A tale of two agencies
Mixed experiences with two arms of the state today.
On my list of to-dos after moving was to sign up with a quack locally. Last week I got around to googling for GP practices in the area. It presented them nicely on the map, and I see there’s exactly one that’s genuinely local. Looks like an easy choice, and a neighbour speaks highly of them.
So last Thursday I went round there. They required identity documents which I didn’t have: I offered bank/credit cards, but don’t carry anything else around. Come back with a utility bill or similar showing my address.
OK, I can do that, and today (Thursday being my usual free day during the week) I went back, bearing gas and electricity bills and a bank statement. Nope, not sufficient: this time they insist on photo-ID. Buggrit, why couldn’t they have told me that before? I’m fine with them asking for it, but annoyed by lack of consistency.
As it happens, my old passport expires in September, and I had sent it off just last week as supporting document in my application for a new one. So I had no photo-ID. Looks like I’ll have to wait.
Then early afternoon today there’s a knock at the door. Mail delivery to sign for: it’s the new passport. So that’s taken just one week. OK, it’s just a renewal, and I guess I’m a straightforward case ‘cos I’m easy to recognise from the ‘photo in the old passport. But even so, they say simple renewals should expect three weeks and allow for more. So finally I can go and sign up for a local quack.
Full marks to the passport office for efficiency. Bottom of the class to the NHS for vagueness and inefficiency and messing me about. OK, not exactly critical, but it seems depressingly reminiscent of when it does matter.
 Though it seems perverse in a country where we aren’t required to possess any form of photo ID, and not everyone has any.