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Superannuation form is the ultimate mind gym

Worried by a patient with dementia and his families history, Dr John Doe is taking on all the mental agility tests he can find. But none beats the dreaded superannuation form.

Worried by a patient with dementia and his families history, Dr John Doe is taking on all the mental agility tests he can find. But none beats the dreaded superannuation form.



Usually an opening gambit of "I'm getting a bit forgetful" would not start alarm bells ringing. The lady in question was an octogenarian and every one of those 80 years appeared to have taken its toll.

Just as I was about to caringly reassure her that "you're just getting on a bit love", a quick glance at her previous appointment stopped me in my tracks.

She had been to the surgery last week and had seen the senior partner. On that occasion she had also complained of being a little forgetful and had therefore been referred to the memory clinic. She had, of course, forgotten all about this.

There is a history of dementia in my family and it only takes a case like this to send me straight to the newsagents for "The Big Book of Crosswords." I would then sit for 2 weeks honing my word finding skills before forgetting why I was doing it and moving on.

However, as a locum, I feel my work is forming a protective influence. In particular I am tested on my skills of organisation, map reading, time keeping and mathematics on a daily basis. Surely this is as effective as the Telegraph Quick Sudoku.

Preventing overbooking and keeping on top of my diary can be tricky. I occasionally have to cancel sessions when I realise that there is no way I can make it from the morning session to the afternoon session in time, or when I remember I have worked in a certain place before and hated it.

Then my dexterity gets called into action when holding my A-Z in one hand while simultaneously navigating through one way streets with the other (I'm too cheap for a sat nav). Then trying to find the house in question in a street filled with 34A's and 62C' in no particular numerical order.

But most testing of all is the dreaded superannuation form. No task is more abhorrent than the enforced calculation of your own pension contributions. The tedious inputting of numbers, then punching in a few plusses, minuses and an occasional division sign is nothing short of torture for me.

To complete the process by writing a cheque that will clear the last few quid from my current account only compounds my misery. If I am very unlucky I am reminded of my stupidity and poor mathematic skills by the good people at the pensions office when they send me my incorrectly completed forms back, often with markings to show my mistakes.

Humiliating. Still, at least it keeps the dementia at bay.

Dr John Doe: Superannuation form the ultimate mind gym Recent posts

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My 69-year old Crystal Meth user February 4
We like to dump patients on physios, not keep them away February 03
why I hate locum agencies February 02
My name is Dr John Doe and I'm a locum GP January 28

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