Booking GP appointments at my NHS surgery

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An article of opinion by Andrew Neather on the Evening Standard in August 2009 compared the NHS with the Medicare scheme in the US. Mr. Neather came to say that we are better off in the UK than in the US where 15% of the officially resident US population has with no healthcare insurance at all. But then it contains the understatement of the century: ‘Of course, the NHS is far from perfect‘.

My GP practice only takes calls to book an appointment from 8:30 am from Mondays to Fridays (*). The number sounds busy for 10 to 20 minutes on average, no matter how often you dial it (usually non-stop from two mobile phones). The only available slots left by the time you get through are usually 10:00 am onwards. Booking your appointment doesn’t prevent waiting times from 20 to 60 minutes or ever longer.

Visiting your GP where I live in London results in my wasting a minimum of four working hours.

Employees contribute proportionally more than the Companies Tax to fund the NHS. What I see at my medical centre is that very many patients visibly have less pressing daily schedules than tax-payers with a full-time job: the retired and everyone living on benefits. Would not it be more efficient and sustainable to dedicate an early slot for workers and leave the rest of the day for the rest?

(*) In my area in London a doctor of Camidoc is available during weekends and public holidays.

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