I am livid, fuming, damn annoyed. It seems impossible to get an appointment to see the doctor. You can either phone at 8am (and only 8am) for an emergency appointment, or book a ‘routine’ appointment up to two weeks in advance. I’ve been suffering with a painful foot for the last 10 days or so, eased by doses of ibuprofen and I’ve been able to go about my working and social life (if a bit slower and hobbily than I am used to), and so I feel a bit bad describing it as a dire emergency but would like to see the doctor none-the-less.

The receptionist seemed to think that a nurse’s appointment in the first instance would be sufficient. So against my better judgement I agreed, and yesterday they booked me in to see the nurse this afternoon. When I turned up at the surgery, the receptionist told me that I had missed yesterday’s appointment. I told her straight that no I hadn’t, that it was today because I had the opticians yesterday, and what was she going to do about it. I did get in to see the nurse in the end, who was the picture of a sour-faced old trout. She was rude and condescending and made me feel about five years old for coming to see her with a swollen toe (she did agree that it was swollen).

She did check my ears and confirm to me that they were both packed full of wax and needing syringing so I guess it wasn’t a completely wasted trip. I do not deal well though with lies, deception and bad organisation. I shall write and complain for the treatment of the receptionists and of the system of seeing the doctor. After all, surely it would be reasonable to have a second level of emergency appointments – ones for conditions which do not stop one going about daily routines but do need seeing to.