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15-minute appointment? No, but here's what I can do

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I was quite enjoying my August bank holiday until I turned the radio on.

The apoplexy inducing rage that surged through me like a mains electric shock turned just as quickly to laughter.

It has nothing at all to do with chronic underfunding

It was a joke, a joke, of course it was. I had turned the radio on in the middle of some new early morning comedy news programme. That was it, it had to be, nothing that badly misrepresented could be real news.

I carried on making breakfast and the presenter started talking about drownings, bombings and deaths in an earthquake. This new comedy programme was a bit on the dark side even for me, especially early in the morning. It was only as I poured milk in my coffee and the weather forecast came on it really struck home that it was the real news.

The article I had heard was real, not a joke in bad taste. The BMA had had really said GP appointments are too short at ten minutes and NHS England had replied that there is no fixed length for appointments and it is up to GPs to decide what time to allocate.

To be honest I’m surprised the NHSE had time to respond, I mean they must have their hands full pouring all those quarts into pint pots and ramming those round pegs into square holes.

It was nice of them to take the time though, to inform the public via national radio, that the reason their arses barely get time to brush the seat in a consultation with their family doctor is because their family doctor plans it like that.

It has nothing at all to do with chronic underfunding, a shortage of GPs, a growing and ageing population but has everything to do with the fact their GP is a lazy bastard who doesn’t want to spend more than ten minutes with them.

I suppose at least we know where we stand now: ‘Eyebrow transplant? Toenail straightening? Yes of course I can refer you. Budget? No there is no limit to the amount the Government can spend on your healthcare.’

Dr David Turner is a GP in west London

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Well said.
    If we all move from 6 appointments an hour to 4 then we reduce the total number of appointments by a third over night. So we have to increase the number of GPs by 33% during a recruitment crisis and plummeting funding.
    I wish I was smoking what the BMA are smoking.

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  • After these apopleptic responses, pause for a moment -imagine a leisurely 15 min appt in which you can treat your patient like a human being and not as a packet of sausages on a conveyor belt. You have time to arrange investigations ,dictate referral letters and pat little Johny on the head like a real old fashioned GP all within the 15 minutes .The only draw back is that you spend an extra on average 75 minutes in surgery .I have tried it as a locum and absolutely love it -you have to put in the extra time but feel less exhausted by the end of the morning .Go try you endless cynics and naysayers!

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  • Re John Taylor

    So.......an extra 75 minutes in the morning, and presumably the same in the afternoon, that's another 2.5 hours a day, with scrips, visits, phone calls still there in between. Do you hate going home that much? Think I'll remain a naysayer thanks.

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