Doctor, Doctor, Where’s the Hoist?

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Trailblazer Fleur Perry blogs about why GP surgeries need to get a hoist.

Doctor, Doctor, Where’s the Hoist?

This joke doesn’t have a funny ending.

We all dread that moment when you wake up and realise something’s not right. You dither for an hour and try to convince yourself you’re not ill, not really. Then you cave in and dial 111.

From there it should be GP appointment, prescription, bingewatching TV, and recovery. Oh, if only it were that simple.

To cut a long story short, as a direct result of the lack of a hoist at my local GP and Urgent Care Centre, my treatment pathway was delayed by 4 days.

I don’t have the patience to bingewatch TV for 4 days, and after day 2 I decided to truck on with everything until I spontaneously began to get better. Do not try this at home. Recovering without medical assistance is not guaranteed or advised. Not resting when you’ve been told to take it easy is also not advised. 

What should have been a 3 phone call, 1 visit to the docs affair turned into a 10 phone calls, 1 visit by a paramedic, 1 trip to the hospital and 2 trips to the GP affair. The unnecessary stress and energy of all this was not what I needed when ill, but it got me thinking: Why on Earth don’t GPs have hoists?

I asked on the Trailblazers Facebook group how many members have GP surgeries with hoists. Never has a response to a question on the Facebook group been so fast or so unanimous: No, our GPs don’t have hoists, and yes, this causes more than a few problems.

A lot of people pointed out that a home visit was usually offered, and that this would constitute a reasonable adjustment. This also has the advantage that you’re not going to catch anyone else’s nasty cough in the waiting room. The downside is that sometimes you have to wait longer and don’t see the right professional.

On that Saturday, I rang 111 at 11am, but didn’t see anyone until 5pm, and the person they sent was a paramedic, which was way over the top for my minor problem. Surely all the time GPs spend rushing around doing home visits is costing the NHS a lot of money, when a hoist might be a cheaper solution. It seems crazy that paramedics are being sent out to people who are in no immediate danger.

There have also been occasions before when I’ve gone to the GP thinking I don’t need to be examined and then having to be lifted onto the plinth. If that were to happen with me the height and weight I am now, I’d have to go home and arrange another appointment as a home visit. 

Other services definitely need hoists. The Urgent Care Centre near me is where you go if you’re too ill to wait a week for a GP but not ill enough to go to A&E, and the one I visited the other day did not have a hoist. I’ll admit I did throw a minor diva strop in the waiting room. 

I’m going to try to find out some more information about this issue – watch this space!


Has your health been badly affected by a lack of hoists at doctor’s surgeries and walk-in centres? We’d like to know how many of our members are affected by this issue, so share your experiences by emailing us on

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