Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Plastic bags and GP appointments.

One of the many complaints that patients have here in Northernshire is that they can never get appointments.

Now this is not entirely true for whenever patients make this complaint they are usually sitting with the doctor having made an appointment and more often than not what they mean is I could not get an appointment 1) this instant or 2) to suit me. They are more than happy to waste medical time whinging about rather than dealing with matters medical which again adds to the backlog for appointments but that is not my fault is it doctor :) . . .?

Indeed some patients are compounding this problem by booking appointments “just in case they get ill” or when the condition they booked the appointment for gets better they still keep the appointment to tell the doctor that they are now better. We jest not.

Around the time that some of the doctors here at ND Central qualified supermarkets here in the UK came up with the wizzo wheeze of giving away free plastic bags for shoppers. Prior to this you usually took your own bags to the shops with you or you could buy stores’ own plastic bags. You might call this the self care agenda whereby you looked after your(self) own bags in a bygone age. Very quickly supermarket customers did what NHS patients did, and still do, and took advantage of freebies.

So currently the world population is 7.3 billion people and yet last year alone a population of 64 million people needed to use and mostly dispose of 8.5 billionplastic bags or 132.8 bags for every man, woman and child in the UK and each bag is used for just 20 minutes before being (mostly) disposed of. 

Now supermarkets can afford to be this wasteful for the people who are paying for these freebies are the customers themselves but most are not bright enough to realize this - they just take the bags time and time again and most just bin them which is no different to the way most NHS patients use the health service in the UK and respect it as much as their “free” plastic bag for there is always another plastic bag available free at the point of abuse. 

Now some countries have imposed a small charge for plastic bags and can you guess what has happened? Well look at the table in this piece and see how much the use of freebies has dropped after a small charge was introduced. Furthermore some supermarkets have introduced bags for life and slowly one has noticed a gradual return in some areas of what used to happen many decades ago with shoppers taking their own bags with them and reusing them and no longer being looked at like oddballs.

So how much does a plastic bag cost? Well from this source here it seems to be about $ 0.04 or about 3p a punt although we have seen other figures from a few years ago suggesting 0.5p a bag.

Now we are not rocket scientists at ND Central but if the imposition of a 5 pence charge for a bag costing 0.5-3 pence can result after a few years in a c. 80% reduction in demand can anyone think of some other areas where a small charge could be used to reduce demand?

Now if all those complaining that they cannot see their GP wanted to increase their chances of doing so can anyone other than politician see how this might be possible?

Like plastic bags when they were charged for it made people think so perhaps asking people to put their money where their mouth is now might make people think about using the health service rather than regard it as just another Party funded freebie?

And who knows after a few years the use of GP appointments might follow the plastic bag and people will be able to get appointments a bit easier than now?

Praise be to the Party for valuing plastic bags more highly than medical care in the United Kingdom and taking robust actions to ensure that none are disadvantaged by a lack of resource to vital services.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Charge £2 & buy a lottery tic