The independent London newspaper

A robot could have provided the service I received

01 April, 2021

‘The onset of the Covid pandemic seems to have been weaponised by my GP surgery’

• OVER the last year my experience of trying to contact a GP has been that it is not only difficult but strewn with obstacles.

The onset of the Covid pandemic seems to have been weaponised by my GP surgery to end all interaction with patients.

On phoning the surgery one is met by a lengthy message about Covid strenuously insisting that under no circumstances should one attempt to see a doctor at the surgery.

A website is the way to contact them. Alas not only is this website confusing to use it is useless as a substitute for the human exchange.

In my recent attempts two emails requesting prescriptions and two “e-consult” submissions were simply ignored; as was a request from my chemist.

I resorted to the phone. I was told I had phoned at the wrong time. I phoned at the right time to find I was number 35 in the queue.

Three-and-a-half hours later I was triaged by a receptionist who decided that I was worthy of a phone consultation which would be the next day.

So a week after my initial efforts. a doctor, whom I had never heard of, and who obviously had no idea about me, phoned and decided to change my medication of seven years.

I have had to visit the surgery for a test. I observed that the receptionists, admin staff, nurses and other ancillary staff were all working as normal.

They are apparently made of sterner stuff than doctors, who in my experience have always observed social distancing in their surgeries even before the pandemic.

I am willing to bet folding money on this state of affairs being continued after the Covid-19 pandemic. A robot, suitably programmed, could have provided the service I have received at much less cost.



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