GPs to be accessible 7 days a week

January 17, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

Anthony Devlin/PA



Hazel Speed

Although there are many facets of socio-medical care, at least Mrs May has made a start by her latest remarks in that she will enforce GP’s surgeries to remain open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm as long as there are patients wishing appointments.

Aha! How will that be quantified and by whom though? No doubt those who cannot be afforded such facility will duly complain to one Authority or another and it will get back to the Prime Minister.

This new ‘arrangement’ would, in principle at least, allow early and/or late appointments for workers, and mid morning and afternoon appointments for non-workers.

What about current situations where pensioners, most elderly or infirm, presently have to stand in outdoor queues until surgery opens, register, take a seat and wait as in a hospital appointment environment? Not easy for the sick or elderly to do as it involves, for most, getting up hours earlier than they normally would then take a bus journey to the GP, thus leaving the patient ill all day regardless of the reason they wanted to see a GP in the first place.

Another factor relates to telephone screening by receptionists with whom patients have to discuss the virtues of their cause and the receptionists decide whether a GP calls the patient back anytime from 8am to 8pm, alternatively, whether the matter is of sufficient importance to be delegated an appointment time for that day or another. Remind me, some have asked, how many years of medical school did they attend? Many patients only want to impart certain if not all issues directly to a GP which is their right, whether or not the same is respected in those terms by other parties.

One other important point is the ‘call out’ to visit patients who are too ill to get to the surgery despite the hard sell over the phone that they do so.

Obviously, such patients will still inevitably resort to being taken to hospital (regardless of what quality it may or may not be by experience or reputation), but then a black report will no doubt be sent to the Government snitching on the GP’s surgery if a patient had no other resources made available. So get ready, hospitals may soon be asking pertinent questions of that nature.

Pity it could not be reciprocated by GPs – ‘some of our patients would rather die at home than go to hospital A, B, or C’. This new GP’s service may just provide opportunity and enlightening facility to assist the Government!

We are told, to be fair to GPs that most are dedicated, work hard and long hours, and some look so tired at times that we, as patients, often show and express to them our concern regarding their own health, albeit not completely altruistic as one half of us does not wish to lose an excellent GP.

Rottweiler receptionists may improve their tone with this new arrangement as they will not have to keep the patients away so much when the phone rings and they may now always answer a ring before 40 rings are counted necessitating the caller to abort countless attempts to get through.

Receptionists also come in all types and an excellent aptitude for common sense will expedite efficiency of matters as well as ensuring appeased and contentedly assisted patients.

Various professional groups are saying that there are so many vacancies unfilled as many medical people do not want to go into General Practice. This gives food for thought on two points:-


  1. Hopefully, to enter the medical profession requires it to be a call of Vocation and thereafter to one area of work or another. It may be that within overall training each new Doctor has to give part of same to a GP surgery after they qualify. That way different levels of experience can be staggered beforehand.

Note:  I saw one newly qualified GP once who really had no idea about a thing and I considered myself more qualified.


  1. Salary. Going back over a decade I was astounded to learn of the salary of the average GP with weekends off – well above that of the Prime Minister at that time.



America has ‘candy stripers’ trainee nurses in hospitals (so-called by their distinctive uniforms), the UK should enable those in the last year of schooling to work part time in a similar capacity, should they wish (I believe some do in certain geographical areas but mostly just to watch with little if any interaction with patients). Then, if mutually relevant can also fast track those with interest in becoming doctors.

Local Councils could pay for training of one GP for each town as long as they commit to serve a mutually acceptable period of time, back in that town, when they become a fully qualified doctor.

Out of Hours Doctors when GP surgeries close is a further facet to be tackled as many hospital admissions are through the night. Once again Paramedics and Out of Hours Doctors have certain rules ‘legitimate’ or sometimes they just say they have.

Some of us are old enough to recall that if one was taken/sent to hospital, regardless of the hour, one’s own GP went also, then they visit their patient when they were there for a number of days or weeks. Upon the same day a patient returned home the GP then visited them there.

At least hats off to Mrs May that if she pulls this new ruling off then a good start will have been made and perhaps one thing that could become a thing of the past is the statement – ‘take two asprins/paracetamol and go to bed’.









Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

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