The challenges of the quality framework mean that we must work smarter not harder.
The key to success is self help. Make sure that, before a patient enters your room, he or she has measured his height, weight, girth, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, and checked his urine.
The reception area needs to have equipment to measure weight and height, a tape for measuring girth, multistix with gloves, a self blood glucose kit and a cholesterol kit.
Asthmatics can check peak flow too. This is better than staring at the clock, or the receptionist.
Depressed, low mood and anxious patients can use a hospital anxiety and depression scale questionnaire to calculate their score. If it is 0–7, they can go home, because no medication, counselling therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy is needed.
It would also be a good idea to keep a mini mental state examination card in the waiting room. Relatives could score demented patients while they wait. If the score is 25–30, they too can leave. They can drop off all the readings at the reception, and your well-trained staff will fill in the boxes.
Anything out of the ordinary can be seen by the well-trained healthcare assistant, practice nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse consultant or a nurse who is dreaming of becoming a doctor.
The future is very exciting.
Dr Anita Sharma