Opinion: “General practitioners do an excellent job … But some patients have difficulty”


Are you having a problem with a general practitioner appointment?

Many voters contact me about access to their general practitioner.

This prompted me to launch my own investigation and visit Thistlemoor Medical Center.

It was great to say thank you to all the hard working staff there.

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We discussed their current workload, as well as new and traditional ways of working. They are clearly doing a wonderful job.

Thistlemoor and other surgeries go beyond. However, elsewhere patients have problems.

“Basically, you book a GP or nurse to call you. You can’t choose a time, just the day. Previously, you could receive this call the same day or the next day. Over the past few months, they haven’t had any booster vacancies for at least 4-6 working group days.

This lady finally got a phone appointment with her GP. It wasn’t until the call started that he was asked to send photos:

“I have a not-so-good camera on my mobile and, of course, internet access, so I did.

However, I was surprised because I thought that for a rash the doctor would want to see me in person.

“Apparently not. He diagnosed me from my photos!

It is not necessarily dangerous to identify a rash from a photo.

Still, this lady wanted to be seen in person, not try to take a photo of herself in the middle of the call – and pointers may be missed.

At least she has a date. Others found; “Face to face… is practically impossible. Only telephone appointments. It takes time to pass and then all the appointments are gone, even those by phone.

In another GP office it was a similar story: “You take years to go by, then they don’t tell you about an appointment.”

The government is clear that face-to-face dating should be available to anyone who wants them, but that is not yet the case.

“When I need to see my Respiratory Nurse she’s fantastic and – she’s gone above and beyond to oversee all of my referrals, making sure I’m seen by the right person at the right time.

“She even calls me every 4 weeks to take stock of my condition and sometimes called me that day to do my obs.

“If she can do it, why can’t the doctors, who are paid more than her, do it?

I feel bad writing this column because I know how hard GPs have worked.

But I cannot ignore the heart-wrenching pain that some of my constituents are feeling. This is why I carried out this survey:

What I need is for you to tell me whether your own experience is good or bad.

My investigation is still ongoing here: www.paulbristow.org.uk/form/gps-survey

It includes questions on new technologies, which could help provide more flexibility and access.

Any change obviously has to be done in the right way.

One person commented halfway: “We should be able to see a doctor, but I think the way to go for some cases is a phone conversation depending on the patient’s needs. ”

As often, the key is choice.

I believe you should be able to access your practice, get an appointment, and choose whether it’s in person, over the phone, or online.

Despite the lifting of pandemic restrictions, some patients find it difficult to see their GP if necessary.


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