I’M the last person in the world you’d want on a committee.

Not really a team player. Far too opinionated (some would say bossy!) and inclined to impatience with idiots.

But following my rant about the difficulty in getting an appointment at my GP practice, I’ve been dragooned into joining their patient participation group.

I’ve had more reaction to that article, incidentally, than to almost any other. People kept coming up to me saying: “You really hit the nail on the head.”

I suppose it served me right when one of the doctors got in touch asking me to get involved, “to help us improve our services”.

It’s not an arduous commitment – just a few meetings a year. So I thought that for once, I ought to put my money (or my time, anyway) where my mouth is!

And this is what became apparent straight away.

There are 21 full and part-time docs at the Salisbury Medical Practice, two of them on long-term sick leave, and 22,760 patients on the books across all its sites.

In the year up to March, the practice recorded 3,191 DNAs – that’s patients who Did Not Attend when they’d booked to see a GP.

Can you believe it, 58 of these had rung up to make urgent ‘on the day’ appointments! What changed in the few short hours before they failed to show up?

That figure doesn’t even include another 1,200 or so who didn’t turn up to see nurses, physios and healthcare assistants.

Now the GPs reckon on 28 face-to-face appointments per day.

They’ve done the maths (good, I’d rather not!) and say that makes 114 full days of time wasted. Equivalent to two-thirds of a full-time doctor’s workload. A shocking figure.

All that precious expertise that could have been put to use helping somebody else, instead spent twiddling their thumbs wondering what’s happened to Mr or Mrs Bloggins who couldn’t be bothered to ring in and cancel.

It must be so frustrating. And think of the cost to an NHS starved of cash in so many areas.

Dr Dan Henderson tells me that changing their system so patients can only book two weeks ahead hasn’t led to a noticeable improvement in attendance.

Come on, people. There’s no need for this thoughtlessness.

A doggy day out

MY favourite story of the week? Dogstival, of course!

The news that our canine chums will have their own ‘Glastonbury’ at Lymington next summer brought an indulgent smile to my face, along with an acceptance that I’m bound to come home considerably poorer.

I’m the kind of besotted owner who bought Poppy her own Remembrance Day poppy at the pet shop, for goodness sake. Very fetching it looks, too. As if she cares.

The first day I put it on her collar and took her for a run she found something disgusting to roll in and had to be carted off to the DIY dogwash before she could be allowed back home, where a decorator was papering the hall and might have taken a dim view of a reeking lurcher brushing up against his handiwork.