Following the DoH's White Paper, it is essential to do everything the patient wishes us to do to ensure they get seen when they wish to be seen.
ODE TO THE PATIENT-CENTRED RECEPTIONIST
Creeping in the back door,
Alarm begins to beep,
I punch in all the numbers,
Which sends it back to sleep.
I check upon the de-fib,
Check fridge for bloods and wee,
Then go and put the kettle on,
To have a cup of tea.
Go and bring the milk in,
Fetch mail out of the box,
Log on to the computer,
View sessions for the docs.
I press the button on the phone,
It mustn't be done late.
It rings within an instant,
It's only just turned eight.
'I need to see a doctor, dear,'
'Of course', I say, 'Today?'
'I think I have infection, dear,
There must be no delay.'
So on to the computer,
I offer 10 past 10,
'I need to go to Tesco's, dear,
I wont be back by then.'
'Well, how about 12.30 then,'
I offer once again.
'The plumber's coming lunchtime, dear,
To come and sort my drain.'
'Five then, at our branch surgery,
it isn't very far.'
'No, that is out the question, dear,
My husband needs the car.'
'Tomorrow then, at half past nine'
I try to keep my cool.
'My grandson's in assembly, dear,
I have to be at school.'
'How about the afternoon?'
I try hard not to groan.
'I think that I could do that ...
No, I'm having tea with Joan.'
'Look, let's try this another way,
You tell me when you're free.
Tell me when you CAN come,
And I will look and see.'
'I have a busy day, dear,
Have you anything at eight?
I could come direct from Yoga ...
But I may be somewhat late.'
I clench my fist and grit my teeth,
And screw my eyes up tight.
'I'm really very sorry,
But we don't open at night.'
'If that's the case, my dear,' she says,
'I really don't know when!'
'The only other option ... yes,
I'll take the 10 past 10.'
With grateful thanks to my receptionist Jacquie Saunders.
Dr Ian Neale, Chalgrove, Oxford.
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