Katie Hopkins writing in The Sun (10th April 2015) gives a viewpoint.
It is 8.29am and I’m already locked in a fierce battle with my doctor’s surgery to beat the engaged tone on the phone and make it ring.
Ring, Speed dial, Ring, Speed dial. I am competing with a legion of lonely, old people in search of company and hypochondriacs in need of a job. All I want is a same-day appointment for my daughter who is sick after the normal miracle cure Calpol and Calprofen back to back has failed me. Just like me on the end of the phone, half of the GPs think surgeries should open seven days a week.
Well, knock me down with a prescription pad and strangle me with a stethoscope. Who’d have thought?
It was pretty unlikely that GPs, having chosen the easy life, would want to start giving up their weekends and evenings for the benefit of their patients, especially given more than half of them are women.
Despite the delirium of the femi-Nazis at the Equality Commission, too many women is bad news all round. Women doctors spend up to 20 per cent less time seeing patients because they are more likely to go part-time after kids.
For goodness sake, women, it’s called childcare. Get some.
Given the true warriors on the war of health are the medics working in A&E currently under siege from the queues of people who can’t get an appointment elsewhere, you might imagine GPs would want to be part of the solution.
Trials in London have proved it works. Surgeries pooling resources to keep at least one practice open for evenings and weekends reduced A&E visits between eight and ten per cent.
Of course, patients have a responsibility. A&E should be the last point of call for desperate people half-conscious through pain with their tongue caught in a can opener. It is not for people who fancy an afternoon off work waiting to see a nurse about a splinter.
‘A&E should give you goose bumps, not dairy milk’
I’d stick a sign on the sliding doors: “If you can read this, you’re not dying. go home.” Clearly, illiterates would still get through.
When I toddle back through the waiting area after having an arm relocated, I feel my rage rising as I see the throngs in the waiting room happily chatting away stuffing themselves with chocolate or drinking coffee.
It is A&E, not a chuffing Costa. The place should give you goose bumps. Not the need for a Dairy Milk.
My solution is pretty simple. All GPs should have to spend one week a month working in A&E.
Perhaps they would see what a comfortable niche they have carved out for themselves in their fat office chair.
Plagued by swarms of people unable to get an appointment with a doctor, maybe they would be willing to open their surgeries and save people on the front line of the NHS from intolerable pressures that never seem to go away.