AN endangered species. I am referring to the increasingly diminishing sightings of the General Practitioner or GP. Prior to the pandemic this species was regularly sighted and even visited, but throughout the pandemic and since numbers appear to have decreased to such an extent that only phone calls are available.

So much so, that the WWF, the authority on endangered species, has speculated that there is a greater likelihood of seeing a whale shark in the River Rother or a sighting of Bigfoot in your local wood than meeting a GP by appointment. The brighter coloured ones, red and white or blue and white needed for small specialist procedures, are rarer still.

Not suffering from too much ill health myself I had not paid too much attention to the problem, but being a daily walker in my own area I meet a lot of people. Frequently I stop for a chat with someone and sometimes we are joined by others.

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In such circumstances the British public are always willing to chat about adversity. The weather or cost of living or whatever is topical at the moment. Increasingly the topic has become the problem concerning the difficulty of visiting your local GP.

This does not appear to be a localised matter either; stories of this phenomenon are emerging from across the borough.

People with all kinds of problems are being faced with obstacles put in the way of a visit to the GP. Those requiring a small procedure such as an injection are informed that such skills belong to even fewer within the profession where you certainly need the services of one of the more brightly coloured variety. It seems six years of medical training do not equip the standard grey brown variety with the necessary expertise.

All of us in the chat group agreed this needed to be looked into further as this was unacceptable following such an expensive education.

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Our little chat group has speculated as to what the cause of this apparent die off might be. After all we had not heard of a large meteorite impact similar to that which caused the eradication of the dinosaurs. This week a friend joined us who we had not seen for a while, he entered the conversation when the GP problem was under discussion. He had just come out of hospital and said it was a widely held view within the profession that it was due to the emergence of a new bacteria, Generaspirosis Pratococcus. Apparently those infected become gradually nocturnal before it becomes terminal, hence the difficulty in sightings during the day. Well at least it is not due to a large influx of new patients or increased workload. God forbid such a thing.

Hope is provided by AstraZeneca and Pfizer who are working on a new antibiotic that if taken early enough in the disease cycle will kill the bug and reverse the symptoms. Let’s all hope this comes along soon and some semblance of normality returns.

The conclusion my friends reached from our chats is that the NHS is certainly in need of major reform. Especially primary care no longer fit for purpose for the £160 billion we pay for the NHS.

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