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BING BONG! Next patient to lazy GP in room 5 please

If the patient is sitting less than 10 steps away, is it too much to get up and ask them to come in rather than using the blasted tannoy?

If the patient is sitting less than 10 steps away, is it too much to get up and ask them to come in rather than using the blasted tannoy?

As a registrar I would always walk the short distance to the waiting room to call a patient.

I felt it was a nice way to greet the patient, and hopefully help put them at ease a little. It was the only reason for me to get out my chair during the day and I would kid myself that it was exercise (much in the same way that all my obese patients would kid themselves that walking to the toilet is exercise).

Having now worked at many different practices I realise there are all sorts of ways of encouraging the patient to your door.

My least favourite of these is the tannoy system. Practices employing this technique sound like supermarkets. PA systems announcing the latest offers or requests for a price check would not sound out of place in these surgeries. I can feel my blood pressure rising as my consultations get interrupted every 5 minutes by a BING BONG, before:

"Mrs Smith to Room 5. Doctor waiting!"

Every time I call a patient I feel like an airport announcer, and do my best to sound like one. If I get bored though, or if I was having a bad day, I tend to put on different accents and mispronounce names. This cheers me up immensely but generally puts the appointment system into chaos.

Even in my best accent though, I would only get the correct patient about 50% of the time. The rest was a mix of no-shows, wrong patients, or, on one occasion, 4 patients responding to the same name.

Plus, it is lazy. Last week I was in a practice with the tannoy system and was amazed at how pointless it was. In a surgery where all the consulting rooms surround the waiting room I watched one partner call for a patient over the tannoy. His door was wide open and the small waiting room outside was empty except for one patient.

He was sitting directly opposite the GP's open door, less than 10ft from the doctor himself, in plain view. Rather than simply look over and beckoning the patient in the he was subjected to a booming BING BONG.

The patient was less than pleased, especially when you consider that he was here because of a bad case of hyperacusis.

A typical waiting room full of patients waiting to be called on the infernal tannoy system Recent posts

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If I get bored I tend to put on different accents and mispronounce names.

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