Ladies and gentlemen, our glorious NHS

Today, I turned up at my local surgery, Forest Health Care in Ruardean, for a routine appointment at 1:20 pm. Except it turns out that the centre shuts down for the day at lunchtime, so it was deserted when I got there. Evidently I took down the appointment time or date wrong.

So far, so dumb.

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When I got home, I wanted to email the surgery to tell them what I’d done, apologise if I’d missed the correct appointment time, and ask when I should come if in fact the correct date is still in the future.

But they seem to have no email address.

Well, it’s 2015, so that seems a bit stupid. Making phone-calls is not particularly convenient for me, but OK, it was my dumb mistake, so I’ll just go ahead and do it.

I call the surgery number, but there’s no-one there (obviously)  also aso no machine to make my message, But that’s OK, because there is a separate out-of-hours number.

I call the separate out-of-hours number. I get a recorded message saying, and I quote:

The out-of-hours service operates between 6:30 pm and 8 am weekdays, and all weekend. Please telephone your surgery number.

Because … I dunno, maybe their answering machine needs a rest?

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So it seems that there is literally no way to contact my surgery on Friday afternoon. Neither by email, nor by either of the two telephone numbers.

Happily, of course, our government has a solution to this problem: require NHS surgeries to be available seven days a week while cutting their funding in real terms and imposing a new contract on junior doctors that is so awful that 98% of them voted to to strike.

Looks like Dave and George have got it all sorted!

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