Going to your British GP: another perspective

“Does your GP let you talk about more than one ailment when you see them? Count yourself lucky if they do.  

“Surgeries across the country increasingly enforce a strict “one appointment, one problem” policy. I raised the issue on Twitter the other day and was inundated with responses. Among them was one from a mother whose daughter ended up in A&E with pneumonia after her doctor refused to examine her cough during a visit about depression. All agreed it was a crazy policy, given that conditions often involve a number of different symptoms, and that people can be shy about admitting upfront what’s bothering them.

“The problem goes back to the overly generous deal Tony Blair’s government cut with GPs in 2006. Very high salaries (“roughly twice what a French GP earns”) enable our doctors to live comfortably while working just a few days a week. Result? It can take weeks to see a GP and, even then, you’re rushed through. No wonder our survival rates for cancer, so reliant on prompt diagnosis, lag far behind many of our peers.”  (Allison Pearson, The Week, 21 Feb 2020)

My take: Perhaps I am lucky, but when I am in London and have to visit the GP I get wonderful treatment, and, since I am not exactly young, often for several things bothering me.  But then my National Health doctor clearly isn’t in it for the money.  Hordes of patients line up outside the surgery before opening time, and the waiting room is always packed.  So I need a lot more evidence before I forego my love of the National Health Service  (yes, the consultations are free) . The fact is that the disgraceful attitude reported by Allison Pearson (above) is probably not general and depends on why doctors go into medicine in the first place.  Most are altruistic.  Thanks, Doc!

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