Wide variation in what people expect from their family doctor, says Voluntary Action North Lincs
HOW easy is it to get an appointment at your local GP surgery?
A recently published report on research carried out in 2012 shows that while people have different experiences in different practices, many experience difficulties in booking appointments.
Some cannot get through on the phone. Some surgeries do not offer booking in advance, making it especially difficult for people who have a busy schedule.
One point which shone out from the research was that cheerful, friendly reception staff can make the whole experience so much more pleasant than it might have been. Some surgeries have lovely staff and their patients would probably forgive any lapses in service.
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In addition, on the whole, people who responded to the survey were very happy with the care they received from medical staff.
However, continuity of care was very important to some people and on occasion the appointment systems did not allow them to see the same doctor through a course of treatment.
People have varying expectations of their GP.
Many of us expect, or would like to have, a "Dr Finlay" who comes out to our homes whenever we are ill at all hours of the day and night and seven days a week.
For the younger ones, Dr Finlay was a TV doctor who knew his patients and their families, who delivered their babies and was there when they died.
In reality, many modern GP practices have many thousands of patients, which makes the personal service most people would like almost impossible.
Many people clearly do not realise that they are no longer registered with a specific GP but rather with the practice. Although this does not mean that you cannot request to see a GP of your choice, the doctor of your choice may not always be available.
GP practices are no longer funded to provide out-of-hours services for urgent medical problems, as they did in the past.
These services are now supplied by a variety of providers, including the Market Hill 8 to 8 Centre, which provides general medical services to registered and unregistered patients Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm, the out-of-hours GP services based at Scunthorpe General Hospital, pharmacies and the new NHS 111 phone line.
If anyone requires a copy of the report, e-mail who.cares@ vanl.org.uk or visit www.who-cares- online.org.uk