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Friday, 29 April 2005 16:11
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Can’t see a doctor when we need one
On a BBC Question Time Special on Thursday 28th April 2005 all three main party leaders appeared separately to answer questions that were put forward by a public audience.

One of the main points that were raised by the audience was making an appointment to see their doctor claiming they were unable to book GP appointments more than two days in advance because of Government targets.

Mr Tony Blair the Labour leader said he was "astonished" when the complaint was put forward by one audience member, Diana Church.

She said: "You can't make the appointment in a week because you are only allowed to make it 48 hours beforehand.

"You have to sit on the phone for three hours in the morning trying to get an appointment because you are not allowed to ask for the appointment before that because by making it 48 hours beforehand they are meeting the government's target." When others in the audience joined in, Mr Blair said: "That is news to me”.

He admitted this interpretation of the targets was "absurd" and said he would look into it.

Health Secretary John Reid said the problem affected only 3.6% of surgeries, but could still involve several patients.

Mr Reid said: "The situation is transformed and far better than it was seven years ago when the vast majority of people could not even see a doctor in eight to 10 days”.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, the chairman of the British Medical Association's GP committee, also said the targets skewed priorities.

On the GP targets, he said: "We've always felt that this has been a crude target which has distorted priorities...

"It has rather taken away from GPs what they always used to do which was to prioritise appointments on the basis of need”.
   


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Comment from Anonymous Visitor
In Kenilworth one surgery closes on Friday lunch times and doesn't re-open until Monday morning, so more than 48 hours can pass without access to a patient's surgery. It is therefore impossible to ring on Monday mornings for an appointment due to the number of people wanting to ring for an appointment.
30 April 2005, 11:48
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