The cup of human kindness at Yuletide overfloweth in Northernshire . . .
Following on from our last post about Christmas in GP land up North we thought our few interested readers would like to know what has happened since.
First the snow has gone and temperatures have risen above zero (just). The snow chains and winter tyres are off the Ferraris that all UK GPs drive and is now replaced by dense fog and new hazards on the roads which haven’t seen much traffic for 4 days like dog walkers in the middle of the normally quiet high moorland roads (not as obvious as your average tank!).
The baronial estate’s moat (all UK GPs have a moat if you believe the Daily Mail) has frozen completely solid which was fortunate as a younger relative thought they would bomb it at Christmas. 3 foot of solid ice resulted in a sore bum rather than a potential hypothermic dig under the ice rescue (not fun).
On Christmas Eve one of us ventured across the almost impassable high moorland roads in the Ferrari to do an evening surgery. Snow chains and tyres struggled for grip but we made it in for surely our patients would need urgent medical assistance prior to the long Bank Holiday weekend?
Believe us, brother and sisters, the need there was great, say Amen, we say again, say Amen for their need of healthcare on Christmas Eve so we must ensure as a righteous god fearing group of caring family GPs that our patients’ healthcare needs are met for Christmas. Praise the Lord for the Secretary of Health!
Believe us, brothers and sisters, we did truly service the needs of our congregation, oops sorry patients, for in a 2.5 hour evening surgery in a remote Northernshire surgery a team of dedicated, caring healthcare professionals struggled to deal with the following pre Christmas “surge” of illness:
No patients. 3 urgently demanded prescriptions to be signed but only 1 prescription actually collected. A phone call from a regular drunk patient.
We are sure our patients must have all been out with their families celebrating a pre midnight mass for Christmas, carol singing, decorating the Christmas trees and wrapping presents, buying last minute Christmas presents for loved ones, visiting the needy, sick and orphans at Christmas foregoing their own personal healthcare to help others more deserving or more likely warming up their livers with a pre Christmas workout getting absolutely rat faced . . .
This week has been different for although most of the UK population is on an extended 2 week Christmas holiday shutdown, given the deserted no vehicles at all on the roads drive into work, the scene at surgery was as if fifteen fully laden coaches had simultaneously crashed in Northernshire.
We know from our colleagues in the local A&E departments that they too had multiple coach crashes to deal with to the point that today one local PCT was broadcasting on the local news for people with colds, sorry flu, not to go to A&E but to stay at home.
We know the conversations that will be going on at your average local A&E department with the triage team:
“Why is a sore throat of 4 hours duration an accident or an emergency?”
"I TRIED to see my GP (I rang and it was engaged/didn’t bother ringing) and they WOULD NOT visit (I rang and it was engaged/ didn’t bother ringing) and it is a really, really sore throat (not just hurts a bit?) so it is therefore an emergency . . .
The stories of how these survivors of the coach crash that is a bank holiday have so courteously addressed our staff have brought lumps to our throats. Here are a few:
Our receptionists were told it was THEIR FAULT we had been shut for 4 days. (NO mention of the statutory Bank Holidays that our patients would be enjoying but Bank Holidays are not THIR FAULT so they just HAVE to endure them?)
We had been SO ILL we went to A&E but they told us there was a six hour wait so we went home waited 2 days and came and saw you instead as an emergency and are better now but we didn’t want to waste the appointment can you take my blood pressure . . . ?
(Clearly the abolition of the 4 hour wait target is going to seriously inconvenience the well and their accessing of care for real ACCIDENTS and life threatening EMERGENCIES that they might have to wait 2 whole days for a sore throat that gets better on its own. I think this is disgusting . . .).
Some people have been so ill they went to A&E, 3 days ago, got the wait story, rang surgery this am because it is an EMERGENCY and there were no appointments so THEY HAVE TO HAVE A HOME VISIT . . .
(Because they can’t have an appointment because others are allegedly ill as well. That’s disgusting . . . )
The emergency surgeries we have done today have consisted of 3 “urgent” = unnecessary blood pressure checks, a medication review, a regular nutter whose only source of social intercourse is the free NHS and loads and loads of alleged ‘flu (minor self limiting viral upper respiratory infections) all of which were EMERGENCIES and nearly all of which got no treatment.
True cases of influenza do not walk into GPs surgeries so the RCGP (god bless them they are useless bunch of half wit pseudo academics used by Government to pretend that they are useful) are talking sh*te as “flu” cases increase.
Once again home visits have gone ballistic for they are too ill to go to surgery but are not in when we call. When they ring later to ask why we have not been they have been out to the sales, popped round to a friends . . .
We have had 4 day bank holiday weekends before but for some reason this one has been full of more self centred well people demanding emergency appointments who then do not show but a few days later there will appear a letter from A&E saying that they attended there.
(Clearly waiting for half an hour after you have rung and blagged an emergency appointment is too long to wait so it will be quicker to go up and wait 6 hours in A&E. Good logic and clearly another selfless action by blocking sorry not needing a GP appointment that you don’t then cancel.)
And although patients may sometimes be really ill the sickest are the local idiots in NHS PCT land who are struggling to cope for they do nothing useful. We heard from some local colleagues of another email that they received suggesting that maybe surgeries would like to open on the New Year’s Day Bank Holiday?
Where do they get these morons from? They are the people who have commissioned all these services and clearly have got it wrong so who are they asking to bail themselves of the hole they dug? The little black book from the Dad’s Army U-boat episode is starting to get full of names over this Christmas period.
This year’s “festive” period has been usually busy and people especially nasty and very difficult but we know not why. We have struggled to cope with the excess demand and are seeing extras ad nauseum but very little real illness that requires treatment.
Should we be doing the New Year’s Day extra surgeries for no payment on what is after all a Bank Holiday or do you think we should allow ourselves and our staff some time out for come Tuesday it will all kick off again?
Praise be to the Party for we are all sure MPs will be working during their hard earned Christmas break from 21 December to January 10. Or will those medically qualified MPs be popping down to their local GP’s surgery or A&E department on the Bank Holiday Monday to lend a hand for nothing?
PS a Happy New Year to all who kindly frequent our blog and a healthy one too hopefully.
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Northern Doc was once a blog originally written by a group of GPs in Northernshire and expressed their experiences and frustrations of working in today's NHS. The pieces were compiled at social meetings after work and published anonymously in a once free society. Following the Government's Medical Council clamp down on freedom of thought, speech and expression by doctors and our belief that the views of a few doctors DO NOT represent the views of the profession as a whole their views will now be written by and published by a journalist who has previously contributed to the blog by virtue of social ties. Any inference that the word Doc means a doctor is now purely coincidental. This is as of the 22 April 2013.