Zara Aziz: When the waiting room screen breaks

The twins are trying to do their homework, but are rather more interested in Baby 'reading' his book, 'A Squash and a Squeeze', which I think brings back old memories for them.

'When I was a baby, I didn't understand that the story was about appreciating what you have, rather than what you don't,' Twin 1 says wisely.

Indeed. For all the doom and gloom surrounding the NHS, we should celebrate the fact that in spite of the politicians' meddling, there is still a lot of good work being done in the health service.

But as always, humans are contrary beings - we like to take the good things in life for granted and change them for change's sake.

Take the patient call system, for example. Not only does it transport the patient to you with minimal effort - click of a button and not much in the way of energy expenditure - but it also protects you from many an awkward moment that venturing out may throw at you.

I have complained in the past about the length of time it takes patients to get to my room - I am at the furthest end of the corridor - and added a Star Trek transporter to my NHS wish list.

However, when I strolled into the surgery this morning, the waiting room looked busier than normal. As I squeezed in between a little old lady on a mobility scooter and a mum with a buggy, I heard a cryptic phrase from the receptionist.

'The LED screen is broken,' she said.

'Never mind, these things happen,' I muttered. But 10 minutes later, I was huffing and puffing my way to the waiting room to collect Mrs Hardmeat. 'Mrs ...' I began and five pairs of eyes looked up at me in anticipation. '... Hardmeat!' I finished.

They all turned away in grim disappointment. Someone snickered. The baby in the buggy looked at me suspiciously. But no Mrs Hardmeat. I went further into the waiting room, looking for her.

Someone grabbed my arm and I nearly jumped out of my skin. 'Oh, it's you, Mrs Hardmeat,' I exclaimed with relief. 'I didn't recognise you with your new hairdo.' She had gone from blonde to brunette. Mission accomplished, I rushed back to my room, with Mrs Hardmeat in hot pursuit.

I vow to shred my NHS wish list.

  • Dr Aziz is a GP partner in north-east Bristol

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