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Planning Retirement Online

You can see the doctor...
in a month!

January 2017

man in doctors office

We have all heard the stories, and many of us will have had personal experience of the problem of trying to get an appointment with the local doctor.

What has gone wrong? When we were young, generally you just turned up at the doctors during surgery hours, sat on often an old worn seat reading dated magazines while you waited your turn and then saw the GP. There was no question of not being seen.

Today reports show that many have to wait three or even four weeks for a doctor’s appointment, or are told to ring up early in the morning for a same day appointment only to find the lines are continually busy and they can’t get through.

It is without doubt a crisis in the health care system and this is despite an overall increase in the number of doctors:  there were 32,467 additional doctors employed in the NHS in 2014 compared to 2004.

It seems 92% of GPs have reported that they are so overworked that their appointments last for a maximum of 15 minutes and often less.  Generally it is thought that this area of health care, known as primary care, is now under unsustainable pressure.

Even worse, our Accident and Emergency departments are also reporting gridlock and overcrowding.

Now there is a new movement to relocate GPs in the A&E department of hospitals. This is to deal with patients who turn up at hospital inappropriately.

This makes sense…many people go to A&E because they simply can’t get to see their local GP. In a recent survey carried out by the health care intelligence firm Wilmington Healthcare, three quarters of doctors said they thought people went to their local A&E without needing to because they thought they would be seen faster.

According to Gareth Thomas, managing director of Wilmington Healthcare, urgent action now needs to be taken to address this escalating crisis.
"Our survey shows that a significant proportion of doctors believe that co-located GP services could help to alleviate the problem, while improving patient education and access to primary care and out-of-hours services are also key."

NHS walk-in centre

However,  NHS walk in medical centres are already available across the UK and are available to everyone often 365 days a year including evenings. They offer wide access to a range of treatments
and can offer a solution rather than go to the overstretched A&E department for a medical problem that is not a real emergency.

Walk In centres can offer help for infections and rashes, blood pressure checks, fractures and lacerations, emergency contraception and advice, stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhoea, hay fever, insect and animal bites, stitches (sutures)dressing,  minor cuts and bruises, minor burns and strains and many other services.

You can find out details of your nearest Walk In Centre here.

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