Key Message, What Great Value General Practice Is

Here’s a reflection.

Today, my wife and I locked ourselves out of the house. Silly mistake; we left the key in the wrong side of the door, and it shut behind us.

So, following a rather poorly conceived attempt to fish the key out the lock with a bit of stout wire, I called a locksmith.

He turned up three quarters of an hour later, put a gadget through the letter box, and opened the door. It took him about three seconds, and he charged us £60. I thought that was fair enough.

I left the house and went to do a home visit of my own; a rewarding one, which involved some chronic disease management, a bit of social care, and an incidental check on a spouse.

The care I give that patient – and which I am delighted to give, and which I enjoy giving – encompassed eleven visits since Christmas, alongside correspondence, test results, working with consultants and district nurse colleagues, meeting with a social worker and also involved two other GPs here, our admin team and our nurse.

Her care for an entire year from our practice costs the NHS about twice what the locksmith charged me.

Primary care is a good deal for the NHS, and a good deal for the patients we look after. This election, look past the empty soundbites, and the policitcal grandstanding, and ask yourself whether you feel that it’s going to be in good hands come May.

Dr James Booth