Times have changed - GP services are not on tap

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Ilkeston residents have always been used to, and got, ready access to medical services, unlike many other places in UK.

When I first came to Ilkeston in the 1970s, we had one GP taking an emergency surgery twice a day, and we saw our own patients at Ilkeston Hospital Casualty every morning, same as all the GPs in the town.

GPs usually worked a 60-hour week, plus providing 24-hour emergency and out-of-hours cover.

Later they got better conditions in a new GP contract, which perhaps gave them more than they expected — more normal working hours and the option of opting out of out-of-hours care. Now it is costing the NHS millions to cover out of hours.

Obviously, this meant less ease of access for patients.

If you look at the figures, they were high for the now closed Ilkeston walk-in, but only approx 1,500 patients wanted to change their usual GP.

Ilkeston is still lucky to have the minor injuries unit and GPs offering to increase surgery hours.

I hope that GPs will give special consideration to those having to re-register and give them their first repeat prescription without too much bureaucracy. But on the other hand, people have to learn to take more responsibility for their own health and well being.

Times have changed, whether we like it or not.There are no longer three taps in Ilkeston homes, as people here expect and Dr John Skinner(RIP) suggested — hot, cold and doctor. Everyone needs to work together to keep as well as possible.

Bridget Leech,

West End Drive,

Ilkeston.