Demand facing city doctors and health staff makes for shocking reading in this week's Sheffield Telegraph

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?Dialling and dialling and dialling the phone in a desperate attempt to secure a doctor’s appointment, usually while trying to work at the same time.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 3:08 pm
Updated Friday, 4th June 2021, 10:18 am
Behind the scenes at Sloan Medical Centre in Woodseats, where staff have spoken to the Sheffield Telegraph about unprecedented demand facing them.

There’s nothing more frustrating, especially when you are feeling ill or in pain, than to fail to secure a slot and have to try again the next day.

It’s a tale as old as time, or as old as the doctor’s surgery phone system anyway.

Recently though, it has become ever harder. Grumbles have turned into genuine alarm.Covid-19 has meant that face to face appointments are even harder to secure, and many of us have been sitting on minor problems for months until things went ‘back to normal.’

It is no wonder, when you hear from the Sheffield doctors and health staff who feature in this week’s Telegraph, that getting an appointment is so difficult.

One surgery which allowed us behind the scenes receives 1,000 calls a day spread across just four receptionists who often face abuse because they can’t help everyone fast enough.

A GP recalls how he personally deals with 50 patients a day, on top of a long list of other duties, including dealing with complaints about the service. And there is more from a patient’s troubling experience.

Taken together they make for shocking reading and there does not seem to be a solution at hand. NHS staff know the organisation is understaffed and underfunded and that is unlikely to change.

There are some things patients can do to help both themselves and the health services but there is no magic wand here.

What we can do is keep shouting about this in the hope someone will listen.

I will be sending a copy of this week’s Telegraph to the Health Secretary and I would welcome your stories of how you have been affected by this.