111 comments Add a comment
Im not the sort of person who goes to see a doctor frequently for the most insignificant ailment. When nagged enough however, even I relent and phone up the local surgery to make an appointment. My gripe isnt about the doctor's at the surgery; its about the difficulty I had trying to get an appointment this morning.
Heres how it works at my local clinic. If you ring reception and just ask to make an appointment, you will most likely get allocated one some time the following week, in some cases as much five or six days from the date that you originally call them. Now I dont know much about medicine or the human body, but I suspect that, like me, most people seek the advice of a doctor when they actually have a problem, not when they think they may have one in five days time.
Do we have to be seriously ill or on deaths doorstep before you get an appointment? It would seem so, because on this particular occasion the only way I could get someone to take a look at my hand was to insist that I had to see someone today as it was an emergency. Even then, the most I could expect was to see the nurse rather than my GP. Either they are just extremely busy at the moment, or this is some sort of screening process. How can the receptionist tell who needs medical attention and who can be put off for a few days?
Later, after the appointment Okay, I cant pronounce the word but needless to say it is not something that goes away by itself! If I had left it, the infection could have spread further apparently, and by then things are way more serious. I have been given another appointment this afternoon with the doctor in person, so perhaps it was a good idea to insist that I see someone today after all.
I wonder how many people take the first option and delay treatment for a few days? I also wonder how often this has made things worse than they need be. Isnt preventative medicine supposed to be the way to go?
Perhaps they need to look into different ways of doing things. More nurses for that initial consultation perhaps. It certainly worked for me because she knew what the problem was and how it needed to be treated. Not everyone needs to see a doctor the same day, on the other hand some people definitely do.
Alternatively how about an e-clinic? I could quite easily have emailed the doctor/nurse a description of the symptoms; possibly even supported with a photograph (who doesnt have a camera phone these days?). A quick decision could be made whether or not I need an appointment that day or if it could be deferred to when the clinic isnt so busy.