This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

Who wants to see their GP on a Saturday, anyway?

  • Print
  • 15
  • Rate
  • Save

‘Imagine running through an endless spreadsheet pursued by an insatiable, anthropomorphised photocopier that wants to tear out your soul and Xerox it to death before shoving the useless skin-envelope of your former self through a giant shredder.’ These are words Colin, a despondent office worker, used to describe his working week. Not surprisingly he, and many others like him, feel let down by the government’s idea of seven-day GP opening.

‘A trip to the GP surgery during office hours used to be an event,’ says Colin.

‘We would all pray for a mild symptom to come along, like an itchy ear or a sweaty armpit, so we could get out for a bit. Being able to spend half an hour in the relative calm of a doctor’s waiting room with a copy of Readers Digest was better than listening to the office boss tell us about his skiing holiday or his Volvo’s phenomenal braking system or how he once shot a wolf with a paint-ball gun’.

‘Besides,’ continues Colin, ‘Saturday mornings are reserved for hangovers: there’s no way I’m going to waste them on a GP appointment. In fact, when I get home I’m going to write to the Government to tell them that their idea of using the health service to force innocent wage slaves like me to increase the country’s productivity simply cannot be allowed to happen. I used to be in a band you know!’

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Edinburgh

Rate this blog 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (15)

  • Funny how no other western country has 7 day GP services. Also, seems to have been lost how other western health systems have a lot more capacity, doctors, nurses, access to scanners and so on and can manage within 5 days a week. Our system cannot even do that. The solution from clown politicians is to force it on the very people who cannot cope as it is.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As a health professional I would just like to point out that my trust have changed the sickness policy to say I have to take unpaid leave to see the doctor during working hours. And I have about the third letter calling me in for an asthma review here. Could do it on the phone except the telephone call slots clash with when I'm in clinic myself. Would one evening session a week be too much to ask?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Patients with complex long term conditions value the continuity of seeing the same GP, who knows them and their medical history really well. The danger of a 7-day GP service is that it will be harder, not easier, to have the continuity of seeing the same GP, since more GPs will be needed, and the working hours of each GP will be spread more thinly to cover a longer working week.

    The better option would be for out of hours services to be properly resourced and manned by clinically trained staff, so that fewer callers to NHS 111 are told to attend A&E by staff who have only their script, and no clinical knowledge, to guide them in assessing risk.

    How about the Government properly resourcing the current GP service before it starts talking about a fundamentally different way of working? Sorry, silly question!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • My husband has had an ongoing, albeit relatively minor, health problem for the last two months. He's waiting till January to see our GP because all his annual leave for 2015 is booked up, and his employers consider that visiting one's doctor for a non-emergency should count as annual leave, not sick leave.

    Just saying.

    Just saying.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • There are thousands of pharmacies in the UK which open at weekends - they are, after all, a retail business as well as a first point of call for professional healthcare -
    and for the latter, are grossly underused. Why on earth Jeremy Hunt wants to replicate this with GP surgeries, I have no idea. But power fetishism and fascist ideology come to mind.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page

Have your say

  • Print
  • 15
  • Rate
  • Save