When the above popped through the letter box, I thought I'd died and gone heaven.
Perhaps it is me and I have been labouring under a misconception that booking an appointment to see ones GP had been, or is in the process of been, reduced to a week! Perhaps even, at a push two!
So I bite my tongue when I am told the earliest appointment is four weeks away. And bite it even harder when that four weeks have been and gone and I go to find I shall be seeing a locum and not my own regular GP! A Locum in today's parlance, is a professional temp!
They (the government - perhaps more under the previous than current incumbent) have been happy bleating on about the number of billions been pumped into the NHS (National Health Service). But all those billions appear to have been soaked up by the heightened upper echelons remuneration, way before reaching the bottom, in the form of meager scraps.
Would this be a time to mention Consultants, Area Managers, Managers, Secretaries, whose increasing use of days off 'due to stress', must make opening a travel agency within hospital grounds an accountants financial dream. Doctors (not the private - full or partial), Receptionists, Nurses, Security, are more or less front line targets and deserve way more money than they're getting. And of course the humble Cleaners for whom English may be a 2nd or 3rd tongue, a course in English along with a 'how not skimp on the cleaning solution' and report your bosses if forced to' one, would be in order.
On the bottom line - apologises - front-line, it is a shame all those billions spent on the service have proved incapable of ensuring that when your four week wait is over, and you have made it over the threshold (so proving, however tenuous, your claim to be in the land of the living); that the look of disappointment palpably rippling outwards from the front desk - like some bodily emanation as another body hasn't pegged it and manages to stumble through - increases in tedium each dreaded passing visit.
Then the wait to finally see your GP begins. Book an appointment for 10am and if you are lucky, you will be seen two hours later by about 12pm. If anything, you are far better pretending that your body is about to gasp its last and you will be zipped in under an emergency booking. At least then you are guaranteed to walk out in a couple of hours with a printed prescription pre-laden for the next round of pills; praying to which ever god you believe in that you don't have to pay the place a visit, ever again!
If you miss your appointment by 10 minutes or more, you are politely told that you can't be seen. As the Doctor is now busy. And you will have to re-book, for another time! Which is, naturally, another 4 weeks down the line.
How can it be improved? Hard to say. The current economic downturn negates the ability to increase funding. But even then just throwing money at it isn't the right idea; despite the strain it is experiencing, people living longer and having more ailments with increasing age and new forms of expensive treatment coming on-stream.
But what is needed is a root and branch structural review with no sacred cows or white elephants in the closed wing. A review that every citizen is involved with and not just once in a blue moon at election time. The NHS used to work! We just have to find a way of making it work and work effectively (for us all in the UK), over the next few decades!
Are we been well served by the NHS? Only if you're an estate agent, travel company and, with increasing cases of MRSA, MRSi and other yet to be championed unknown bugs around the corner, I have to vouch a no!