Waiting to see a GP is no laughing matter

New film highlights appointment frustration felt by millions

The stress and anxiety of trying to get a GP appointment is at the heart of a new short film from UNISON.

Join the queue takes a tongue-in-cheek look at a situation that’s all too familiar – frantically trying to contact the surgery the moment the lines open.

As a clock counts down and the tension builds, a family is poised over landlines, mobile phones and online booking systems trying to be among the lucky few to get an appointment.

With their young daughter feeling ill and the clock finally striking 8am, there’s a brief moment of hope as the call connects. Moments later, crushing disappointment fills the room as a recorded message tells them they’re number 57 in the queue.

Although the film is humorous, it does touch on a truth that for many getting a GP appointment is increasingly difficult.

Almost a decade of funding cuts to the health service are to blame, says UNISON.

The video is launched as the UK prepares to vote in a general election with the future of the NHS in the balance.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Nine years of Tory cuts have ravaged the NHS, with decisions made in Westminster affecting families’ daily lives across the country.

“Hospitals with ambulances stacked up outside have huge staff vacancies and hard-working employees are frazzled trying to fill the gaps, while patients face long waiting times in A&E when they can’t get a GP appointment. Everyone who works for and uses the NHS can see how the government has squeezed our health service.

“When walking into polling stations next week, people should think about the NHS and the improvements that are desperately needed.”

Notes to editors:
– The film is available on YouTube
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Garfield Myrie T: 0207 121 5546 M: 07432 741565 E: g.myrie@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes T: 0207 121 5255 M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk