Fast forward to 2015 and some citizens call their GP or an ambulance for trivial or non-existent health emergencies straining the NHS to the extreme.
And if you have a real health emergency it is also very different in 2015
Luckily it is two years since we experienced a health emergency at night and put in a call to our GP. My husband was flat out and an emergency call was necessary.
I was put through to an out-of-hours service that initially asked that we go to a night surgery across the city. We have no transport but even without those issues the patient was not fit to travel even in a taxi.
The responder understood but it would take time to get a GP to our home with no guarantees as to when.
A decision was made to contact an ambulance and husband was taken to hospital and admitted for three days; in the end it was not a serious matter but he did need treatment.
Back to the past
The issue of night visits is not new. In 1972 when my mum suffered a life-changing and ultimately life-taking stroke she was let down by her GP. He failed to visit in time resulting in a night-call-out but a locum attended. The locum did his best but without mum's medical history and notes it was deadly.
But that was an exception rather than a rule.
Out of hours service 2015
A mixture of heavy patient demand and a commercial out of hour’s service is potentially lethal.
It adds pressure on hospitals and the ambulance service as desperate people bypass what they see as a failing service.
Most GP practises in the UK now use outside contractors to cover out-of-hours services; about half of the companies used are not-for-profit with around a quarter commercial private contractors.
New technology adds an extra dimension to healthcare and the access of patients notes in 2015 but a 'family doctor' with your best interests at heart remains hard to beat.
Patient satisfaction with private companies providing out of hours care is poor and although researchers say the reasons are not clear we could all form an opinion on that one and the following statement from the Mail Online report which says "NHS providers scored highest on timeliness, patient confidence in doctors, and overall care experience."