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The waiting game

Smile, it might never happen


I’m having a sudden spasm of positivity. So I thought I’d join the happy-clappy brigade currently trying to buck the trend of doom and gloom within the profession. Come on in, it’s lovely, these smiles aren’t psychotic, honest.

The reason for my elation is that I’ve just had the most perfect start ever to a morning surgery.

Patient 1: suspected polymyalgia treated by me with a trial of steroids last week and attending today for review. She dances in, sings my praises and plants a huge smacker on my cheek. Wonderful. OK, she’s 83 and edentulous, but you take what you can get at my age. And you certainly don’t get that when you stick patients on statins.

Patient 2: ear wax. Vastly under-rated. Think about it. Patient walks in bereft of one of his senses. And you cure him (OK, you nurse does, but such is the primeval pleasure of ejecting tubes of brown sludge from EAMs that sometimes I do it myself). He was deaf and now he can hear. It’s a miracle, just like that scene in Life of Brian where the Messiah’s touch leads a believer to exclaim, ‘I was blind but now I can see!’ Except, unlike in the film, my patient doesn’t then fall down a hole.

Patient 3: conjunctival haemorrhage. Patient comes in believing he’s got anything from Ebola to impending Zombie-dom and leaves completely reassured that his eye and his life are safe after all, and that this is utterly harmless and self-limiting, and that I’m the best doctor ever. In thirty seconds flat. Awesome.

Patient 4: DNA. Perfect. Hence the time to write this blog. It doesn’t get any better than that, does it? Three incredibly happy punters, me running to time and job satisfaction to the max. Take that, recruitment crisis.

Obviously, the rest of my day will be shit.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex 


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Readers' comments (12)

  • Great!
    Keep positive

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  • excellent!

    - anonymous salaried!

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  • two weeks later you hear that patient 1 was admitted with steroid induced stomach ulcer. then your ear irrigation device breaks down and since there is no funding for this service, partnership decides not to replace/repair it. patient 3 walks out of the door and writes a complaint that their concerns were not taken seriously and they should have been offered urgent MRI angyogram as was their aunt who lives in USA.
    sorry... I am also having a great day

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  • National Hopeless Service

    and then the DNA turns up and demands to be seen because he thought it was twenty to not twenty past.......

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  • Yes, the DNA. He telephones at 18. 25 and somehow reception put him through to you. He says he is feeling suicidal and he is asking for a home visit. He has already spoken to mental health crisis team, who advised that he needs to see his GP today. He says he will not see anyone but yourself.

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  • Superb - do keep it up.
    "Crisis? What crisis?"

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  • The clinical stuff has always been and will always be great. Just make it possible for us to do it. We need a quiet room, no screen messages and a clear head. The rest follows naturally and is priceless (and actually quite cheap). NICE guidance is only guidance after all: they do need reminding sometimes!

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  • "Priceless (and actually quite cheap)" - that's the real tragedy if General Practice collapses.Apologies for negativity!

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  • David Banner

    One Saturday a month I do my Extended Hours Saturday. Sure, missing the Friday night bottle of red is a pain, and the alarm is cursed when it drags me from slumber, but once there.....bliss.
    15 minute appts, all pre-booked, phones diverted, no "can you just sign/see/speak to" interruptions, no visit requests, the odd glorious DNA to help catch up on unfinished admin, and best of all........time. Time to actually take a history, do an exam, arrange investigations, formulate a diagnosis. It's actually terrifying how many times I change my initial diagnosis at the end of the many times in the interruption filled, stressed, rushed, gettemin gettemout 10 minute dash of Mon-Fri madness do we rush to a rash diagnosis and hope it sticks.

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