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At the heart of general practice since 1960

'Only one half-baked GP bashing story at a time please'

Would you ever (or have you ever) put up a sign in your surgery telling patients they can only consult on one thing at a time?

Would you ever (or have you ever) put up a sign in your surgery telling patients they can only consult on one thing at a time?

Apparently, according to this Sunday Times story at the weekend (that I've shamefully only just come across) several practices have done this.

Well, actually no. It appears to be two practices. One in Islington - (centre of the universe for The Sunday Times) and one in Deal, Kent. The RCGP apparently said the problem is widespread - good work there RCGP in propagating another GP bashing story - but not so widespread that the hard-working Sarah-Kate Templeton could find any others.

Surely the Department of Health would have been only too keen to dig a few out if any more existed?

Interestingly, there were no comments from anyone at the two surgeries. The Deal surgery 'could not be reached this weekend', the story states. And what about during the rest of the week that the journalist had to put the story together?

And the Islington practice, right in the heart of London - the city from which The Sunday Times is published? No, nothing from them either.

And what about the patients who would surely be outraged at these heinous notices? No, no comment from them either. Only a report than an unnamed member of staff told an unnamed patient she should seek another appointment if she has a second problem.

So, basically, what we have is "Two practices out of 8,400 in the UK have told patients they can only consult on one thing at a time, but we didn't talk to them about it to find out why, when they started doing it, why it might actually be a good idea to give 10 minutes full attention to one problem rather than two minutes to five, whether they've got a shortage of staff, what patients have said about it or indeed whether anyone is the slightest bit put out whatsoever."

The thing is GPs would be justified in putting up 'only one problem at a time please' notices in their practice. Only directed at the Department of Health or the national media.

Only one pay freeze per career please. Only one new unevidenced QOF indicator per decade please. Only one NHS reorganisation per parliament please.

Only one half-baked, unevidenced, lame GP bashing story per millenium PLEASE!

If by chance you are one of the GPs in this story, or you have ever done this, we would love to hear from you by the way.

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