As I mentioned above, I'm a doctor dodger most of the time. The NHS is an amazing beast and as far as I'm concerned my part of the contract with it is not to clog up the system with minor complaints I can deal with myself. What I need the NHS for mostly is my children and the system works very well for them. However, I am also an asthmatic and have, over the years, spent more time with doctors and healthcare professionals than I would like. Based on this extensive research I have come to the conclusion that some doctors just don't like patients, who get in the way of them actually doing their job. Which is, erm, making people better? I may be being grossly unfair and just caught a number of them on a bad day (and/or they've been trying to get me to attend an asthma clinic - don't get me started on the ridiculous waste of time that is sending a fit and otherwise healthy person with well managed asthma to a 5 minute session where I will be told how to take an inhaler and use a peak flow meter (things I've been doing for 30 years). I understand GPs get paid extra for referring patients to these clinics so I don't play ball.). I also know that only ten minutes are allowed for each appointment including admin, so it doesn't take many people with problems that actually require some time for a backlog to build up and then you want to get the easy cases (me) out the door quickly.
However, the GP this time is not trying to push me out the door. I've seen her before and she's lovely. Quiet, thoughtful and generally gives the impression that no matter how trivial the problem she is there to help you out. This time she helps me out by giving me a sample bottle with a spoon attached to the lid and by having a good feel of my stomach. Which, to my surprise, rather hurts in one particular point around where I imagine my appendix is. This time she does ask to see me again, in a week.
The work diary doesn't permit this for a couple of weeks. It took a couple of weeks to arrange the first appointment - I wasn't worried, based on the previous assessment in 2011 - so now we're into July. I have duly scooped my poo sample (which wasn't the comic turd chasing exercise I had imagined, by the way, it was quite easy and nowhere near as messy as it could have been) and dispatched it to the lab. But, says the GP, nothing showing there by way of bacterial infection. Could still be a virus. She palpates my stomach again and gets the same pain response. I have completed the magic sequence that opens the gateway to a consultant referral.