Found out why this week.
My local surgery has a new system. Under the old system, you rang up for an appointment and were given a date approximately two weeks in the future, by which time your ruptured appendix would probably have sorted itself out one way or another. Now, they only give appointments for the day you ring up.
Superb on paper. Swift turnover etc. The drawback is that you have to start phoning at 8:30 when the surgery opens (five minutes after you really should have left for work, if you're me) or all the slots will go. Now when I get into work first thing all I want to do is grab a coffee and have a leisurely peruse of my e-mail and my bookmarked online cartoons. My heart bleeds for the receptionists who open up shop to find the phone already jumping off the hook.
So you use BT Ringback (...press 5. You may be charged for this service) and pounce on the phone as soon as it triple-rings only to find the line is engaged again already, and after a few rounds of this you finally get a slot at some random inconvenient time. You ring work and explain that you'll be in several hours late because of a doctor's appointment. No, you're not actually ill right this minute, and no you couldn't give them advance warning because you had no idea when you might be seen or if indeed you would be seen at all.
This makes it even less likely that you will see your own GP, the one to whom you were assigned as a new patient. I've never even met my last three GPs; every so often I get a letter to say that 'my' doctor has left the practice and a new incumbent will be unavailable to me in the future. The latest instalment arrived a matter of weeks ago and promptly went on two months' leave.
I eventually get an appointment with a Nurse Practitioner.
"Is that like a doctor?" I ask suspiciously, not being familiar with this term.
"Well, she can write prescriptions."
So, it would seem, can half the spammers in my inbox.
[I don't really wish to diss the NHS. I think they do a smashing job and I can't imagine living in a country without free/affordable public healthcare. But their administration and organisation seem to concoct cockup after cockup. Lions led by donkeys, our GPs and nurses.
Oh, and the title is from a Get Smart episode, Classification: Dead. One of my all-time faves.]