GETTING an appointment to see a doctor isn’t easy these days. Getting to see one who knows anything about you from personal experience is a lot harder.

The chains of privately owned health care service providers that are responsible for the service for the vast majority of people typically provide appointments that are scheduled to last 15 minutes with a doctor who has had precious little time to read notes in advance. Getting an appointment with the same doctor twice has become a rarity.

Surely it would save time and be safer if the norm was for the same general practitioner to see you on each occasion and get the chance to something about your overall health and how any issues might be connected. It must also be much easier and safer for a doctor to understand more about a patient than can be gained from a hurried glance at the notes.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that the service is being organised for the benefits of the organisers rather than the best interests of patients and doctors. We lost the universal free NHS dentistry service slowly and gradually over many years.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that distant chains of providers risk doing the same thing to the general practitioner service.

North Yorkshire Councillor Andy Brown (Green)