Sunday, June 20, 2010

General Practitioners - do they give patient satisfaction ?

I have an issue at the moment with my local GP's. You see, I feel that they are not patient focused enough in that they work very cosy hours and do not take into account that most people do not work in the town where they live and cannot get to their surgery during 'shop hours'.
My local surgery opens 8.30 in the morning and closes at 6 p.m. They do not open on Saturday's even though the pharmacy next door does.
Unless you are one of the blue rinse, twin set and pearl brigade or live on social security, or are a drug addict or alcoholic it is very difficult to get to see your doctor during the day, if like me, you work 26 miles away and can at an hours notice be asked to go to London, Yorkshire or Scotland for a week at a time.
I have a need for regular medication to combat erratic blood pressure. I am only prescribed one months supply at a time and if I leave it till I have one weeks supply left before ordering my repeat I have to wait three days for the prescription to be issued by the surgery. If I am sent away at work for a week, you get the picture . . yep I run out of medication and my health becomes at risk.
Recently, because of a run of work which sent me over the country, I went to a well known pharmacy out of town because I had run out of medication and had my blood pressure checked. The pharmacist refused to let me leave the premises until they had sorted out my medication for the weekend with my doctors. She was brilliant, my doctor's was not. It was like pulling teeth with no anaesthetic it was that painful and only after having to drop everything and rush to the surgery from 40 miles away did I finally get the prescription despite the pharmacist trying to get the prescription for me and the doctors refusing them
Of course had they opened on a Saturday morning there would have been no problem.
The Pharmacist where I had my blood pressure checked said their local surgery in the town where she lived had surveyed their patients on the question of sociable hours for people working away from their town and as a result they opened at 7.30 a.m. and closed at 8p.m. two days a week. Bingo . . a progressive doctors practice . . hooray for them.
I had a great doctor where I lived before, they knew my case, were very flexible and opened on Saturday mornings but because I moved seven miles away I was forced, yes forced to move doctors. I was quite happy to stay with my then current doctor but rules is rules you know.
I sincerely hope that this coalition government now in power will look closely at the National Health system, and in particular general practitioners and make them more patient focused. These cosy working hours should be stopped and more regard for patients work patterns be taken into consideration. I was even told that my own doctor, who only works part time, had to catch a bus at 4 p.m. so could I make sure I got there on time !
It's ridiculous in this day and age that doctors, who are always happy to get their very generous salaries, do not work some unsociable hours like their hospital colleagues do. David Cameron get cracking on this a.s.a.p. please . . . it's our National Health Service not the General Practitioners who are paid by us to give a service . . so please get them to treat us with a bit more respect!

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