Interview with Dr R Thakkar and Dr S Zaidi
I was fortunate enough to be able to interview two GPs, both of whom have been working for the NHS for over 10 years. Below are the questions I asked them with their responses.
What time do you start and finish work?
It varies because the normal working hours are from 8:00-18:30 but it can be extended until up to 21:00, sometimes without any notice beforehand.
How many patients do you see on average in a day?
We both see a total of about 45-55 patients a day. That includes phone calls and home visits as well as appointments.
When you first arrive at work what do you do?
We turn the computer on and then we check the blood test results and prescriptions. Then we look at what we have been set to do for the day.
Do you have time for a lunch break, if so for how long?
No, we used to have lunch breaks 7-8 years ago for up to an hour but now we do not get a chance as we usually need to check through some prescriptions for a patient.
Do you do anything specific before you leave work?
We check if anything urgent has come through that we need to do such as an important, last minute home visit or an appointment.
Have you ever had to stay past your normal finishing hour?
Yes, we have had to stay for many reasons such as if another GP is ill or there is an emergency. I (Dr Zaidi) have had to stay later many times for last minute elderly patient home visits.Nowadays there is much more reliance on GPs to stay behind after their finishing hours to take care of urgent things coming through from patients.
Do you personally think that the NHS is being overused?
We do think that the NHS is being overused on many levels. It is mainly the very high expectations put on GPs by the government.
Do you think any changes should be made to the NHS and how it runs?
We think that more funding should be put into the NHS and all patients, nurses and staff should work towards a common goal. Patients need to be much more responsible for their own health and we should put out more education about how people can take care of themselves. We also need to change the public’s expectations on the NHS and stop people thinking that it is ok not to turn up for an appointment without calling the front desk beforehand. More value should also be put into the service and it shouldn’t be just taken for granted.
As you can see, GPs are under a lot of strain and pressure and something should be done to help them with their jobs. We are the ones relying on them with our health and not taking responsibility for it ourselves. There are several ways we can take responsibility for our own health including watching what we eat and staying fit by doing regular exercise.