Frustrated by the number of patients who demand antibiotics to treat common colds, the NHS has decided to make Lucozade, tissues and big mugs of sippy lemon drink available on prescription.
“With a prescription costing £7.40, we’re keen to prescribe a wide range of cures and ointments”, explained Dr Brian Horley, of the Department of Health.
“If you’re really keen on something that definitely doesn’t work then we’ll recommend you some homeopathic salts, if you like: sugar and water cost us next to nothing.”
The cost and difficulty in spelling some antibiotics makes them unsuitable for fobbing off patients with a bit of a sniffle.
“The public are wasting our time when they come to us with a cold and demand a course of Teicoplanin or Cephalosporin, it can take ages to check we’ve got the name right on Google, especially in rural areas”, confirmed Dr. Horley.
“If we can persuade people instead to pay nearly eight quid for a tin of chicken broth, some apples or a bit of a lie-down, we’ll be much more open to treating them. Except at weekends.”
GPs have successfully persuaded the public not to bother them with a wide range of illnesses, partly by refusing to give out appointments unless they phone during a 30-second window on Monday mornings.
But trials of prescription groceries have been so successful, some GPs are even considering opening on Wednesday afternoons.
Dr Horley has some guidelines for people who think they might have a cold, which could really benefit the NHS.
“Don’t hoard unused tins or tissues, or let other people take them. Throw them away, and come back to us for a new, full-price prescription”, he advised.
“We’d also recommend visiting your surgery on a Monday morning, a time when the waiting room is full of people who’ve taken all weekend to pluck up the courage to come in.”
“Not only does it make us feel important to see the place packed out, the odd prescription for soup makes a nice change from looking at things stuck up people’s bottoms.”