One woman rang her GP, wanting a letter to get the council to mow her grass. Another asked for one to prove she was fit to take part in a world record attempt to squeeze as many people as possible into a Mini.
A third merely wanted a letter to excuse their child from having to queue for attractions at a holiday park.
You may think t hese are extracted from Ripley’s Believe It or Not, but in fact they’re real-life examples of calls fielded on a daily basis by GP surgeries here.
A combination of spiralling hospital waiting lists and a shortage of GPs has prompted complaints that patients can make 50 or even 100 calls before getting through. But these inappropriate — not to say bizarre — demands are making it more difficult for the genuinely unwell to seek treatment.
People — especially when distressed — can become honestly confused about who to ring about medical issues.
The overwhelming majority are not asking for special favours and would be horrified to think they were causing a fuss.
But thoughtless waste of GP surgeries’ time is merely adding to the pressure on the health service — additional pressure it can well do without.