Editorial Echoes: 31 July 2008: Will Starbucks Ever Learn? Dreams to end obesity, rearrange breakfast radio, and make Civic more democratic

GP Waiting Times

July 31st, 2008 at 11:00pm

Good evening Stuart,

I listened with interest to the caller you had on just after the 10pm news (I think his name was Tom) who said that he usually has to wait one to two weeks just to see a GP here in metropolitan Canberra.

I live in Canberra and I have a doctor who bulk bills at one of the ACT government health centres and I almost never have a problem getting in on the same day. They have a rule that you must ring to make an appointment to see the doctor and I think this helps with the congestion problem, and admittedly the spots do fill up quickly…it's basically a "call by 9am or you'll have to wait until tomorrow" situation, but I find it extraordinary that there are clinics which have accepted that many patients that they can't see anyone for at least a week. I've had three different GPs in the last twenty years and I have never had a problem with being able to make an appointment to see a doctor on that day.

I know that it's a difficult decision to move doctor because your GP gets to know you and your medical history quite well, but I really think that in Tom's case, he should "shop around"…there are a number of doctors in Canberra who are for more expedient than his doctor.

I hope you're well…you're certainly sounding quite sprightly!

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

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