It makes me sick.
Sicker than I was before I picked the phone up to fight for an appointment at the doctor’s.
Like the vast majority of people who feel lucky to still have a job, I battle through minor illnesses and go to work. And every day, my diary is choc-a-block so no, receptionist as steely and unbendable as a surgical implement, I can’t rock up to the surgery in working hours, just like that.
I need you to give me an early-morning appointment, though you’ve probably given them all to the OAPs who wake at 6am daily and like to get all their admin done by 9, so I’d like one a few days’ hence. Failing that (which I so know will be the case), a few weeks’ hence. And if my ailments have healed themselves by that time, then I’ll call you (at considerable personal expense, seeing as you have one of those 08444 numbers). Then you can give the precious-as-jewels ten-minute slot to some poorly soul who is either retired or jobless and thereby able to get to you, last minute.
Though now the government has launched a pilot scheme with funding for GPs willing to work longer hours, my problem - and yours - could be over. Us workers could soon be so much healthier.
Before you tell me, doc, I KNOW you work hard. But so do millions of people - many on round-the-clock and weekend shifts to make whatever they provide more accessible. The same has to happen at hospitals. Have you walked into Rotherham DGH on a weekend? It’s like a ghost town. There isn’t even anyone on reception. The only place that’s rammed is A&E. It’s full of people who would probably go to their GPs’ surgeries if only they were open.
And what about dentists? Mine shuts every day for lunch. Must be all that post-noshing flossing they must feel obliged to do.