. 

They tell us.

Having phoned the surgery, we listen to  GP’s reeling off a dirge of Nanny-State regulations via a recorded message. This includes a bit about a zero-tolerance policy towards the abuse of their rottweiler-like receptionists ( generally po-faced, jobs-worths who seem to take a peculiar pleasure in being as unhelpful as possible.) Listen to music and when you do finally get through ask for your most intimate details why you need a consultation! 

 Then you are told there are currently no pre-bookable appointments with a clinical team member (i.e., doctors).

If you require a consultation, you must call by 11:00 and will be placed on the triage list and a member of the clinical team, will/may call you back and conduct a telephone consultation or video consultation.  You may also be requested to send in a photograph prior to the consultation!

One Cranleigh patient – who is anything but patient spoke of her anger at being told by a receptionist to send a photo of the clot, yes a clot in her leg. We all know who the clot was! Needless to say, she raced off to A & E for emergency clot-busting treatment!

What happened to the days of phoning up, making an appointment and rocking up at the surgery a couple of hours or days later, depending on the urgency of the situation?

 What happens, if you unexpectedly need to see a doctor after 11:00?!  Hive off to A&E, no doubt, which explains why they’re on their knees!   In reality, the surgery would rather you didn’t phone them anyway and do everything to discourage this time-wasting practice!  Far better, as far as they’re concerned, if they can get you to go online and try to navigate their far from easy website.

 We know there are many busy people out there who are perfectly happy to have a telephone consultation.   It saves the bother of taking time off work, driving to the surgery. However,  Wonersh, similar to many surgeries, has more than its fair share of elderly patients. Whilst some are Silver Surfers, as nimble with their laptops as your average teenager, others don’t even have internet let alone a mobile phone!  What about them?

The UK’s GPs are some of the best-paid people in the country, not to mention the NHS. Yet, they have been working fewer hours for years now, retiring early and generally doing everything they can to avoid interacting with the public.

A public,  who not only pay their wages via their taxes, but most of whom can’t even dream of earning the six-figure sums paid to  GPs.

Neither could they dream of retiring on similar gold-plated pensions at 55!

And, don’t get us started on the over-reliance on female GPS, with young children, who only want to work part-time, making it virtually impossible for anyone to see the same GP twice in a row!

With five partners, five salaried GPs, three trainee GPs and a paramedic at Wonersh Surgery – all paid for by us, the hard-pressed, taxpayer – you’d think they could make it marginally easier to get something as simple as a GP appointment with WC facilities on site!

But no, our Wonersh Correspondent phoned last week to book a simple flu jab for her elderly and vulnerable husband and was told she couldn’t.  Despite having been married for more years than she cares to remember, sharing an address and being able to reel off her husband’s name and date of birth, the receptionist refused to let her book a flu jab for him, insisting he must do it himself. 

So there you have it, folks, hubby, leaves the greenhouse, walks from the bottom of the garden, take off his boots, scrub his hands, and goes to the telephone. Dials the surgery, listens to the same diatribe that his wife had just wasted five precious minutes that she won’t get back so that he can repeat the exercise and book his flu jab.  All to satisfy the whim of a power-crazed receptionist. 

We know the NHS is no longer the National Health Service and has now morphed into the National Covid Service, but this is bureaucracy gone mad.

Rather than waste her husband’s time and energy – at their age, one has to conserve it for the essential things in life! – the wife phoned the Wonersh Pharmacy, where she spoke to a delightful lady who, having confirmed their names and ages, was pleased to offer them both a flu jab at the pharmacy the next day!

Of course, they will have to pay for the service but, as they pointed out, it was worth it for the speed and efficiency with which their request was met and for the pleasure of speaking to someone who genuinely wanted to offer a service rather than behave like a roadblock!

If the NHS continues in this fashion, only the poorest will be forced to continue using it!

Once those who pay for the service – through their taxes – start deserting it in their droves, the clamour for an insurance-driven rather than tax-driven scheme – which works so effectively in almost every other country in the world – will drown out the MPs’ and GPs’ howls of protest!

 Because let’s face it, the only people being served by our GP practices at the moment are the GPs!!!

10 thoughts on “Concern is reaching fever pitch over GP Services in Waverley.”

  1. You mentioned the problem in your post. It’s not just the Female GPs that are part-timers but many of the male ones as well.
    Approximately 50% of our GPs are female and 50% of the new intake are as well. Being a part-time GP is becoming the norm(if it hasn’t already) What other major business or organisation would allow such a predicament?
    It’s about time GP contracts we re-visited.

  2. This is a horrible article full of sweeping generalisations that simply aren’t true for the whole of Waverley. Granted it’s extremely variable and I’m sorry if people in Wonersh are experiencing difficulties but don’t tar everyone with the same brush. Many surgeries are outstanding. Appointments are available to book through the NHS App and triaged through a phone appointment first with a timely follow up in person if needed. Why do you think receptionists might be less amenable if you use a derogatory term such as ‘Rottweilers’ and why castigate them for doing what they have to do to comply with GDPR and protect *your* data. It’s not ‘jobsworth’, it’s doing their jobs properly. Please try again with a more balanced view based on comprehensive and accurate information about the current state of primary care as it tries to get back on track after the pandemic (and before you ask, no, I’m not a medical professional).

    1. Of course, there are some fine examples of Gp service, and we apologise for not mentioning this in the post. However, many of the comments we receive, are anything but complimentary. In fact, some of the comments which we have not represented are downright dangerous. One of which has already had catastrophic consequences. We have personal experiences of over-zealous and extremely unhelpful, receptionists. Under pressure they may be, but why are receptionists suddenly becoming doctors, even telling people how to use their medicines?

  3. Hi I did EConsult this morning at 8 am, needed an ear infection looked at. Saw a senior GP at 930 picked up scrip at 1010 – Cranleigh. Unusual I know but it worked. Of course the GP didn’t introduce himself and wore a mask (good) but I felt I had to ask his name.

    1. Good news. The WW wishes that everyone in Cranleigh was being treated so promptly. We have heard of patients with serious symptoms waiting three weeks for an appointment.

  4. For those that want to moan about the medical practice here is a brief summary of what they have to deal with.
    This comes from a doctor (who is not associated with any local medical practices).

    The health service is terribly underfunded and there is a 5,000 shortfall in GP’s in local surgeries alone and approximately 50,000 shortfall in hospital doctors.

    The government pledged up to 6,000 new local GP’s by 2024, there are actually 2000 less full time GP’s since they have been in power.

    Contrary to popular belief our doctors are still working tirelessly to try and see as many patients as possible. With many 1000’s of operations and hospital appointments being cancelled due to the pandemic they are under more strain than ever before.

    A lot of doctors actually work late into the evening without pay to try and keep on top of their workload.

    It was difficult enough to get an appointment before the pandemic because of the NHS being underfunded and it will only get worse unless more money is given to help employ more staff.

    How do you think the staff of our local medical practices feel when reading negative comments about them on social media when the problem lies solely with the government and senior management?

    I know it’s frustrating if we cannot speak to a doctor or nurse when we need to but please spare a thought for what they are having to deal with.

    After posting this on social media I had some messages of thanks from NHS staff who work at medical practices for highlighting the problem. They told me of the verbal abuse they receive from patients just because they are doing their jobs.
    The staff do not make the rules and they deserve to be treated with respect.

  5. Unusually I have had to contact my Cranleigh GP practice four times during the pandemic for three different reasons. I filled out the E consult form, was contacted within an hour of submitting the forms and given treatment, referral and X-ray/scan promptly. Brilliant service, well done to a practice that is under enormous pressure due to COVID and the influx of new residents. Thank you Cranleigh Medical Practice

    1. Great to hear that Cranleigh is serving you well. Sadly, this is not the case for all patients, many of whom have asked us not to identify them for fear of reprisals. Many of those with serious concerns are afraid of speaking up in public.

  6. What????…’over-reliance on female GPS, with young children, who only want to work part-time’. Surprised that Cllr Follows or any of the frequent political contributors haven’t responded to this clearly sexist statement.

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