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Who’s to blame for GP waiting times? Elderly immigrants of course



‘A record one in three of us are fed up with GPs’, screamed the headline. Hang on. Shurely shome mishtake? Shouldn’t that be, ‘A record one in three of us are fed up with being GPs’? Well, that would make sense if it was a Pulse headline, although I’d be wondering how on earth the other two thirds are able to keep themselves in mind-altering substances.

But it isn’t. It comes from, you guessed it, the Daily Mail. Apparently, GPs have gone from shit to utter shit on the Mail’s shitometer – thanks to a King’s Fund survey showing that the punters are dissatisfied with the NHS in general and with us in particular.

Apparently, GPs have gone from shit to utter shit on the Mail’s shitometer

This, the article points out, is because many patients are having to wait ‘up to three weeks’ for an appointment. We know why this is happening, don’t we? It’s because we’re understaffed, overworked, micromanaged, downtrodden etcetera etcetera. Right? Wrong.

The newspaper article knows the real reason. Can you guess? Clue: remember, this is the Daily Mail speaking. That’s right. It’s immigrants. Or, to quote precisely, ‘Many are finding it increasingly difficult to get an appointment as surgeries struggle to cope with rising immigration and the ageing population.’ So there you have it. Immigration is to blame. And the elderly immigrants, of course, they’re the worst. They come over here, they take our appointments. And our Zimmer frames.

How glorious for the Mail to be able to shoehorn two of its pet hates into the one story. This would be quite funny if it so obviously wasn’t. If I thought it worth dignifying with a response, I might point out that, if it wasn’t for immigrants and their progeny providing a massive part of the NHS workforce, then a three week wait for a GP appointment would be a triumph and the option to bunk off to A&E instead probably wouldn’t even exist.

But I don’t. Instead, I’m just trying to work out what comes below ‘utter shit’.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield