A London NHS GP story

We all know our amazing NHS has been severely hit by what I would consider to be terrible, terrible government decisions. Whether we lose the pride of our country through deliberate machinations or through mismanagement, the end result will be a travesty. I am sure I’m not alone in feeling that the NHS is one of the most wonderful institutions in the UK, something wonderful our country has created.

Since returning from Mexico, I’ve actually used my GP service more than I care to admit. We’re all suffering from a return to the UK and the inevitable germ /bacteria / virus warfare caused by two kids starting at two schools. We’ve had: ear aches, severe coughs and colds, yeast infections, head lice and skin issues (and probably a lot more I’ve successfully blocked from my mind). Wow, we’re doing well, right? I, personally, haven’t had two days in a row since returning where I’ve felt healthy.

Today SG told me her earache had returned so I dutifully called the GP surgery at 8:02am (they open at 8am). When I got a call back I was told there were no available appointments left today on site and I’d have to take the kids over to another surgery that’s not walking distance with the kids in tow. I tried to explain that that wasn’t really possible (pre SB pick up I can’t do it as I can’t be late for him, and post SB pick up I have two exhausted kids who I don’t really want to drag in the opposite direction from home to hang around for hours in a waiting room). I was offered an appointment during the school day tomorrow. This conversation was all happening as I was trying to chivvy the kids out the door to school, not an ideal time to talk or think! I was speaking with the nurse practitioner and I have to admit that I asked for a doctor to call me as I didn’t think she was being helpful or understanding.

A doctor did call me back. He was clearly quite pissed off that I was being tricky. And, from his point of view, fair enough. But as we spoke, he became a human being and I became a human being. We talked about how the NHS is collapsing around us and he acknowledged (without my saying it) that my constituency did not vote for this government and does not agree with what is being done. He told me that they have lost a huge amount of funding, that they’ve gone from five to three and a half partners and they are struggling to manage their case load. The reason I was being sent off to the next area of London was thanks to a previous governmental grant that meant they can send overflow patients there when they are over subscribed (150 calls between 8-10am today, all needing appointments).

We chatted about children, needing to do the best for them, the stress of the NHS. I said I’d had no idea of the struggle my particular surgery was facing since their service has always been exemplary. However, it now appears that this service my family and I have been fortunate enough to receive has been thanks to the dedication and relentless service of incredible doctors, not in anyway thanks to the government, intent on destroying that service. Eventually the doctor offered me a few minutes of his time, squeezing us in this afternoon when he really doesn’t have time for us.

Once again, we have an example of the NHS soldiering on and being the backbone of our society thanks to the incredible people working within it whilst the government seems, at best, to be ineptly underfunding it, or at worst, deliberately destroying it in an attempt to privatise yet more public services.

To the doctors, nurses, porters and everyone else working in the NHS, thank you, thank you, thank you.


(picture borrowed from: Open Democracy)


One thought on “A London NHS GP story

  1. Good blog and so true. Lucky you have nice doctors in your surgery. Now if only someone powerful and in get were to read this…..


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