Dog’s life ain’t so bad when one’s ill

Last Friday, recovering from a bout of flu, an abscess developed on the side of my face. I rang for an appointment to get antibiotics, but the earliest one was today.

Also last Friday my spaniel tangled with a husky and came off a poor second. Rang vet and was told to bring her straight in.

Hawick vets have moved to new premises at the old garden centre behind Morrisons. Very smart. Easy parking and delightful attendants.

Dog was checked in by Catherine the vet.

I made my way to Hawick health centre, having been advised that open surgery was held between 11.30am and 12.15pm. I arrived at 11.10am. The place was like a funfair. There must have been 40-plus with about eight seats. I am 68 and not too good on my pins. I estimated that I would have to stand and queue for the best part of an hour.

There seemed very little wrong with most of the patients and I am sure that the mums meet there regularly. I left.

At 4pm I called to pick up my spaniel from the vet. Same courteous reception. Spaniel brought forth – groggy – but pleased to see me. I was given medication and instructions to continue treatment. Among the medication were 250g amoxicillin tablets. These were the same as my dentist gave last time I had an abscess. By Sunday the spaniel was fully recovered.

The difference between private practice and health care is that one you pay for, the other you have paid for.

I am a supporter of the NHS – I have to be, I have no other means. But I bet if a charge of £10 per appointment were made the service would be treated with much greater respect and the patient would again be treated as a customer.

Hawick vets 10 out of 10. Hawick health centre four out of 10.

Norman Cameron