Doctors are free in the UK on the National Health Service (NHS) but in our area (and I am sure they are doing it in other areas) everything is all about statistics and recording of waiting times and patients etc. This is what you have to do now to see a Doctor. You can either get an appointment in the next 48 hours or book one 4/6 weeks in advance! There is no middle ground. This is so they don't have loads of appointments all booked up and the statistics won't show loads of people waiting years to see a Dr! So I wanted an appointment on Monday. So at 8:30am when the surgery opens you phone up and try to get an appointment. Of course a million people also phone at this time and the surgery now has call queuing, but you have to dial for 20mins to get into the queue! This is for a normal appointment for nothing really specific and not for an emergency!
At 9:30am they stop taking appointments. You cannot make any appointments for the rest of the day now unless its for like 6 weeks in advance! (which are mostly repeat appointments). If you phone then you get a message saying you have an emergency please hold the line or go away! Before this new idea it was so annoying when you used to phone up and the next appointment was 3 weeks away! There is an NHS guideline that everyone should be able to get to see a Doctor in 48 hours! and now they really can! You just have a breakdown going insane trying to get an appointment!
I managed to get an appointment at 9:40am on Monday with a Dr I had never seen before and he was middle aged but quite cute, sweet and smiling! When I got to the surgery I went to check in and they write on the computer when patients check in so they can get waiting time statistics (you are lucky if you have to spend less than 30 mins waiting once you arrive). The receptionist told me "oh no - Daniel John has already checked in?" I thought what the fuck and thought my evil doppelgänger/ twin had already checked in. The receptionist strangely looked around the waiting room for "daniel john" and saw no one! I just went and sat down freaked out!
Saw the Dr who said I need to lose weight, there is nothing they could do for me etc etc. I am not sure if this is a really depressing thing or really motivational but he came out with some weird line like
"For someone in your condition, I think you have done as well for yourself as you possibly can and you are doing really well"
- it makes it sound so like I am dying of something terminal! In some ways that line feels me with despair, but also makes me feel good! I am not going insane!
I never get depressed with my illness or try not to think about it to deeply! I just gotta get over it and move on! I think I am nearly always happy go lucky cos I just don't think about things! If I thought about it deeply its all very sad and depressing but that is not going to change my situation now or help in anyway. I don't want any sympathy about it, I live with it!
At least he called me young! I saw someone on TV this week who said something like 'when they were young..... and now they were 27' my age! I felt middle aged!
I love the NHS and think it is a good thing but it is starting to fall apart! This is the evidence of I have seen of it falling apart....
- Doctors surgery's - economic numbers and statistics and results come before patient care. This is true everywhere in the UK! Its almost impossible to get an appointment without a fight unless its urgent!
- Dentists - masses leaving the NHS because its such a crap deal for them. Loads of people do not have a free dentist in their area and most dentistry costs a charge. Cheaper than going privately but still its not free on point of presence which was the original ideology of the NHS.
- Medicines - some people need very expensive medicines like Herceptin for women with breast cancer. Also so many people are on anti depressants which cost loads! I do not pay for mine and they cost £1 a tablet! I now take a low dose for panic and anxiety, some people are on huge doses!
- Most NHS departments are in huge debt and the staff are paid badly compared to private care!
I don't know what the answer is, but it is a service that is collapsing! I really don't want an American system where the poorest people are basically fucked! unemployed or on benefits or homeless in America? you are lucky to get treatment at a county hospital! and if you get a medical condition that needs constant treatment you are fucked! HIV or Cancer? there is no aid for you.
My Doctor's surgery has 8 doctors! 2 of them are part time and some are currently on maternity leave. My area is a bit urban area and they get a lot of people on their patient books. Why is there population suddenly so massive that the system cannot deal with it? There is not that many new births or immigration that would result in this!
The worst thing about all of this is that say someone thought they might have a sign of cancer or maybe a little pain in the heart. Its not urgent or an emergency! They wont bother fighting at 8:30 in the morning to get an appointment! I think there is gonna be deaths and major illness that could have been prevented, just because people cannot get an appointment!
I don't know what the answer is and its not my job to work it out, thank goodness! But the system is in serious danger and I am sure we are not the only country who have these problems!