For the majority of people in the UK, having a GP is the gateway to accessing some of the best medical care in the world.
A recent British Medical Association survey found eight out 10 NHS GPs said they struggled to provide safe, effective care because of heavy workload.
According to the Royal College of General Practitioners: “General practitioners/family doctors … are personal doctors, primarily responsible for the provision of comprehensive and continuing care to every individual seeking medical care irrespective of age, sex and illness. They care for individuals in the context of their family, their community, and their culture, always respecting the autonomy of their patients… In negotiating management plans with their patients they integrate physical, psychological, social, cultural and existential factors, utilising the knowledge and trust engendered by repeated contacts…”
However, with an ageing population and a decline in the healthcare workforce, patients are frequently frustrated that they are unable to have the continuity of care with a doctor that knows them and their unique circumstances.
In order to meet demand, a huge variety of options are now available, from NHS Walk-In Clinics, to GP “polyclinics”, online health services and GP out of hours “hubs”. Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly difficult for patients to see an experienced doctor who has the time to get to know them in the context of their “…psychological, social, cultural and existential factors…”
In my opinion, having a properly funded and adequately staffed health service which is free at the point of use is what should be aspired to. The reality is that demand is outstripping supply, and for some patients, having access to a private medical service provides the reassurance that their health care needs are being fully addressed.
The healthcare model used by Northwood Surgery is based on the traditional family doctor service. We offer expertise, continuity of care and enough time to engage with our patients, keeping the core principles of the Royal College of GPs as the basis of what we do. In addition, we work in collaboration with allied health professional and specialists, and in many cases with the NHS GP to enable our patients to achieve the best possible outcomes for their health and wellbeing.
I hope that our NHS will somehow manage to survive the political and social changes our country is facing. The staff who work in the NHS are excellently trained, dedicated and caring, but just crying out for more resources.
One could also argue that private healthcare is creating a two tier system.
My view is that patients who are in a position to pay for healthcare should have the option to see a private doctor, and this in turn might relieve the pressure on NHS GPs and services.
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Same day appointments are often available and evening home visits can also be booked for your convenience..