In my own experience these are not just proverbial items but actually exist (I still have one from one of my patients).
Like many practices we have tried several strategies to reduce if not eradicate this problem - however, the fact remains that many patients just don't recognise that one appointment means one problem (and one person).
I was struck by Dr Doyle's idea of using one of the nation's favourite soaps to reach as many people as possible in one go and so hope she won't mind that I have forwarded a copy of her letter to EastEnders (as they probably don't read GP newspaper) to see if they might be able to reach the people that we GPs cannot reach.
In the mean time I'm afraid it's back to more mundane forms of patient education.
- Dr Mostafa Mostafa, Abbey Wood, London.