'Everyone in Ilfracombe should have Combe Coastal?s PTS as a desktop shortcut' - Credit: MIKA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Health worries? Reach for your keyboard - Dave Griffin

Dave Griffin

There is a significant change in the way we may now contact our GPs at Ilfracombe’s Combe Coastal Practice. They are switching off eConsult, and providing us with a new Patient Triage Service, operated by AccuRx.

Yes, AccuRx. I’m not trying to type Accurist, like the watch, after six Famous Grouses. The practice is blowing a fanfare for its new facility, but it is strictly for non-urgent, non-life-threatening complaints, so if you find yourself collapsed on the floor of a lift, desperately gasping for breath whilst clutching your chest, and your whole life flashing before you, don’t visit Patient Triage Service.

Rather, you need sirens, blue-lights, and ambulance personnel carrying those big green rucksacks. For lumps, bumps and blotches, there’s PTS, and on the surface, it seems like a great idea.

PTS is the first stage in contacting your doctor prior to a consultation, if they think one is necessary. The website asks you to provide details of the medical problem you are anxious about, or that of the person upon whose behalf you are enquiring. A photo can be uploaded, and there’s a space in which you can describe symptoms.

PTS asks when you would like to be contacted, which is usually within three days, and anything else troubling you worthy of mention. Many people find it difficult to accurately explain aches and pains to their GP, but on PTS you can type in from your sofa all your worries and fears, which will presumably assist him or her. Everyone in Ilfracombe should have Combe Coastal’s PTS as a desktop shortcut. Not only does it fast-track access to a wide range of services, but you can peek at your summary patient record.

I found the date of my 1953 polio vaccination. Moreover, you can look up virtually every ailment and malady known to personkind, alongside a full description of many mainstream medicines used to treat them, starting at Aciclovir, and going through to Zopiclone. When suspecting some dreadful disease was about to overwhelm her, my mother would always refer to her ‘medical book’, a large dog-eared Readers’ Digest tome describing with illustrations the symptoms of everything from athlete’s foot to premature hair loss.

I recently purchased for 50p from Tesco’s charity bookstall a similar publication; the vast volume is so thick, it could double up as a wheel ramp. Unfortunately, it fails to tell me why I always doze off before the end of Gardeners’ World.

Ripped-off tourists won't return

To Woody Bay Station for the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway’s Victorian Day where we encountered splendidly dressed ladies and gentlemen in full period costume, including Queen Victoria herself, played by Rita Clews, and her uniformed consort and husband, Frank. Her appearance marked the end of Ilfracombe’s Victorian season.

At the station’s buffet, tea in a paper cup cost £2, and a tiny piece of cake, £3.50. What justifies these now-normal prices?

Did L&BR charge the same at its recent Gala Day? Little wonder, then, that hardly anyone turned up to its latest event.

The ‘fundraising’ and ‘Covid’ excuses won’t wash now in these hard-pressed times. Similarly, in nearby Lynton and Lynmouth, we see the taking for granted of tourists who will uncomplainingly cough up whatever extortionate price is demanded for ordinary snacks available at a fraction of the cost in

Wetherspoons, which with all its overheads, offers tea in china mugs for 99p, endlessly refillable. Why do Lynton’s tea-rooms demand £3 for 250ml of hot water and a 0.04p catering teabag?

It’s a holiday rip-off, and our visitors are being treated with contempt. Tea and coffee should be complimentary when buying food.

What’s more, why do Lynmouth’s cafes believe that paper cups and plates are considered acceptable for a traditional English afternoon tea-for-two costing £18?

We had to tolerate other customers’ dogs sniffing at our overpriced pastries, and were then expected to clear up afterwards while staff gazed into space. Next time, we’ll take a flask.

Written by Ilfracombe's Dave Griffin

Dave Griffin, the Gazette's man in Ilfracombe
Dave Griffin, the Gazette's man in Ilfracombe