Down at the Doctors!

Posted on November 2, 2017

After 2 years of deliberating, I finally signed on at my new doctor’s surgery today.

I don’t like the doctors, so I avoid them when I can, partly because my mother brought us up to only visit a GP if we were carrying one of our own severed limbs and then only if our own attempts at stitching it back on had failed.

I only turned up today because I was speaking to an electrician who works for me the other day and he panicked me somewhat. He is 49 (the same age as me) and on a recent check-up he discovered his blood pressure was about to blow and he was immediately put on stabilising medication and a dietary and exercise programme.

“It’s a silent killer Bob” he said to me in a harrowing voice.

What did I do? Well, I metaphorically shat myself of course, instantly booking an appointment with the doctor, remembering that is was ‘the silent killer’ that polished off my mother.

So, I arrived at the surgery and was greeted with a feeling that I could only liken to walking into a strange pub, of which there are plenty down here near Andover. Everyone seemed to know I wasn’t a regular and I appeared to walking into a social event where everyone knew each other.

I was genuinely waiting for someone to say “This is our surgery mate, fuck off”.

Anyway, eventually the landlord, sorry,  I mean the doctor, came out and greeted me for my 4:20 PM death sentence.

He looked like an exhausted 12 year old and I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of day he had as he carried an air of relief about him that suggested giving a blood pressure check to a nervous 49 year old was the highlight of his day.

The results were good, with the blood pressure coming in at 130/90 which is apparently pretty solid and I left happy with a just minor warning to keep an eye on the body mass (i.e. try not to become a fat bastard).

Little did he know that my girlfriend is already on this, checking my glove compartment and shopping receipts for anything with Maynards or Haribo written on them. Asking her to take control of my diet was a mistake; it is like dating an over zealous FBI agent.

I left behind me a packed waiting room that was getting in the late appointments before last orders and went on my way, hoping not to be back too soon. It reminded me of something I read the other day about needless appointments costing the NHS £306 million per annum and prescription fraud costing it over a billion.

The NHS is a great institution but it appears that as well as chronic underfunding and the desperation to sell it off to non dom plutocrats, there is a severe lack of education about services free at the point of delivery. It appears that some people resort to the doctor at the drop of a hat whilst others just see it as something to be used for a bit of attention and drama (I have known people like that, it infuriates me).

So rather than filling up kids heads about mythical religious figures that the enlightenment have long proved to be about as genuine as the tooth fairy, why not dedicate an hour a week on the education curriculum to learning about free healthcare and what it costs to administer per appointments/prescription etc. etc.

This would not stop people using the service but it might educate them enough to think twice about turning up at a GP practice with a runny nose. It may also arrest the pointless use of antibiotics that are becoming less resistant due to overuse.

Of course, the problems run deeper than that with the NHS but and education about something that sees you through life from womb to grave is surely more important than something that all evidence suggest, doesn’t even exist.

If parents want to indulge their kids in religion, they can do so at the local church, mosque or synagogue.

Just an idea.

1 Reply to "Down at the Doctors!"

  • Trevor
    November 3, 2017 (12:35 am)

    My time living in Australia (nearly 10 years) has taught me that the NHS is an amazing institution. Australia has ‘Medicare’ which (like the ABC being a poor impersonation of the BBC) is a poor impersonation of the NHS.

    Essentially when you go to the doctors you get charged about $90 (£45 for arguments sake). You then show your medicare card and get credited ‘the gap’ (i.e what the surgery charged versus what the Government was prepared to pay). This used to be quite close to what you pay, so for example you paid $60 for an appointment and claimed back $50. To claim back you went through an awful process of going into Medicare offices (all across the country) where you’d queue up with slightly dodgy looking people to claim your $10 back. You’d have to endure form filling and questioning. More often than not it wasn’t worth even going along to get your $10. There were weird rules where if your claim went over a certain limit (something like $2k a year) then you could claim the whole lot back – kind of like a weird incentive scheme for going to the doctors! I know Amy’s bill one year came just below that (something like $1800) and so we fell short! Equally not all visits permit you to claim the gap and on others the doctor lets you off the entire cost. In 10 years I’ve never made sense of it, it seems entirely arbitrary and appears to do with whether the doctor fancies upgrading his latest BMW or whether he’s satisfied having come back from his month in the Seychelles.

    I’ve asked a few people to explain the system to me (nobody has ever been able to) but the best explanation I can get is that by charging a nominal amount it stops the ‘timewasters’ – old ladies going in for a chat or people being prescribed sugar pills. Australia like the UK appears to have a similar number of hypochondriacs who almost search for a reason to go to the Doctors or sign their kid off school for a week for a sniffily nose.

    Obviously over the last 10 years ‘the gap’ between what the government give and doctors charge grows ever wider. I took Eli a couple of weeks ago and the appointment (which was less than 4 minutes) cost me $90 and my rebate was $43.

    The problem with it is that it leads you naturally to take up the position that your Mum held and avoid the doctors at all costs. I’m lucky enough to have a decent job and salary, but if I were in the positon of having to choose between paying the rent or going to the doctors it’s an easy decision to make.

    I do wonder what kind of health it leaves the nation as things surely don’t get picked up/diagnosed early as you’re going to hang on until your really sick before handing over your hard earned money.

    Of course health insurance companies prosper here as a result (some have ludicrously high premiums) and so then people lucky enough to be able to afford insurance almost self-diagnose and go all out to have dental or optical work to try and scrape a bit of cash back.

    I’ve not lived in America (where obviously the situation is even more exaggerated) where people’s wealth also dictates their health and the poor have virtually no healthcare.

    It would take a cleverer person than me to work it all out, but as I walked away from my eight year olds, four minute appointment which I knew had cost me £25 (the doctor instantly prescribed antibiotics of course) I really wished we had the NHS.

    p.s good luck with your healthy living 🙂

Got something to say?

Some html is OK

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.