So how does your GP practice operate? Quite happy at getting the appointment you want?
Yesterday I was offered an appointment on 11 April. That is one full month away.
For an earlier meeting I can phone at half eight each morning, for slots will be released.
This I have been doing for a week, listening almost permanently to an engaged tone.
So today you can imagine my joy at hearing a friendly voice on the end of the line, a live one, not the one that tells me the line is busy. By then though quarter of an hour had already passed, and as I feared with each passing engaged response to dialling those six numbers, so too had the available appointments.
So the blood pressure rises. I could have got one at 3.20, almost exactly the same time as I need to meet the school bus seven miles away from the surgery, as I explained. So there was an alternative on offer, a different doctor, at 3.10. Bangs head off brick wall.
Now I have had a really good relationship with my surgery. One of the doctors is very much a specialist in what I need reviewed, so the others, for this one are not an alternative.
I have no gripes other than trying to get in the door. Phoning each day at half past eight cannot be the best way in the modern world. By the time the children have their jackets on the and the bus has arrived all the appointments are gone. By the time the telephone is actually answered the blood pressure too needs treatment.
In the 21st century, when we have all sorts of computer facilities and communication options is this really the best we can do?
I gather that in Denmark there has been a successful online booking system for over five years. Visit the website, check available time slots for chosen GP, book. Simples, as they say.
But tomorrow I’ll go through it all again, dial, listen, dial, again and again and again. Eventually I’ll be told that there are no slots available. And so time passes, needs become more urgent, frustration increases, and the impact on health…..
Can we do better than the lottery of seeing whose call gets answered first? Nurse, nurse…..