We're hearing a lot about NHS problems, especially A&E, but there's more. I visited my doctor today about a small lump on my elbow - nothing to worry about he said, after checking it. It's a cyst, he thinks, which is a small lump of fat that sort of coagulates and sits there for ever. Unless they get infected, in which case it's agony, antibiotics and possibly a small procedure, which is doctor-speak for operation when they think it's very minor. I did have that once, in my back, and it is very minor, but I can tell you it certainly isn't fun.
So before I went for my appointment, I checked the booking thing, just to check that it remembered my appointment (you might think that computers are infallible, but I know better). It covers the next four weeks, and lets you book a routine appointment (my little lump wasn't an emergency, of course). But ... there's no time slots available. If you went to the booking thing when I went there, you simply couldn't book an appointment.
I mentioned this to the doctor after we'd finished laughing about my little lump. He already knew. I pointed out that it's summer, his work is seasonal, and six months from now I can confidently predict that it will be winter. He already knew. I suggested that if they couldn't afford more doctors, maybe hire a nurse, because not everyone needs to see a doctor. He already knew, TPTB wouldn't hire a nurse.
Then it was his turn. Lipitol has just come out of patent, and the generic statin costs £1.75 per month, whereas the branded Lipitol costs £25 - would I be willing to take the generic? Yes, I would, I said. So he said, well in that case, I won't dial your prescription down to two months-wirth (I currently pick up three each time). I pointed out that reducing the prescription from three to two months, wouldn't actually save money - indeed, it would cost money because I'd be badgering the pharmacy 50% more often. Yes, he already knew, bt TPTB said that he has to do this. So I asked if, as well as ignoring this daft request, he could also up my prescription of Warfarin 1mg tablet from 168 per prescription, to 224, because otherwise I get a build-up of 5mg tablets that I can't use, because I'm on 7mg/month, which is one 5 and two 1s, so I need more 1s ... he agreed.
I don't know how they're going to solve the problem of having too many patients and not enough doctors, though. Maybe send more patients to A&E?
And while I was out, I did maintenance on two caches, and left a small larder of cache containers and log books for people who volunteer to do maintenance on the Chiltern Hundred when they go round.
And I stopped off for my annual haircut. There was nearly a dreadful disaster there, because I said "Take it all off" and she thought I meant "Shave my head", which apparently people do, but since I'm not going bald, no thanks. Fortunately, the misunderstanding was cleared up without anything awful having happened, and I still have my riah.
On the way back to the car, I popped in to Cartridge World, who told me that a refill for an HP Laserjet 6p would cost me £35. I didn't have the heart to tell him I could get new ones for less than that. And I visited the British Red Cross and bought five books for about £2 each.