Saturday’s child works hard for its living

I’m actually a Wednesday’s Child which means I’m full of woe – at least I was this morning when I had to leave my children to do my first Saturday surgery at the health centre. I wish I could say it was a waste of time, but actually it went quite well. I saw a completely different group of patients from normal. All but two were working adults, and most of them consulted infrequently. Prior to the most recent GP contract, the Saturday surgery was a standard part of the weekly service, and was an emergency surgery – no pre-booked patients – which meant that we were seeing the same patients, usually with minor self limiting conditions. The “new” Saturday surgery is for pre-booked consultations only – the idea is that it improves access to GPs for working people who can’t (or more likely won’t) take time off work during the week.

The other advantage of the new Saturday surgery was how smoothly it went. With no emergencies that might expand a ten minute consultation into a half hour one, no interruptions (the doors were locked so patients had to ring the bell, and the phones were off), and a lovely quiet health centre, it didn’t feel as hectic as a normal week day – even though I saw 50% more patients than I normally do. I’m tired now, though, and need a weekend to recover from my six day week. And I only get a day.

But so far my impression is that the Saturday surgery for routine problems could work quite well. Obviously I’m pretty furious that we have been manipulated into offering them by the threat of a pay cut, but in terms of patient care, I think it could work. Don’t all shout at once.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Saturday’s child works hard for its living

  1. Hmmm.
    I’d like to think that they might work as well as you say – so far at our surgery it very definitely isn’t showing any signs of being that useful. We are just seeing the same people as the rest of the time – and not many of them. The same in the evenings.
    Since we HAVE to do it though I’d prefer it if it was actually useful. But then I wouldn’t want anyone in government to be thinking they’d had a good idea (where would it end?) so, on balance, I’d probably prefer it to go pear shaped….!

  2. docjock

    I am pleased that you felt it was worthwhile to some extent, but I think extended hours, which have been “forced” on GPs, are a step too far. In fact, in this part of Scotland, the great majority of practices, mine included, have chosen to take the pay cut rather than go along with another government initiative, designed only to win votes. So we don’t “have” to do it.

  3. smudge

    Hmmm too!

    I’m a patient who is a working adult and I’ve chosen to work some 45 min drive from where I live and where my GP surgery is so I guess I should be thinking that this is a good idea. And I suppose it is. It would be nice to be able to schedule my smear tests and asthma review clinics during these ‘commuter’ surgeries but as those mainly involve nurses and not GP’s I doubt that’ll happen and I’m not really asking for that either!

    As a patient I could benefit from this service but I recognise that my GP is also a human being who works hard, is a good clinician and does a pretty fine job. And, that’s what I really want. If these services work for some GPs and their patients and it’s beneficial for patient care then fine and I’m glad Saturday wasn’t a waste of time for you NLD.

    But, I’m still to be convinced because as a human being, I don’t like having to work late nights or Saturdays. OK, sometimes I do have to but not because the government has told me I must or take a pay cut; forces me to to go on a rota with my colleagues to do either an evening or Saturday every 3 weeks like my GP does. I wouldn’t want to do this, so why should I expect my GP to do so.

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