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Is your GP still refusing to see patients face to face?
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Our family doctors are the gatekeepers to all our health needs. They wield so much power. For two years, I believed my GP when she told me my stomach aches – which did keep coming back – were not my appendix. I believed them when they saw no need for me to go to hospital. I bitterly regret having trusted them. I’m now back at work.
I get stomach pain if I eat bread or pasta, so I have decided to cut out gluten, which seems to be working. My GP surgery is still not seeing patients face-to-face except for what it calls ‘urgent’ cases. It’s terrifying to contemplate how ill you might have to get to be considered ‘urgent’.
I have written to the surgery, not because I want to cause trouble or seek compensation, but because I want them to learn from their mistakes. I await the outcome of their next ‘learning from practice’ meeting.
Dr Steve Mowle, spokesman for the Royal College of General Practitioners, and a GP at a different surgery in South London, said: ‘We are sorry to hear of cases where patients feel they have not been able to get the care they need, particularly when GPs are working flat-out and delivering record numbers of consultations – nearly 14 million in the last four weeks.
‘General practice was under huge pressure before the pandemic but we are now at crisis point and don’t have enough GPs to meet demand.’
A crisis indeed. When an American friend and a French friend heard of my ordeal both said, independently of one another: ‘This would never happen in my country.’ Unfounded jingoism? Perhaps. But if you heard of this happening in the US or France, would you rush to say it could never happen here? I doubt it.
Covid Q&A: Are hospitals filling up and will freedom be delayed?
Q: Are Covid-19 hospital admissions rising?
A: On Thursday, Public Health England published data revealing a slight increase in Covid-19 hospitalisations over the previous two weeks. Last week, there were 923 patients in hospital due to the virus in the UK, up from 895 two weeks ago. The number of people seriously ill on ventilators also rose across the same period, from 124 to 136. It was always expected that these figures would increase when lockdown eased, as a significant number of people have yet to be vaccinated.