What the hell is it with doctors in the UK?

I live in France. If I want to see my doctor, I go and sit in his waiting room and sooner or later, he calls me in and I get his sage advice. I pay him the euro equivalent of about six quid. He gets another payment from the government and I get most of my six quid back from the peeps who administer my social security thingies.

I keep reading about a wait of two, or even three weeks, for peeps in the UK to see a doctor. What gives?

OK, so my quack is absolutely useless, but if there was something *seriously* wrong with me, I'd like to think he would pass me on to someone more knowledgeable. So, from that point of view, he is of some use, but why can't the UK adopt a similar system - is it this endlessly repeated mantra of: 'Free at the point of delivery', that is holding things back.

I despair for many of you guys :-(

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32 Replies

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  • The problems were explained by our GP yesterday, funding has been cut, many GPs are at retiring age and as doctors now don't want to be GPs there is nobody to fill the vacancies. Our surgery is down from 12 docs to 5 who still have to see the same number of patients. They are just as frustrated as the patients but they don't have a magic wand to fix an impossible situation.

  • And yet, it is a very highly paid profession: £100k plus, as I understand it! If only I had an income anywhere near that. Anywhere near...

  • Yes I agree. It's disgusting how we get treated

  • overpaid.A middle aged GP lives in my village and works just 3 days a week and has stated that he hates his job!

  • They get highly paid as hospital doctors but with less stress or in another profession with their qualifications.

    I've spoken to some GPs socially and they work part-time as it is either that or leaving general practice as they need to stay sane. They are fed up of dealing with social problems that present as mental health problems when a large part of the problem is someone's "sh***y" housing, disability benefit problems, work situation or family relationships. They also find where they think the situation is serious and the patient needs specialist help immediately especially with mental health that it is extremely difficult to refer patients on.

    I've been treated by GP trainees who have basically said to me that they are leaving General Practice and going into another area of medicine. This is a shame as they tend to be the ones who have helped me.

    I've also spoken to police officers and they say similar e.g. they are fed up of dealing with social and mental health problems as they aren't social workers or medical professionals.

  • Over here in finland it's the same story. I have kindly offered my humble opinion and told them that this current system keeps rotating same patients in the system over and over again. No wonder the money is low!

    My dad for example had to go to doctors gazillion of times for number of years because they couldn't just diagnose psoriasis, which he obviously has from head to toes! You have to be blind not to see it as he has the most severe one.

    So after fighting for years they burnt his skin with UV, had him on metothexrate which ruined his kidneys and now he is on antibiotics for 9 months to get rid of latent tuberculosis so he can have biological meds which by the way cost a lot and he has to pay for them because he doesn't have proper diagnosis! !!!!

    During past 10 years he has been to doctors 70 times, gotten tons of blood tests, now weekly!

    So. My humble opinion is that treat patients well at once. It saves up money. Seriously.

    :D

  • I guess you have a bit similar system than Norway and Sweden. Finland is moving to similar type of system but we are against it as it brings in multinational health companies. I can't understand why we have to try a system that is determined to fail :( but our prime minister ,who is by the way complete tool , has this megalomaniac personality and he wants it to be the best system in the world ever.

    That is why finland is failing big time. We want to be good on paper!

    Our system now is quite similar than in UK. It takes forever to get to doctors and you have to fight for referrals.

  • Justina. Politics appears to have overtaken good sense. I daresay politicians have the resources to get the best possible care, while the rest of us suffer...

  • Exactly! That's why it's wrong only those who have money can put up a campaign.

    If we would live real democracy we should have politicians with normal/difficult background as well. Those who have experienced real life.

  • Some members of society get better treatment just due to the job they do.

    You aren't going to treat say an MP, a high court judge, a hospital consultant or senior manager of a NHS trust badly as they can either put in a complaint about you and it will be taken seriously due to their position, or if they are a politician can work to implement a policy that is detrimental to you.

  • Same system in Australia it works quite well, but while i deplore the many issues of the NHS as an entity aside its done so much good but its not fit for purpose now its lost its soul.

  • It may have lost its soul in some areas, but in other areas it is fantastic; and many get excellent treatment and services from it. But things are bad and its very worrying. The current government want rid of it; they don't like it, cos they don't have to use it.

  • Plenty of doctors at my surgery, but most only seem to work half the week - 2 and a half days! There are husband and wife docs - half a week each - £100k and still complaining...

  • It's because England (perhaps the UK) is virtually bankrupt.

  • We are not virtually bankrupt; we have loads of bloody money; the government just tell lies. And spend money on the wrong things ; eg giving billions to other countries and corrupt countries at that.

  • I was going to write more but thought my reply would be taken down as too political :-( Not really sure we have loads of bloody money - I agree it gets wasted and given away.

  • We have massive debts - but counries all run on debt as far as I can see and have for decades.

  • The wait to see my GP /any GP at the practice is usually a month! And then, you feel so rushed (10 minutes ) Most of the GP's there only work part time. Its diabolical. If you need an urgent appt though, you will be seen on the day but may have to go to a different surgery. I live in London.

  • I think our lot hope that by the time you get your appointment you'll have died or recovered. And they wonder why people go to A&E.

  • Yes, they are paid very high salaries and always moaning.

  • When I was a child (although born further north so I can only remember doctors visiting the house) I was brought up in the midlands and we always went to wait in the surgery until we were called in to see the doctor.

    I don't remember having to wait days even after marrying and the appointment systems came in.

    I have a wonderful surgery just round the corner where I live now, in West Sussex. It is a teaching surgery and we can call or ask the doctor to call us at any time. If the doctor decides he needs to see you he will ask you to go in on the same day.

    I agree that you can have an appointment made for a few days but that's only for anything non-urgent. If you make it clear why you want to be seen then they will do everything they can to see you asap.

  • Wow, you are lucky. Yes, i remember when i was a kid, the Doctor would come to the House. It seems like the last few years things have got alot worse regarding waiting times. Also at my GP, though you can see any doctor you like; they do not like it; and the doctors don't seem to have as much empathy as they used to. Just yesterday i went, and it was immediately mentioned about 'the list' i had . I waited a month for the appointment!! Now, i have had to make another appointment for another issue. Its a sorry state of affairs.

  • Sounds like you have to move house, come down here where it's lovely and right next to the sea...well, channel anyway. Lol

  • I wish!!

  • I live in Scotland, in Glasgow, and have never had to wait more than a couple of days for an appointment. If its an emergency they invariably manage to shoehorn something in even if its just a call from the GP.

    Fingers crossed things don't change.

  • Wow, you are also lucky!

  • Getting the appointment is the easy bit - getting the point across and in the time you have is the hard bit......!

  • Especially when the GP is busy looking at their screen and not listening to what you are saying!

  • As I have said before, my father-in-law is a retired surgeon. He is 85 now, but still gives his time, free-of-charge to a special group of patients he has looked after for over half a lifetime. He despairs at the way things are, indeed, he spent many years on the road visiting patients he had operated on after their surgery. He zipped about the country; his family saw very little of him for many years. His opinion is that peeps are going into medicine more for the money these days. In his day, medicine was a calling; one had a moral and professional duty to do your best for your patients; money had little to do with it. Someone earlier said the NHS had lost its soul. In all honesty, is it not that society at large has, too? Yes, there are pockets of excellence, but, I fear, they are few and far between.

  • It certainly seems like its all about the money; we had wonderful GP's as a child; would go above and beyond.

  • Your father-in-law sounds like a lovely, caring man.

  • He is, Ellie :-)

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