Cathy Dobbs: GP changes welcome . . . but watch out for the queue

I switched to a different GP practice two years ago. What tempted me to change?

Well, it was one fairly simple thing – the fact that you could book appointments through an app.

My former doctor’s surgery does the 8am phone rush for appointments, which is not only frustrating but practically impossible for most parents. At 8am in the morning I’m ensuring breakfast is being eaten, checking that the school uniform my son wore the day before looks half decent and seeing if swimming kit, PE kit etc needs packing.

No parent can pay attention to a phone as well, especially to keep on pressing ‘redial’ when all you get is an engaged tone. It’s much better to go on the app, select what day you want the appointment, see what’s available, and book yourself in.

Now the Government has announced that GP receptionists will assess appointments and become ‘care navigators’. As if receptionists have all the time in the world to be chatting with everyone that calls. Prepare to hear the words ‘You are number 75 in the queue’ next time you call your surgery.

Last week I talked about my son’s fear of dogs and how difficult it can be when we’re out of the house.

Some people countered this by saying how antisocial children are – and I agree. There are just as many out of control kids as there are dogs. The thing is, a tantruming three-year-old is annoying, but it won’t land you in hospital. Dogs have teeth and claws – over 10 years there have been 69 dog-related deaths in England and Wales.

The problem with badly behaved children comes when they carry on as teenagers – that’s when it becomes terrifying. In the census’s 10-year report (2009-2018), 109 of the 1,435 women killed by men were mothers killed by sons, while 11 grandmothers were killed by grandsons over the decade.

An investigation has shown many young people join gangs because of no, or a lack of, family qualities in their life. Are the parents to blame? Yes, but this is society’s problem as well.

What is it about the minority always wanting to spoil things for the majority? An incredible 20 million people tuned in to watch the coronation and this weekend we’ve shown the world, again, just what an incredible country we are. For just a moment, can we spare a thought for the miserable anti-royalists that have been unable to relax and join in the fun? Right, that’s enough of that – let the merrymaking continue!

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