Out damned vermiform appendage, vestigial digester of cellulose

22 Oct

Can I please have £80,000 a year and do nothing in return except stoke anxiety and undermine maternal instincts?

What exactly is a GP for? Seriously? In the not too distant 1990s it would have been nigh on impossible to get past the A&E (ER) receptionst without a letter from your GP confirming your eligibility to attend hospital. Unless it was a real and sudden emergency of course. I’ve visited on-call GPs in the middle of the night just to get the letter that would allow me to take my not critical but worryingly sick child to hospital. Or not, as sometimes all I (we) needed was my judgement validated, a quick “you’re doing great” and a bottle of free Calpol.

GPs don’t work outside 9-5 anymore, even if you can barely stand you don’t get a house-call. And most importantly, A&E will see you for non-emergencies without the coveted of old GP referral letter. So I ask again, what are they for?

My big boy’s not been well since Tuesday, either he ate something or caught something, whatever, as far as I can tell it’s a tummy-bug so I’ve restricted him to a slow intake of liquids until it clears itself up. Not that he’s at all hungry.  This morning found him symptom free but still experiencing a lot of abdominal pain. It was surprisingly easy to get a GP appointment, just to confirm it was a straightforward bug type thing and not related to his shocking drinking habits…. he drinks for 2 days solid then next to nothing for 4. Well she dithered and hawed and hummed and hawed and poked and prodded and put appendicitis in my head. I’ve been there already this year thanks can I pick another acute condition? That one really doesn’t suit us. No fever, no raised temperature at all, no high pulse rate, pain in the middle that doesn’t worsen on release of pressure…. nothing at all to indicate appendicitis. Her final words to us “if it doesn’t get any better or moves you better take him to hospital”. Yeah. Like I was going to wait and see after last time. Look at him… all sore and stroppy… hmmmm


Not willing to risk another out of hours trip to Ninewells, the Black Hole of Dundee, I waited precisely 2 hours and since the pain wasn’t any better I took him to the local A&E. Where they looked at me like I was some stupid neurotic nut mother and I felt like some Munchausens by Proxy nut mother. Nuts all round then.

We were done in an hour. They’re pretty certain he doesn’t have peritonitis or anything “extravagant” (doc’s words). So was I, just that damn GP left me wondering and worrying with her total lack of anything that even shook a stick at conviction.

Can’t we just have these things pulled? Like wisdom teeth? Appendixes? Vermiform appendages, vestigial digesters of cellulose… they’re like GPs, they don’t DO anything, they’re not FOR anything. Whip them out and stick them in a jar of ethanol. I love the NHS, but GPs are akin to the Golgafrinchans of healthcare, no added value, and it’s time their advance fleet left… so they can prepare and set up surgeries on New Earth.


Actually the staff at the local A&E were wonderful as ever – when I said they looked at me like I was a nut it was in a nice, bemused kinda way – I’ve got a lot of time for the staff at Perth Royal Infirmary.


5 Responses to “Out damned vermiform appendage, vestigial digester of cellulose”

  1. Neil Tasker October 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    ‘The Black Hole of Dundee’…… lol.
    I long ago discovered that GP’s are merely an obstacle to be overcome as quickly as possible in order to gain access to anything resembling ‘proper’ health care.
    So in answer to your question…..what are GP’s ‘for’…..
    f*** knows!

  2. Mwa October 22, 2009 at 8:29 pm #

    Yeah, I bypassed the GP the other night. I felt a bit stupid, too, but hey we wouldn’t want to go too late if anything was wrong, eh?

  3. Barbara October 22, 2009 at 9:10 pm #

    Ah, now you see, we’ve got one up on you down here in the south. Although we don’t have GPs that work outside of 9-5, we have a fabulous invention called Emdoc. I think you’d love it. They’re based at the hospital and if you’re really lucky you get to wait for about 4 hours to see what is basically a locum GP (even worse than the ones that might have a clue about our history) before you get sent to A&E. I often bypass. It feels right.

  4. Clair October 22, 2009 at 10:54 pm #

    I have heard tell of the black hole of dundee, my friend is willing to risk giving birth on the way to Forth Park in Kirkcaldy rather than risk it.

    Everytime I hear these stories I think how lucky I(we) are to have such a fantastic practice…really, anxious mum…”bring them along, we’ll squeeze you in” what about 7:45 am… an appointment today, it’s 5pm.. sure can you come at 6:20? Did I just luck out? And lots of lovely proper information and options and advice and TIME.
    I am never moving in case we need to change surgeries!

    But we do have one Golgafrincham… but he’s handy for BP checks and repeats…

  5. mrsw October 22, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    @Y’all – this is good news, I thought I was overreacting (I am prone to). Unfortunately I live in GP village and they all seem to float about working part-time as they always manage to drop off AND pick their kids up from school then after 7 years of free state education they decide it’s not good enough and pack them off to the High School of “Black Hole” Dundee. Bloody incomers (I am SO parochial!)

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