NHS needs to use its resources better
Mark Ellingham's letter (Write Back, October 12), concerning his less-than-happy visit to his GP, is not the same as my own.
My GP practice offers a walk-in service every day, with an average wait of one hour. The longest I ever wait for a scheduled appointment is three days.
I make this observation not as a counter to Mr Ellingham's experience, but to underscore the inconsistency in the way primary care is delivered.
Rather than GPs scaremongering about the collapse of their service, where is the innovative thinking from primary care, which could improve the service now without constantly defaulting to the panacea of more money?
The same applies to hospitals. We constantly hear of the long waiting lists for outpatient appointments.
My late mother, in her late-80s, suffered from heart failure which was managed perfectly well by her GP, yet she was still called every six months for a consultant's review.
Getting to and from the appointment was an ordeal and on the third visit I queried if these appointments were really necessary. The immediate answer was "no" and, in less than five minutes, an outpatient appointment was freed up for someone else.
There must be thousands of people managing their conditions well in the community who would be happy to free up similar review appointments - if they were asked.
Also, is everything at the front line of service delivery really efficient? Recently a close relative, after a period in hospital (where the crisis in nursing provision is obvious), was finally discharged home with a care package.
Happily he no longer needs it and, in the aftermath, I cleared three large shopping bags of bandages, creams, drugs and other medical paraphernalia, which had been dispensed by prescription or left by the community nurses.
I returned these to a local pharmacist, who advised that, due to the contamination risk, none of the sealed supplies could be reused. He was also honest enough to say that this type of waste happened all the time.
I don't believe I am an outlier in my family's experience of health and social care. My overriding take from my family experience, over many years as a family carer, is that with more thought about how services are delivered, great strides in better quality care could be achieved, while freeing up a lot of existing resource provision.
Central to this must be the patient experience in all its guises: good, bad and indifferent.
The constant wail for more money is not the only answer - some professional humility and the exhortation "physician, heal thyself" must also apply.
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