I don’t have a huge amount to do with our NHS and health care system, I am under a specialist for my Arthritis and in between bouts of hockey retirement, I pop to Mount Vernon in Northwood for the odd break or pain. This amount of usage though is considerably more than my friends who have often gone years without visiting their local GP and have to re-register to get an appointment.
The service at Mount Vernon is amazing as you pop in, practically no one else is there as they are all visiting the local A & E for their blocked nose, you are seen by a knowledgeable nurse who then refers you to an X-ray straight away and subsequent treatment.
If you visit a GP now, they are of course extremely pleasant and helpful, but all they do is refer you to someone else, basically the same as a triage nurse but with a several week delay follow up and layers of admin (cost).
It strikes me as increasingly bizarre that if you need a blood test, despite the Chalfont’s Hospital being just over the road and the medical centre having a nurse (surely the GP has the skills), you have to go back home, try and phone for an appointment a few weeks later (the phone lines are also always engaged since they outsourced it), then go back or chase them for the results (unless something is wrong and they are very good indeed and phone of course). It is also frustrating trying to make an appointment with your GP as the secretary seems to go for lunch for two hours, just as you want to make the appointment.
I’m not sure of Mount Vernon’s blood testing arrangements as I’ve never used it, but it seems bizarre that you have a whole layer of admin processes simply to book a blood test. The same I assume is also true for an Xray which is also available at the Chalfont Hospital.
Surely it would make more sense for the local GP surgeries to be closed down (GX, CSP & CSG) and merge them into the hospital which has only a fraction of its space used (yes I know it has a load of asbestos but that can be sorted) – probably losing a few GPs along the way saving further money and making money by selling the existing GP sites.
The vast majority of people don’t need to see the same GP so just turning up to a health clinic like Mount Vernon and waiting for an appointment makes absolute sense. It could also open from 6am to Midnight meaning you’d take pressure off the A & E at Wexham or save patients having to make the long haul to Stoke Mandeville.
I this is incredibly simplistic and the easiest response is to say no to change, but surely this is the way forward and could be readily replicated across the regions. I know not all areas are lucky enough to have their own historical hospital to hand but this system would save layers of admin, create a quicker more responsive service all at lower cost and efficiency?