Encouraging Dependency Leads To…Dependency!

Emergency NHS services across Basildon and Thurrock are still being misused, despite pleas for people to be prepared.

Over the Easter bank holiday, the out-of-hours GP service and A&E unit at Basildon Hospital were swamped by patients, many who did not need emergency treatment.

Although the number of people turning up at casualty was in line with normal levels, the separate out-of-hours GP service was inundated with people making appointments just because they had run out of medication.

Now, there’s two aspects to this; one, that services you don’t directly pay for are soon abused. And why not? There are no consequences to abusing them, are there? You don’t notice the money coming out of your pocket, so you don’t value the service.

And two, when the state encourages dependency on it for all needs, then you can’t expect people to take responsibility for themselves.

Bill Sandhu, the trust’s associate director of prescribing, said: “We want patients, particularly those with a long-term condition, to plan ahead, so they have enough medication for the holidays.

“Using the GP out-of-hours service puts extra pressure on the system at one of its busiest times.”

Well, yes, Bill, it does. But there are no consequences to those abusing it for doing so, are there?

Of course, in the comments, there’s always one who thinks they have the ideal solution…

KatieP, Pitsea says…

Out of hours GP should charge £10 to issue a repeat prescription (this to be paid on top of the prescription charge). People will have to pay up or go without. Simple.

Yes, let’s charge everyone a fee to cover the inconvenience, rather than tackle the problem itself at source, or exercise any judgement. Well done, Katie!

And also in the comments, we find that another type of dependency may be at issue here – dependency on strict limits, to remove any element of judgement from the equation:

Last Poster, Basildon says…


I am a patient that requires repeat prescriptions. I used to have repeats every two months, no problem. Now the doctor will not issue more than four weeks at a time.

Long enough? No, because part of my duty involves me being away for more than 6 weeks sometimes. But can I get it altered? No, because “Rules are rules!

Wherever did you get that word “Simple?” Try and remember where you are KatieP. Rip off Britain does not recognise “Simple!

Sometimes, the system and its ‘customers’ deserve one another, don’t they..?

3 comments for “Encouraging Dependency Leads To…Dependency!

  1. May 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm
    • May 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

      It’s certainly unique in that it doesn’t seem to work for its real ‘customers’, so much as for its staff!

  2. May 6, 2011 at 9:01 am

    The NHS is a monopoly, so what else to expect? It is systemically dysfunctional and until there is plurality (not necessarily forced privatisation), then this will continue. It cannot be ‘fixed’.

Comments are closed.