“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!!!