Trust me, I’m a doctor: In-person GP appointments save lives and must return

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TookEst week a receptionist saved a patient’s life. He put her directly into a face-to-face appointment at the start of the day. I saw him and immediately sent him to A&E (any doctor would do the same). He was operated on later that day and survived.

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I did tell the receptionist. Being a receptionist is a special responsibility. I couldn’t do it. He is given an impossible task, to fit a large number of patients into a small number of slots, and has to remain calm. When the slots run out – which is sometimes by 9 a.m. – they then have to persuade one of the doctors, who is already at the end of their tether, to add any patients they want. Especially include in your list.

So it is not surprising that when demand for appointments fell by 30 percent in the early stages of the pandemic, some very stressed and overworked GPs found that their lives were much better without patients. And now that the hiring levels have finally gone back to normal (by May 2021), some are finding it very difficult to cope with the demand.


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