Ten day wait for Horsham doctors’ surgery


Having been a patient of the Park Surgery for well over fifty years, I cannot fault the treatment I have received from hard working GPs along with their ancillary staff.

That said, this morning (January 26) I was told by my local pharmacist that the surgery in question was working ten days in arrears.

When I moved to Horsham in 1967, doctors at the then North Street Practice tended to first examine the patient rather than a computer screen and were willing to visit their patients at home if and when considered necessary.

Being allocated to a particular doctor enabled a patient to build up a strong personal relationship over time with their chosen medico who in turn could often identify the cause and possible remedy of a particular ailment without referral to a hospital. That was before the advent of the computer.

Today, to gain an appointment with one’s allocated doctor, it is possible to wait up to ten days or more and consequently the close doctor/patient relationship has become increasingly impersonal.

As with so many other areas in life, technology has taken over from human relationships. Add to this the influx of so many families who are fleeing the capital and beyond in search of a perceived rural idyll - and one has an insoluble problem - massive house building in this area of Sussex - without the necessary infrastructure and essential medical facilities.

That said, it now seems that the NHS is about to go digital with GP appointments by video chat, symptom-checking online tools and a new NHS app on the way. In short, diagnosis by smart phone.

As one patient commented, ‘I found the system - designated, ‘GP at Hand’ useful for setting up quick initial consultations, but it was frustrating having to explain my health background to a different GP each time. And it’s not ideal if they really want a good look at you’.

A thorough physical examination by your GP during your allocated ten minute appointment - can that really be true?

All this sounds like an extract from Aldous Huxley’s ground breaking book,‘Brave New World’ and accounts for the fact that so many members of my generation are saying, ‘I’m so glad I was born when I was’.

When reviewing Huxley’s work, the author, J.B. Priestley, commented, ‘Not a work for tender minds and weak stomachs’. The same comment could also apply to the future NHS which has become a substitute religion in our increasingly secular age.

Robert B. Worley

Bourns Court, Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham