I have a very good opinion of public services in the UK, maybe because I come from Southern Europe, where the public sector can be agonisingly inefficient. What astounds me is the ludicrous GP service provided by the NHS. Going to my GP practice means finding always a different doctor I have never met before, then explaining them who I am and why I came, with the disheartening certainty I will have to go though the very same process again when I am back for a follow-up visit. Why? Because I will find another random guy who hasn't got a clue of who I am, and I cannot reject them in favour of another one who happens to be nicer and more competent.

There is no bloody way this pathetic excuse of a healthcare can work. I am already starting to choose to neglect my health problems rather than interacting with that inane assembly line.

What are my options? In the country I come from the GP is not this sort of demotivated and dull automaton: she or he has an empowered role and effectively devises a long-term strategy for dealing with the patients and their needs. Even though one doctor has many patients, each patient has one and exactly one doctor.

Where can I reproduce this coherent scenario here in the UK? Would private GP practices do, or I am basically screwed and this is the way Britons think they take care of themselves?

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    This sounds like a rant disguised as a question.
    – fkraiem
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 5:44
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    @fkraiem it's certainly ranty, but the last paragraph redeems it in my view.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 5:53
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    My GP practice always gives me the option of the first available appointment, or a later appointment with a specific doctor. It's then up to me which to go for. Have you tried asking your surgery for repeat appointments with the same doctor each time, and explaining you're happy to wait a little longer?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 13:37
  • In my experience, in the GP at the NHS you can go to a different doctor at the same GP practice, no? Most usually have at least 2, usually more. You can also go to the ER if you're truly desperate Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


I have heard similar comments from friends of mine comparing their national health systems with the NHS. Unfortunately, there does seem to be a range of experiences with the NHS and do keep in mind it is an enormous organisation with mind boggling complexity.

Going private has certain advantages, basically you can skip queues and get seen by a specialist faster. Often the specialists in private practice may be the same as the specialists you would get in the NHS. The choices of treatments are different e.g. tooth fillings or implants. The hospitals may be different e.g. The Portland in London if you're having a baby.

Going private, one also has the advantage of seeing the same physician every time you go to the doctor's, this does not generally happen through the NHS though you may request seeing a particular physician.

Sometimes private is not an option depending on where you live. For example, there isn't any private paediatrics in Scotland. Private practices are usually centered around large cities, particularly London (Harley Street).

If you can afford it, try going private and see if it meets your expectation better.

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