On Monday I thought Marianne's sore throat might be worse and she needed to see a doctor, so I rang and got an appointment for the same morning. They prescribed antibiotics and painkillers.
Monday night she was in pain so I phoned NHS Direct, spoke to first a call handler, then a nurse, and was then referred to primary out of hours care. A doctor rang me back about 15 minutes later and, after a phone consultation, made an appointment for her at the out of hours service half an hour after that. She was seen by the doctor and prescribed a different antibiotic.
Yesterday evening I realised she'd need to see a doctor again, so made an appointment for this morning (timed to fit in with our now-aborted trip). They phoned the hospital to say she would be coming; she was seen more or less immediately and admitted to the children's ward there.
Ways in which the service could be improved: I honestly can't think of any, apart from perhaps a private room and a bunch of roses.
Total charge to us: £0. Even her prescriptions are free as she's a child (adults with income have to pay £7.20 each for them up to a cap of about £100 a year). And it's not just the money. I can worry that my child is sick, and I do not have to worry about what is and is not included in my insurance, or which doctors and services and hospitals I can use.
Remember the words of Joe Hill: Don't Mourn. Organize.