My original post is below. While it was not picked up by local media (to my knowledge), I sent the following letter directly to my local Conservative MP, Kelly Tolhurst.
With the election looming, and still no clear winner in sight, I hope that a candidate will announce plans to reduce the amount of time it takes to see a GP. I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the country, but in Medway if you can find a GP who’s accepting new patients, get through to reception, then book an appointment within two weeks of suffering an illness then you’ve achieved the equivalent of marrying Scarlett Johansson, wrapping her naked body in the Golden Fleece then tripping over the Holy Grail on the way to The Smiths reunion gig.
Recently, I tried to book an appointment with a local GP but failed miserably. I often call their office to get a busy signal. I find it very odd that their lunch hour break, during which lines are closed, is much longer than mine. In effect, this prevents me from making an appointment during my lunch break – one of the very few times a working person can make such a call. I believe most of us are lucky to get a full hour for lunch, let alone take time out from eating to call a GP.
I’ve been registered at a local GP since January, 2011 and it has become harder and harder to get an appointment. I wonder who on Earth their patients are? It certainly can’t be working people like me, because their hours are just not normal – they do not address the realities of working commuters. I get home from London around 6:30 PM and they are no longer open. They have extended hours on Wednesday, but I have never been able to book a time. When I asked why I could not get an appointment I was told it was due to doctors being ill and doctors on vacation. That lead me to wonder where a sick doctor goes for an appointment. I guess, like the rest of us, they try in vain to get an appointment and remain ill for weeks while waiting; thus they cannot take care of their own patients – and so the vicious cycle continues. I wonder what happens to people who, while waiting to be seen, develop severe health issues?
Recently, I came to a startling revelation – my cat gets better health care than I do. He had a problem, I took him to the vets (on a Sunday no less!), he got seen immediately and is now fully recovered. Cost me a mere £70, including medication. Now, I’m against privatisation of health services, but I have to be honest – my cat got a bargain compared to waiting forever for NHS services that apparently do not exist. Something needs to be done. Are they waiting for people to start dropping dead on their doorsteps? Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.