There was a time, not long ago, when British GPs provided the best home doctor service in the world. Patients could telephone their doctor 24 hours a day, seven days a week (including Christmas), ask for a home visit and get one. Patients prepared to visit the surgery could expect to see a doctor the day they called.
Today, it is easier to find a plumber than a doctor at night and weekends. Patients wanting emergency help out of office hours must visit their nearest major hospital and spend hours queuing in the A&E department. In some areas the target waiting time is 12 hours, though in practice, things are often barbaric, with patients forced to lie in an ambulance, parked outside the hospital for up to eight hours before room can be found for them in the accident and emergency department.