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A faulty production line

The King of Complaints


There’s a spring in my step today. And that’s because I’m happy, an adjective not usually associated with a day in general practice – particularly when you get to my age and have that ‘been there, done that’, mentality.

Nowadays, very little surprises or excites me about my work, and I have come to accept that my attempts to secure immortality by coining ‘Copperfield syndrome’  (the tendency for patient requiring amitriptyline to respond to an explanation of the side effects of dizziness and dry mouth by responding, ‘I get that already’) are unlikely to gain traction.

So all that awaits me is the treadmill grinding to a superannuated halt or a cardiac event intervening.

Until today. Because today, something marvellous happened. Something that marks me out, that in some strange way elevates me. For I, Dr Copperfield, am a record breaker. I’m sure of it.

Today, I received a complaint from a patient. Big deal. Except that it was 100 (one hundred) pages long

To properly convey this, I’m going to have to adopt a syntactical quirk associated with (for those of you old enough to remember) the teleprinter which used to transmit the football results on TV on a Saturday afternoon, when the score was too high to be credible. So here we go.

Today, I received a complaint from a patient. Big deal. Except that it was 100 (one hundred) pages long. That’s right, 100 (one hundred). This isn’t a joke or a cheat. This really happened, literally, in my actual life, today. And no, it wasn’t scrawled in massive green ink or presented in Comic Sans 72 font. It was conventionally typed up on A4. A complaint, 100 (one hundred) pages long.

This is marvellous. I firmly believe my entire 31-year career as a GP has been working towards this point, and I feel honoured and proud. I’d frame and hang it, if only I had the wall space of Tate Modern.

I defy any of you out there to trump this. In fact, I’ve already emailed the editorial team of the Guinness Book of Records and, unofficial though it may be, I believe I can stand before you as the true King of Complaints.

Obviously, I have responded to the patient within the statutory timeframe and asked for more detail.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at or follow him on Twitter @doccopperfield

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Readers' comments (31)

  • Congratulations. That’s awesome.

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  • they don"t have much time on their hands then.

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  • Copperfield, I dares you, for the sake of counterpoise par excellence, to reply "Dear X, Wot-evs. Yours sincerely, Dr Copperfield".

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  • National Hopeless Service

    100 pages of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder

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  • They need to get a life or a new GP practice, sounds like a breakdown in the therapeutic relationship time for them to bugger off somewhere else I think.

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  • If they’re so aggrieved that they felt it was necessary to write a 100 page complaint letter, (the ridiculousness of this is demented and beyond reason) it’s reasonable to assume they’re not happy with the nhs “service” they’re getting. In which case why don’t they go elsewhere eg a private clinic somewhere? Or is it that they feel “entitled” to expect something from the government that they’re not currently getting in which case this sense of entitlement is the root of their problems and their expectations need some adjusting. This is a societal issue that needs addressing.

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  • Ah, you wont be needing to spend money on toilet paper for a while!

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  • Firstly- well done. Ironically, and despite all their efforts, the patient will not be able to share in this accolade due to confidentiality.
    Passes the cockroach test, and substantially longer than your average psychiatry out patient letter.
    Assuming you went to the last paragraph and just read that?

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  • Well, at least it will make their next appointment interesting. I suggest when s/he wants his/her inevitable month of citalopram, give her 28 prescriptions for one. Call it a sense of humour test. Then retire. It’s all the rage., and given this nonsense, it’s no wonder.

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  • Dignitas referral only answer

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