When I sit at the doctor's surgery I often hear people saying 'it's just a cold'. Well, why are you there then? People like that are the reason I can't get an appointment for two weeks, unless, of course, they are lying and actually have an embarrassing poo problem, in which case, that's OK.
Before our amazing NHS started to take care of our health we had to use traditional methods or pay for a doctor. But now our self-care skills have all but vanished. We now expect the NHS to wipe our backsides for us. Got a sore throat? Then drink some water and take a paracetamol. If you can't manage that then go and see your pharmacist, they are under-utilised and excellent sources of health information.
I'd make a great nurse. Here's some more tough love. Oh, before I begin this does not apply to children, the elderly, people with medical conditions and immuno-suppressed folk. They should see the doctor.
You've got a cold. That's not unusual is it? So man up. Get some soft tissues, some cold and flu medication, and some fluids you like (not wine). Then take the medication, drink your fluids, blow your nose and rest up. You can also try vapour-rubs, plug-in diffusers, and sore throat sweets. You only need to see the doctor if it doesn't shift, if you get worse, such as developing sinus pain or banging earache, or if you cough up green or black phlegm.
Take some antihistamines, keep the windows closed, wear sunglasses outdoors, and stop banging on about it. I get hay fever and it makes the insides of my eyelids peel off. Do I complain? Well, yes I do, but not to the doctor because it passes on its own. I am either hard as nails or totally insensitive. See the doctor if you are wheezy or feel out of breath though, as hay fever may trigger asthma.
Bruises are bleeds under the skin. You don't need to see a doctor unless it's massive and not getting better. Or if it's on your head as you may have a concussion. If the skin is unbroken then rub in arnica cream. Beloved by generations of cottage dwellers, arnica works wonders. It's cheaper than petrol to the doctor's surgery too.
For goodness sakes stay home! Keep your fluid levels up - send someone to get you re-hydration sachets if you weren't smart enough to stash some in the medicine cupboard already.
We have medicine cupboards for a reason - for storing medicines. Get them in advance and use them before blocking up the appointment system with your hay fever and colds. If you can't cope without a professional person's advice then dial the NHS 111 service and get told what I've just said by a medically trained call handler who will probably be more sympathetic.
As my dad said when I broke a knuckle. 'I'm trying to watch the TV, put some Germolene on it' Wise words, dad, wise words.
If you struggle to get a doctor's appointment but know what treatment you need, take a consultation with one of our partner doctors, who will be able to prescribe the correct treatment for you.