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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Why GP co-op services have got worse

With reference to the critisism of North Yorkshire Emergency Doctors by John Blackie, leader of Richmonshire district council (News, April 26), I would like to share my experience of a similar service in Kent run by Seadoc.

Recently I called Seadoc on behalf of a neighbour, an elderly widower with acute bronchitis who needed to start a course of antibiotics without delay. I rang to speak to the doctor on duty and was prepared to go and collect the medicine from the base which is only 10 minutes' walk away.

Instead of putting me through to the duty doctor they sent an emergency ambulance, which arrived promptly.

After 20 minutes the crew decided to inform the doctor, who rang two hours later to speak to the patient who was struggling to get to sleep.

No one visited that evening and the confused patient was left without treatment despite a history of myocardial infarction.

Thirty years ago when on-call I would have seen and treated at least two emergencies, saving the ambulances' time and money and leaving them free to deal with serious emergencies.

The next day my wife had to ask for a home visit from the patient's GP. The delay to this patient getting urgent treatment should not have happened. I am sure co-op services have worsened throughout the UK.

Dr Joginder Dhillon

Folkstone

Kent

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