Liam Farrell: Just one thing gets in the way of points... Joe

'Are you listening to me at all, doctor?' said Joe, his tone laced with suspicion, for which I forgave him. It's the nature of our breed to be suspicious after hundreds of years of oppression by the British.

And don't think you can buy us out for a handful of silver, imperialist capitalist pigs; we have our principles, some things are more important than money, we aren't for sale. Though if David Cameron tries to cut our 20 billion subvention we will squeal and pout and throw a tantrum in the corner and generally be as annoying as possible until he realises it's better just forking out to keep us quiet.

We nurse our grievances close to our chubby bosoms in this part of the world, though personally I've kind of gotten over it by now.

'Don't mind me,' I said. 'I always yawn when I'm interested, it's just a personal foible of mine. When I reach the level of fascination I close my eyes and, to the uninformed observer, may even seem to snore.'

Mollified, Joe continued his weekly and rather gratuitously graphic report on the uncertain frequency and lack of liquidity of his bowel motions, despite the best efforts of various different cocktails of laxatives, though to the casual listener they might have seemed to be equally as splendid as last week, and I further demonstrated my fascination and commitment by yawning massively again before closing my eyes for a quick nap, just to show How Much I Care.

If only there were points for this kind of thing, I mused, as the powers-that-be apparently believe that we require a financial incentive to look after our patients properly; it's insulting, as if we could be bought for a handful of silver.

Maybe a register for boring people, no, that's a bit ambiguous, a bit too close to the bone, make that a register for people who are boring, with extra points for a Read Code that you managed to listen to them without actually sticking pins into your eyeballs.

But that's the problem, isn't it? This is the imperfect part of general practice, that doesn't easily lend itself to measuring, that can't be counted, that can't be converted into graphs or pie charts or Powerpoint presentations, that can't be pigeon-holed or labelled.

Patients just get in the way, don't they?

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