The Chair of the British Medical Association GP Committee recently gave a warning that the family doctor system is “imploding” under the weight of more patients who are increasingly frail. Dr Nagpaul claimed they were doing 40 million more appointments than five years ago, and that they were forced into providing conveyor belt care 60 times a day. He added that surgeries are being forced to close because of funding changes, which could leave thousands of patients without a family doctor.
The problem is they are unlikely to get much sympathy from many patients who have long since lost their family doctor.
The old fashioned GP knew you well and looked after you and your family for years. Would come to your house if necessary at any time of the day or night. Always over-ran surgery times because consultations took as long as they needed to. In return they were universally respected as a pillar of the community for their vocational commitment to their profession and their patients.
This is not a nostalgic look back through rose tinted glasses. It was the reality of a trusted service over many years for the majority of people in this country.
Then all that began to disappear (see “Disappearing GP.s” by clicking on “GP’S” in the TAG CLOUD).
- Group practices broke the family connection – any doctor can see you now;
- Over protective receptionists and 10 minute, one issue consultations broke the family friendly service;
- Deputising services ended night time calls from someone you knew;
- NHS Direct became a way of by-passing GP’s altogether;
- Pills were substituted for compassion;
- £100,000 a year salaries destroyed the idea of vocation.
Now we have a fractured service that both GP’s and patients are unhappy with.