How can GPs prescribe and diagnose over the phone?

Jan Hollinshead has questions over telephone diagnosis
Jan Hollinshead has questions over telephone diagnosis
Share this article

I refer to a recent letter sent to your letters pages by Margaret Taylor of Corby commenting on telephone diagnosis and prescribing adopted by doctors in our area.

Here, in Desborough, the surgery I am registered with has adopted this “system”.

I had recently had cause to call my surgery for an appointment to see my GP with a chest infection following what seemed like bronchitis.

My first call was answered by a voice saying “all our operators are busy”.

Not, you may notice, receptionists any longer, but operators.

On the second try I was put on a waiting list for my GP to call me. Most people I have spoken to 
have not been able to see a doctor face to face in our town for quite a while.

It’s probably the old, old story of the majority being punished because of the few who abuse the appointments to see an actual doctor.

Can anybody please tell me how a GP can prescribe a medical cure solely from a patient’s description to him of their illness, ailment or injury over the telephone without actually seeing the patient in question?

Shouldn’t the patients have been consulted as to what they wanted and what they needed before any changes were made to the appointments system?

I fully understand that GPs are probably very busy people, but have we got to wait until somebody dies before something is done about this situation?

I also agree with Margaret Taylor that it is probably why A&E is busier at Kettering as a result of people needing to have contact with a doctor for their own self-assurance.

Jan Hollinshead


What do you think? Email us with your views.

Cuts have made a difference

The critical Ofsted report on the inadequacy of Northamptonshire child protection services states “some services have been significantly reshaped in the recent period to address budget economies” and “some elements of service are clearly insufficiently resourced to meet reasonable sustainable expectations”.

It is astounding that in accepting the report unreservedly, Dr Paul Blantern fails to mention that funding appears to have played a significant role in undermining these vital services provided to the most vulnerable in our society.

The 438 children subject to child protection plans represents 0.25 per cent of the county’s child population, but thresholds that activate the help needed appear to be too high.

Many of these services are statutory but I failed to detect any apology from either the county council or senior officers for this debacle.

But then cynical equivocation from milksop executives and politicians is what we have come to expect.

I hope never to hear again that front-line services are unaffected by budget cuts.

Stephen Black

Barton Seagrave

What do you think? Email us with your views.

Where will we go late at night?

I have just read in this week’s edition that the Swansgate multi-storey car park will close in the evenings from 7pm.

I have often parked in this car park when visiting The Castle theatre, as the car park at The Castle has been full, especially if both houses have popular events on and have full houses.

Where are the visitors to these two venues going park?

I would have thought it would be a more suitable idea to have a closing time like in other towns of, say, 11pm to allow visitors to enjoy their evening at the theatre.

Barbara Murkitt

By email

What do you think? Email us with your views.

People believe their town councillors

I refer to the letter from Jon Garvey, sent on behalf of the developers of the Corby Waste Plant, printed in the Your View Special on March 14.

The developers are quite right to say that my campaign to block the Waste Plant forms part of an agenda.

My agenda is to stand up for the decent, hardworking people of Corby and its surrounding villages who are at risk of having their lives blighted by the plant which they are proposing to build on woodland at the Brookfield Plantation.

The developers fail to address the issue of the extra 1,000 lorries per day their plans will bring to Corby.

They fail to address the issue of the noise and smells.

They also fail to identify how they propose to incorporate all of the wildlife from the 43-hectare woodland site, into the mere six hectares of “community woodland” they are proposing to install.

The letter from the developers was an opportunity for them to substantiate their spurious 3,000 jobs claim.

They have failed to deny their claim is based upon a mathematical formula rather than any realistic, practical assessment of the facts.

The developers claim their development is not a waste plant.

The planning application makes very clear that they are seeking to process waste at the “resource recovery” area.

The waste incinerator for which they obtained planning permission in 2009 will not be sustainable without the waste processing element of the plant.

The developers are trying to pull wool over the eyes of the people of Corby and its villages.

It is of course not surprising that people believe their elected, local represenatives over corporate developers.

Cllr Rob McKellar

Corby Council

Psychologist reports needed

Data released about Richard Nixon now shows he was attending a psychiatrist for a number of years while in office and managed to keep it a secret, meanwhile sanctioning bombing runs on Vietnam and Cambodia.

When applying for any job in civilian life “psych assesment” is always required, but NOT on polititians, and that includes the present Government.

When the truth was finally outed, the skeletons came tumbling out of the cupboard even to the point where it is now possible Nixon may have also committed treason, trying to take the credit for bringing that war to an end.

Without these emotional checks who can say just what frame of mind David Cameron and his Cabinet are in.

They have already shown us to be dishonest in things as trivial as expenses and in their personal behaviour.

What is to say they are in their very breeding, upbringing and education suffering from any of a dozen mental illnesses?

And why on earth do we not evaluate people in these positions to make sure they are suitable for the job after we have elected them?

I feel this to be a most urgent and important undertaking to be medically examined emotionally to see exactly just what sort of state these people with the power to push buttons and bring down banks with their policies are in, as it’s in our interest to make sure these people are emotionally stable to cope with the pressures that goes with these jobs.

Tom Bingham


Report these rogue traders

Anyone who lives on the Sywell road end of Wellingborough and has had the roof of a garage or shed replaced should be aware that the debris from the work has been dumped in three places, along with a stolen gas bottle.

Two along the minor road out to Hardwick off Niort Way and the other at the top end of the rugby club field near Moonshine Gap.

I have reported it to Northamptonshire County Council and I am sure it will be cleared in the fullness of time, but if you are that person who had the work done, the decent thing to do is report these people to the authorities so they can be prosecuted.

Also the group of services a short distances from these dump sites have been attacked with what looks like an attempt to steal any metal of value. The police have been informed.

Name and address supplied


What do you think? Email us with your views.

Take a trip to Colditz Castle

Has any reader ever fancied a trip with a difference?

How about fulfilling the trip of a lifetime by staying the night

in Colditz Castle, this time minus the guards.

Alex Bulloch’s Birmingham War Research Society is a charitable supporting, non-commercial and voluntary organisation which has been arranging tours to northern Europe for 40 years.

As well as a tour of the Somme and Arnhem, Alex has places available for a trip to Colditz which takes in an extended tour of the castle as well as an overnight stay in the splendid hostel accommodation that is now incorporated into the building.

The six-day tour also includes the two Dambuster Dams breached in 1943, Nordhausen underground rocket factory and Rheinberg War Cemetery.

The trip leaves on August 8.

It costs £580, with an additional small fee charged locally for the tours of Colditz, etc.

The cost includes all hotel, breakfast and evening meal costs. Pick-ups are available en-route from the M6 in Staffordshire to Dover via Birmingham, the M1, M25 and the M20.

Please contact Alex Bulloch on 0121 459 9008, or check the websites. These can be viewed at or or by searching on the internet for ‘Alex Bulloch’.

Tony Knight


Sign up to help stop this cull

The Government’s ill-fated and potentially devastating cull of badgers in pilot areas in England is due to begin in less than three months. We need to act now to stop this slaughter and to help the cows and dairy farmers who face the threat of bovine TB.

We urge those who agree with leading scientists, the vast majority of the public and MPs of all parties who voted in Parliament to reject the cull to sign this ever-growing petition at

Gavin Grant

RSPCA chief executive