Don't waste GPs' time by handing over purse strings

Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

VERITY LUSH: Leave me to browse the make-up counter in peace

The most any of us wants from our GP is an appointment when we really need it.

Waiting two weeks to see your doctor is pretty annoying, but it's a pretty common experience for a lot of us. Especially if you're unwilling to rob someone more needy of their chance to be seen by taking up an emergency appointment for a pretty mundane health complaint.

I've had reason to see my doctor quite a lot recently. She's been spot-on. But the general overview of my time as a patient hasn't been quite so magical.

Each appointment I've attended has run up to 45 minutes late. That in itself tells you something's not right – and I don't blame the GP or the surgery for going over time. I suspect, under sheer pressure to see as many patients in one day as possible, appointments are dished out at 10-minute intervals.

But we're humans. Most of us can't succinctly put into words what we want for dinner in that time, let alone pinpoint what's troubling us.

I've also had the misfortune of having a phial or two of my blood go missing somewhere between Gosport and Portsmouth, followed by an eight-week wait for a pretty important follow-up appointment – the much-vaunted choice of hospitals, heralded as giving patients better service made no difference to me. It was a choice between being seen in January, or somewhere else a month later.

I don't want the government to waste my GP's time – therefore robbing them of the precious moments they could be seeing their patients – by involving them in the murky world of funding. But that's what the NHS reforms would do.

By all means take away the top-heavy structure of our health service and remove unnecessary management levels.

But don't make things difficult for our GPs by making them responsible for dishing out a large chunk of the NHS's budget.

In my experience, ordinary doctors' surgeries need more time and money. Not more things to keep them occupied.

If they can juggle big budgets while managing to keep hold of my blood samples, and fit me in for an appointment within a reasonable timescale, I'll be happy. But I fear they won't.