NHS Doctors Surgeries Have We Got This Right?

Booking an appointment at your doctors surgery. Reaps pain in itself!

Doctors’ surgeries.  I don‘t think we’ve got this quite right. As much as we might criticise our National Health Service, it’s the envy of many the world over.  And one of the many factors that persuade refugees from other countries to head to these shores.  Become a citizen, pay your National Insurance and receive free (ish) medical treatment. It is a fantastic concept, which started to be worked out in the early 20th Century by, amongst other, Winston Churchill when he served in the Liberal government as a very young Home Secretary, although it wasn’t until 1946 that it came to fruition.

 And we hear every day about how the NHS needs reforming.  It’s used as a political lever for all parties, mainly as a threat rather than a genuine opportunity. But take the Doctor’s surgeries.  Surely there are some fundamental things that need to change here.  For a start, most people these days know what’s wrong with them. In the world of TV and the internet, most of us are pretty savvy.  We know the symptoms, and more importantly, we know what drugs we need to put things right.  I have no statistics to prove it (although I bet the NHS do), but I reckon that 80% of people booking an appointment with the doctor do so because they either want the drugs that they already think they know they need, or need a certificate to keep them off work.

 Now that can’t be a good use of doctors’ time. Surely doctors should be diagnosing the 20% who are ill and haven’t a clue what’s causing them to feel ill. So why can’t repeat prescription requests be routed through chemists, or just purchased online? What’s the real risk? That would allow doctors to visit the sick, not the other way round. Surely seeing a patient in their home environment not only puts the patient more at ease, but it also provides the doctor with background information about their lifestyle.

 I know it will cost.  But money has to be saved on the wasted, five minute long appointments, that tie up a qualified doctor’s time.  In 80% of cases, the patient knows what they want, the doctor knows that the patient knows what they want, and the patient knows that if they say the right things, and are patient, then they’ll get what they want.  I’m pretty sure that’s not what a lot of doctors expected to be doing when they signed up for this career.