Is it time for a change with getting a doctor’s appointment?
November 15 2022 | News
What is the most precious resource in the NHS? A hospital bed? The latest medicine that can extend the life of a patient with cancer? The surgeon who can perform the hip replacement you have been waiting several years for? I would argue it’s time for a change when it comes to getting a doctor’s appointment at a time that you need it, your medicine being ready to collect at the right time from the pharmacy. Getting the symptoms you are worried about checked out in time to spot cancer symptoms early. Having the time with a doctor to make you feel like you have been listened to.
We are all aware that since the pandemic, the NHS has been under exceptional strain. The UK already had fewer GPs than other comparable OECD countries and this shortage has worsened since the pandemic. NHS staff have worked through an unprecedented period and are now faced with an even higher demand for their services and time.
Everyone would have experienced trying to phone your GP surgery to try to get a doctor’s appointment, only to be told there are none left. This leads to frustration for patients and often when people do manage to get an appointment with their GP, they have several problems they need help with. Unfortunately, GPs have a limited amount of time in an appointment (often 10 minutes) and so trying to deal with multiple problems becomes very difficult and leads to dissatisfaction for the patient and the GP. The patient will end up having to make up a decision, staying with their NHS GP or consider getting their appointment with a private GP?
Why go for a private GP over an NHS GP?
This is a question lots of people may ask. Since the inception of the NHS in 1948, we have been accustomed to having our own GP who we could call on whenever we needed. Since then, the NHS has changed beyond all recognition and GPs are currently providing far more care than they ever did and hospitals are handing over increasing amounts of care to GPs. If you had diabetes 20 years ago, you would have regular appointments at the hospital to manage your condition. Now, most diabetic care takes place in primary care with Practice nurses and GPs. Previously, if you had an operation, you would go back to hospital to have your stitches removed, now most often you will see your GP surgery for this. General physicians in the hospital used to look after people who had multiple medical problems now this is done predominantly by your GP.
The UK has a smaller number of GPs per head than other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development) countries. These GPs receive about £155 in funding per patient per year. Traditional funding was based on most people requiring 4 appointments per year with their GP. Whilst some of you may not have seen your GP in years, some patients may have up to 4 appointments in a week and as the UK population ages more people need to see their doctor more often.
GP practices were under considerable train prior to the pandemic, but since the pandemic, this has worsened. Many GPs and practice staff have been off work with illness themselves further limiting the number of appointments available.
How Summerfield Healthcare can help get you a doctor’s appointment through our private GP service
Seeing a private GP service such as Summerfield Healthcare can help with this. At Summerfield Healthcare, you will be offered an appointment for 15 minutes with a GP if you have one problem to discuss or 30 minutes if you have more than one problem to discuss. This may often be at a time that is more convenient for you.
Lots of people may have seen a specialist privately but the thought of seeing a GP privately may feel unusual. Just like most specialists who work in the private sector Summerfield Healthcare’s GPs all have experience of working as GPs in the NHS and often still do. Just as hospitals have waiting lists most GPs will have to wait for routine appointments. Seeing a private GP can shorten the time you have to wait for an appointment. Whilst not having access to your NHS notes the Summerfield GP can still request blood tests, investigations like scans and x-rays, provide letters to refer you to a specialist or give you a fit note.
Summerfield Health can also provide other private GP services, such as joint injections, minor surgical procedures and health screening appointments.
Going to a new Doctor for the first time can feel intimidating and scary. At Summerfield Healthcare, we have a new purposely designed clinic to help you feel at ease. Friendly reception staff will see you and often ask you to fill out a screening questionnaire to provide the doctors or nurses with all the information they need to ensure that your appointment goes ahead smoothly.
If you are struggling to get an appointment for a cancer screening or to get a boxing medical, you can go and book one straight away with Summerfield Healthcare’s specific private GP services. For any questions about how to book a private GP appointment with us, please contact our team today.